A home burglary occurs in the U.S. every 13 seconds and only one in four burglars are ever caught. Here’s how to keep the bad guys away.
- Replace all exterior locks with deadbolts. Locks only provide security if you know who ha
s every key. When you move into a new home, hire a reputable locksmith to install new deadbolts. Deadbolt locks can’t be opened without a key. Bored-in deadlocks embedded into the door are even harder t
o break through. Spend a few dollars more for good locks and you could save thousands.
- Eliminate exposed door hinges. Burglars can take out the pin on exposed
hinges and walk right in. Re-hang the door with hinges inside.
- Install peepholes and motion sensor lights. Always know who’s at the door before you open it. Sensor lights also illuminate the path to your entrance when you come home in the evening.
- Remove hidden keys. One out of 3 break-ins happen with no forced entry. If you’re hiding a key under a mat, in a fake rock, or anywhere else, remove it. If you worry about losing keys, install a deadbolt with a keypad.
- Put lamps on timers. Install timers throughout your house and set them for random times – don’t have them all go on at 6:30 and off at 11. Most burglaries occur from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so set some lights to turn on dur- ing the day if the house is empty then.
- Install window locks or pins. These discourage burglars who don’t want to make noise by breaking glass. Use the same brand of lock for all windows, so they’re easy to set. If they use a key pin, keep it in a secure but accessible location in case of fire.
- Trim trees and shrubs near windows. These can hide a burglar at work.
- Don’t make it obvious no one’s home. When you go out, turn telephone and answering machine volumes down. Don’t leave notes for family or friends on the door or mailbox. If you’ll be gone a while, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail, or have the post office stop delivery until you get back.
- Don’t leave ladders and tools lying around the yard. Impulse burglars can use them to gain access.
- Destroy new TV and computer boxes. Don’t let the world know you’ve just bought something of value.
- Install an alarm system. Choose a local alarm or a monitored system. Local alarms make noise to scare off intruders. A monitored system makes noise too, but it also sends an emergency signal to a monitoring center that immediately alerts the police. There are installation costs and a monthly charge for the monitored system, although it may get you a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.