No place is safer than home. People feel the safest when they are home with their families. Parents worry less knowing that their kids are at home. We always feel like we own the world when we are in our own homes because it is a place we know, where no one can harm us. To have peace of mind, most people make it a point to make their home safe from intrusion especially break-ins and burglary. Some people install high security padlocks while others subscribe to alarm companies to make sure their home and families are protected all the time.
Residential Burglary and Break-ins
Regardless if you and your family is at home or not, burglary and break-ins have a major impact on everyone’s sense of safety and well-being. Apparently, this is the most common threat for residential homes. The thing is home burglary is also the easiest crime to prevent! Unfortunately, not everyone is doing their best in protecting their homes. In the US alone, a burglary happens every 15 seconds.
According to reports about home burglary, this type of crime happens during daytime when nobody is home. Burglars often attack during summer, which are July and August. Burglars often look for something small yet valuable, something they can sell easily without being asked too many questions. Among the common things that burglars take are laptops, gadgets, watches, jewelry and cash.
Burglars commit burglary because it is considered an easy money. Often times, people who commit burglaries were described as white males, 25 years old and were looking for a way to buy drugs or to earn money the fastest way. Burglaries often happen after forcing their way in such as kicking doors but most burglars prefer to get into houses that give easy access such as open windows and doors. Unfortunately, burglars do not seem to be afraid of being caught since they are rarely catch off guard until recently when home alarms and CCTV cameras became popular.
Some people think that they became a victim of burglaries because they were not home but the truth is home burglaries were planned crimes. Burglars start by selecting a target home, finding a way to get in and get out and observing the neighborhood for possible nuances. Once the plan is set, they also observe for things that they can take with them easily without looking suspicious to anyone.
How to Keep your Home Safe from Burglars
There are many ways to boost your home’s security without spending too much. Here are some tips to keep your house burglar-resistant.
Check your Doors and Locks
One of the requirements for burglars to target a home is the ease of access. Start protecting your home by not passing this burglar requirement. Skilled burglars knew by just looking at your locks if they can pick it or not. If they do not have the tool to open your high security lock, they will not spend their lifetime trying to; they will simply bypass your home and look somewhere else.
It is common knowledge that oftentimes, the garage door and the back door are the easiest way to get in. Aside from ease of access, these doors also provide good cover when escaping. Tip number one is make sure that these doors are always locked. Avoid using ordinary locks; rather secure your garage with a deadbolt lock. If you have a budget, ask your locksmith to install locks with ANSI grade 1 rating. These locks are harder to pry, to pick and to saw. There are various ways for a bugler to get pass a door lock but remember, you have all the options to make it more secure and more difficult for them to bypass.
Starting with your door, you can start by having metal doors for all entrance points. For deadbolt lock, use a quality deadbolt with at least one-inch throw bolt. Inside your home, adding a knob-in-lock with a dead latch mechanism can make it more secure. If your doorframe is made of wood, make sure to use heavy-duty screws and strike place that can penetrate the wood. Lastly, you can add a peephole that is at least 58 inches higher.
If the door is locked, burglars can simply kick it open. With a heavy four-screw security strike plate, kicking the door alone would not make it open. The strike plate will hold the latch in place despite facing a strong force like a burglar’s kick. Knowing that you have a very secure door can definitely give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Securing Your Sliding Glass Patio Doors
For sliding glass doors, that best way to secure it is by using a latch. However, latches are not enough because it can be easily opened even from the outside. For sliding glass doors, the best way to protect it is by limiting its movement by sticking a stick into its track. You can also add a track-blocker such as “charley bars” or other blocking devices. This security measure works though if you have those newer sliding glass doors.
For older sliding glass doors, lifting the glass itself will render the blocking device useless. Aside from adding a blocking device, add an anti-lift device. If you have the means to do so, put a highly recognizable security sign or decals on the glass door such as alarm system or big, black, bad dog. Who would want to try to tame a big barking dog or try to silence an alarm?
To sum it up, always use a secondary blocking device for your sliding glass doors. Check the latch mechanism all the time and make sure it is properly adjusted and in good condition. The rollers of the sliding door must be check regularly as well. For older sliding doors, add an anti-lift device. Lastly, place a visible decal on your glass window such as “these premises under video surveillance”, or “this home is protected by a home alarm.”
Keeping Your Windows Safe
Aside from doors, burglars also checked for accessible windows as an entry point. Ground windows are easier to access but a ground floor window accessible from a tree or a fence can be as attractive as well. Do not stop investing with solid doors and door locks because burglars can look for your home’s next weakest point, and that will be your windows.
