Burglaries occur with alarming frequency in the United States at a rate of one every 18 seconds. That totals up to more than 1.7 million burglaries a year resulting in the loss of nearly $4 billion worth of property.
Consumers often think of burglars as the character Catwoman, scaling homes of the very rich to give to the poor. In fact, the average burglar has a much different profile.
Most burglars aren’t targeting high-profile celebrities or tech industry billionaires. In general, burglars are amateurs, and their victims are regular, unsuspecting homeowners like you. They are most often young men under the age of 25, out to make quick money to pay for their drug habit, which is a far cry from our romanticized cat burglar stereotype.
No one is exempt from the risk of burglary, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and wait to be the next victim. The Mr. Rekey DIY Home Security Guide covers everything you need to know about burglary and then outlines the steps you can take to safeguard your home. Full of handy DIY tips and tricks, you can burglar-proof your home and keep the cat burglars on the big screen. Here’s the guide:
1. Always keep your bushes trimmed in order to reduce the available hiding places in your yard. Also, a well-manicured yard tells a burglar you are attentive to your property and deter him from targeting your house.
2. If you are going to be out of town, you should discontinue your mail and any newspapers you may receive. An overflowing mailbox or a driveway full of newspapers is a clear sign that no one is home and can make your house a more attractive target for burglars. You may be able to have a family member, friend, or neighbor collect your post for you if you do not want to have it temporarily discontinued.
3. Install deadbolts on all of your home’s entry doors. Deadbolts are an extra layer of security on top of standard home locks. If you want to take this measure one step further, you can also increase the strength of your deadbolts by replacing the screws in your doorjamb with SPAXⓇ screws. These screws are longer (2 ½ inches in length) and stronger (200% more) than traditional screws, reaching all the way down to the studs in your doorframe. This fortifies your doorframe against excessive force, making it harder for a determined burglar to kick in your door.
4. Enlist the help of your neighbors. While nosy neighbors may seem like a nuisance, previously convicted burglars admit that neighbors were often a deterrent when considering whether or not to target a house.
5. Protect your valuables. While ideally your home will never be broken into, in the event of a burglary you want to make sure you do not lose the things that are most important to you. Storing your valuables in a safe is one way to keep them out of a burglar’s hands. You can also use discreet hiding places, such as falsely labeled containers in the cabinet, wrapped in foil like leftovers in your freezer, or stored in mislabeled old boxes in the garage, to decrease the likelihood of the burglar finding your important possessions (be sure to avoid the worst hiding places).
6. Routinely check your alarm system to ensure it is working properly, and actively use it. While homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into, your security system won’t help you in the event of a burglary if it does not work. It is also a much more effective tool when you turn it on. The presence of a security alarm system may scare off some burglars from targeting your house, but it can decrease your loss significantly should someone attempt to break in.
7. It is imperative that you always lock your doors and windows. Remembering to lock your doors at all times is one of the easiest ways you can increase your home security. It can be tempting to think nothing could happen in the few minutes it takes you to walk over to your neighbor’s or even run a quick errand. The truth is that most burglaries only last 8 to 12 minutes, and an unlocked door only makes a burglar’s job that much easier.
8. Remove anything that could be used as a tool to break in from your yard or around your house. Do not leave a ladder out in your backyard or leaning against your house, and do not leave your toolbox sitting out where it can be easily accessed. Burglars want to get in and out of your home as quickly as possible, so the harder you make it for them, the less likely they are to try and break in.
9. Install exterior lighting with a timer or motion-sensor. Keeping your house well-lit at night increases the visibility of your home to passers-by and exposes places a burglar’s potential hiding places. Lights triggered by a motion detector can serve as both a safety precaution and an alarm of sorts by surprising a would-be burglar when they approach your house. They are also handy because you do not have to remember to turn them on and off.
10. Make sure you know who has a set of keys to your home. Leaving a key hidden outside your house is dangerous, as is having too many spare keys floating around. If you want to keep a spare on hand in case of a lock-out, entrust one to a neighbor or nearby friend or family member, rather than leaving one out for anyone to find. If have ever lost a key, changing or rekeying your locks is an efficient way to eliminate the possibility of an old key being used to gain entry to your home.
Guest post from Mr.Rekey