While most homeowners take steps to prevent a break-in, the statistics on home burglaries paint a pretty grim picture. The FBI reports that in 2011, there were 2,188,005 burglaries across the United States, 0.9 percent increase from the previous year. Total losses attributed to those burglaries is estimated at $4.8 Billion.
While these numbers can alarm, there are ways to better protect yourself from thieves. Who would know more about evading burglars than the burglars themselves? Here are a few of their tips to help you.
Solid doors with dead bolt locks are key in keeping your home safe. However, don’t limit yourself to just the front or back doors; burglars often enter a home through unsecured windows or the sliding glass door. Eyebolts can further secure a window, while still allowing you to open it for ventilation. One third of all burglaries are attributed to unsecured doors and windows, notes the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Home Security Systems
A home monitoring system can dramatically decrease the likelihood of a burglary. It not only creates attention through a loud alarm, but also goes a step further and contacts local authorities on your behalf. According to SecurityCompanies.com, technological advances have increased the overall performance of home security systems, and expanded their reach to detect other hazards like fire, flooding, freezing and carbon monoxide.
A Good Watch Dog (Or Two)
Burglars try to avoid homes with pets — they are the canine version of a home security system, and they also can inflict bodily harm on intruders. Reformed Dallas-area burglar Kenneth Fields told his local NBC affiliate station KXAN that when he was actively seeking homes to burglarize, he specifically avoided homes with animals. Fields says there is no way for a burglar to know about the dog’s training and overall temperament, so most burglars find it easier to find another target.
A Well-Kept Yard
An untrimmed lawn may indicate to a burglar that you are out of town, making your home a great target. Further, if you have trees or shrubbery that haven’t been cut for a while, you may unknowingly provide intruders the perfect hideaway. You have to remember that most burglars study your home and neighborhood first before making their move.
When you have a cozy neighborhood where everyone knows who lives on your street, it becomes difficult for someone else to simply blend in to your neighborhood. Burglars steer clear of nosy neighbors because they easily pinpoint outsiders. You should also enlist help from your neighbors when you’re away (picking up newspapers, flyers and other mail) so there is no indication that you’re away.
Surveillance cameras are pricey. But in the event of a break-in, they can record the time of the incident and provide images for law enforcement.
As burglary is considered largely a crime of opportunity, these simple steps can help you minimize the risk of a burglary at your home.