Recent statistics show that a house is burgled every 15 seconds. Preliminary crime reports from the FBI suggests that while burglaries in 2016 went down by 3.4 percent, a vast majority of homeowners still are at risk. Security officials also say that these numbers are not reflective of real life. Homeowners, out of shame or other reasons, often do not report break-ins. This not only influences national security measures but prevents others from knowing the true scope of the issue.
Thankfully, a veteran police officer put together a list of 10 easy and essential safety strategies to safeguard your home.
- Doors and windows should be locked at all times. Even if you are inside the house, make sure that all doors and windows are locked. It can be seen as a little paranoid, but police officers fully support the preventive measure of locking up everything — especially when leaving for the day.
- Avoid having windowed exterior doors. They can have aesthetic value, but glass doors not only allow people on the outside to see inside your home, they are also very easy to break. Try having solid doors made from sturdy materials. If you have sliding doors, reinforce them with braces so that they cannot be opened from the outside.
- Brace doors to the walls. This is an easy do-it-yourself project that can be done in an afternoon. Install several three-inch screws along the door’s frame and stop. The screws should reach the wall stud.
- Install peep-hole covers. Security lessons can be learned from horror films. Don’t allow criminals to see inside your home through peep-holes.
- Resist the temptation of social media. We live in a fast-paced society. Studies have proven that social media use has the same effect on the brain as drug addiction. We feel the need to post details about our life on every communication channel available. There is also data proving that we can determine our self-worth by the number of “likes” or “loves” we have on our posts. That being said, resist the temptation to post personal information online. Do not let criminals know that your home is unprotected. Post vacation photos when you’re back home. A good tip: if you wouldn’t share that information with a stranger on the street, don’t post it on Facebook.
- Don’t advertise your wealth. Referring to the previous point, criminals will take advantage of any and every information you share online. Do not post pictures of high-value items. If you are truly proud of the latest gadget you bought, discreetly share pictures with your friends as a personal or private message.
- Have a security dog. This is great for animal lovers. Dogs can raise the alarm and deter criminals. Even if you do not have a dog, you can make it seem as if you have one. Place a water bowl in the backyard or post a “Beware of Dog” sign outside your gate. What is key is creating the illusion that your home is difficult to break into.
- Secure a newspaper technique. Stop your paper subscription when you’re away or establish a system to have it picked up. Having newspapers littered on the front porch and mail stuffed in your mailbox is a red flag! Criminals can easily determine if your home is empty and unprotected.
- Inform your local police station. This can be seen as an inconvenience but let your neighborhood patrol know that you won’t be around for a couple of days. This way, they can schedule their routes around your home.
- Keep documentation. Sometimes, criminals are determined to break into your home regardless of how well you try to protect it. In cases of burglaries, you can help expedite the process by providing pertinent documentation. Take pictures of high-value items, including their serial number. This way, if the criminal tries to pawn your item, the police are instantly alerted. A lot of people don’t do this (confident that they will never get robbed) and usually give statements like this to the police: “My laptop is a black Dell with a sticker on it.” Descriptions like this are not helpful.
The main takeaway is to be prepared for any situation, and hope that you never have to experience it.