Over 70% of burglaries in 2015 took place at residential homes — with each of these burglaries costing homeowners an average of $2,316, according to a recent FBI Crime Report. Not to mention the lost peace of mind suffered by burglary victims. But did you know there are many easy ways to reduce your chance of becoming one of these statistics? Keep burglars away by putting into practice these five simple home security tips.
Don’t Advertise When You’re Away
It is tempting to brag about your upcoming tropical vacation on Facebook, but your indiscretion could make you a target for crime. Australia’s Edith Cowan University interviewed 69 burglars and found that one of their favorite ways to find targets is scanning social media for status updates. If thieves are doing it in Australia, you can bet they’re doing it everywhere.
By extension, it’s smart to keep tight-lipped in your answering machine and voicemail messages. Any crook can pick a number from the phone book and learn you’re cruising the Caribbean, just as easily as they learn your address. Notify just a few trusted family members or friends you’ll be away, instead of broadcasting the news to your wider circles.
Secure Your Home
Home security systems aren’t cheap, but studies show they’re investments worth making. The Electronic Security Association learned nine out of ten burglars would leave a home untouched if they found an alarm. You’ll also save in the long-run, as insurers readily offer discounts of 15% to 20% to customers with home security systems.
Lock Up Carefully
This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but a 2014 Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that 7% of Americans don’t lock their doors when they leave their homes. Locking your front door is a start, but it’s also important to make sure you lock every door and window, every time you leave the house.
The average thief spends just 60 seconds illegally entering a home. If you can make a criminal’s job harder, you could deter him from targeting your property.
Ramp Up Your Protection
You can further protect your home by placing valuables away from prying eyes. Safes are a relatively affordable place to securely store your jewelry, laptop, and other small electronic devices. Keeping them hidden won’t just protect these items, it may also stop thieves from accessing financial and personal details you’ve stored electronically.
You can’t be at home all the time, but a guard dog can. Australian researchers found 53% of thieves would steer clear of a home protected by man’s best friend. While large breeds like Dobermanns and Rottweilers are the most intimidating, even a small dog can work wonders. Many thieves will disappear once a tiny dog starts yapping to alert the neighbors of trouble.
Keep Up Appearances
Houses that don’t look lived in are much greater targets for burglars. Ask family members, friends, or neighbors to collect your mail, park in your driveway, take garbage cans in and out, and mow your lawn while you’re on vacation.
Timers on your lights, television sets, and radios can make a home appear inhabited while you’re away. Remember to also lower the ringer volume on your landline phone to make sure thieves won’t hear it ringing out.
You can’t keep an eye on your home and possessions at all times, but with a little know-how you can help them stay safe while you’re away.
Author: Erin Raub