Just like sliding doors, windows are often secured with latches alone. If you already have windows installed with latches, then make it more secure by adding secondary blocking devices. Blocking devices will keep it safe from burglars trying to open it from the outside. You can also add anti-lifting devices especially for windows in the ground level. In addition, you can add a decal to warn burglars of the challenge that they will face once they attempted to break in through your window.
If you have the means to do so, you can also install a more secure window such as tampered glass. Tampered glass are more durable and harder to break than a traditional glass window. Using laminated glass is also an excellent choice to keep windows safe from intruders. A laminated glass usually have a vinyl in between two sheets of regular glass making it harder to break.
Other type of windows that you can choose from are polycarbonate and Plexiglas windows or simply adding iron bars on your glass windows. Just make sure that whatever added security you will be adding on your windows, someone should be able to open it from the inside in case of emergency like fire.
To keep your windows safe, make sure you have secondary blocking device on all windows and that each window can be opened no more than 6 inches only especially those accessible ones. Check the position of your window and door and make sure that the door is not reachable from an opened window. Add anti-lift devices on your windows to keep it in place and put visible decals on accessible windows to warn burglars.
Keep Your Eyes Open and Be a Good Neighbor
Having a neighbor that you can trust is like being at home all the time. Do not ignore your neighbors but rather start to build a trusting and comfortable relationship with them. Your neighbor can be your eyes while you are away. Having neighbors that you know and knows you helps in maintaining security and peace within the community. If you are not at home and your neighbors saw something different, they will definitely feel alarmed and call the police even if your alarm system sent no alarm. If or there are people in the area that acts suspiciously, a neighbor can report it avoiding further damage or possible break-ins.
If you have a neighbor that you can trust, then there is no need to leave your key under the doormat or flower pot for your kids to find out later, just leave it with your neighbor and friend. In some communities and subdivisions, there are neighborhood groups that do neighborhood watch. These groups do night and day patrols to watch for something unusual in the area like new faces or unknown faces. It is like owning the whole community and taking responsibility for its security. If you have to leave town for a few days, you know that your home is safe because your neighbors are watching your home all the time. Burglars would hesitate to test communities with strong ties and strict security measures.
Securing your home and preventing burglars from breaking in your house is not just your job. Involve your neighbors. Communicate with them and build a relationship of trust and friendship. Set up small parties with your adjacent neighbors and talk about protecting your homes and your community from burglars. Start suggesting small tasks such as patrols and night watch to deter burglars from targeting your homes. Offer to watch out for them and encourage them to do the same thing to one another.
Show Sign of Life with Lights
Burglars often attack during the day when the homeowners are at work and at night when they are asleep or away for a trip. Either way, burglars attack when there is no sign of life inside the home. A home is more vulnerable at night when all lights are off hence it is important to keep a façade that says someone is home. The easiest way to do it is by putting in light timers to interior lights on. You can set your light timers in a way that your neighbors would notice if something unlikely is happening inside your home. If it is time for the lights to come on, they can check with you if you turned it off. The good news is light timers are inexpensive. You can also set your TV or radio to turn on and off at a certain point to show that someone is at home. Besides, it is always better to come home in a lighted house without groping for a switch first.
Aside from keeping your interior lights, you should have an exterior light that is always on at night. Burglars would definitely hesitate to walk into your garage knowing that they are visible to anyone in the area even your neighbors. If you good lighting surrounding your home, burglars will think twice of breaking in because if there is one thing they want to hide, that is there face.
Do not leave your garage or porch light open all day. It gives the impression that no one is home making your home a vulnerable target for burglary. Light timers are most useful in these parts of the house because they indicate that someone is watching closely. Say your timer turns on every six pm and turn off every 5 am, it gives the idea that someone is doing it, someone wakes up to do it.
With the use of security lightning such as floodlights, low-pressure sodium vapor lights and passive infrared sensors are highly suggested if you have the means to install and purchase it. The passive infrared sensors security lighting is a good one because it only turns on when a person or mammal approaches. Remember, the best weapon is the element of surprise.
With the use of lights, you can establish that someone is at home even if it is just an illusion; this will still help in deterring burglars from targeting your home. If you would put an exterior light, make sure that it is bright enough as far as 100 feet. Use lights with timers and infrared motion sensor lights to protect your home especially if you are living in a single family home.
Installing Alarm Systems
Most families entrust their safety and security to home alarm systems. Who would not? With the introduction of alarm system burglars are finally being arrested. Burglars are wary of home alarms because it only allows few minutes to escape one it was triggered. When an alarm goes off, the alarm company normally calls the homeowner to verify the emergency. Once verified, it will send notification to the police, fire department and paramedics and in no time, the place will be swarming with authorities making it more difficult for the burglars to escape.
The good thing about home alarms is that they will not only protect your home from intruders but it will also monitor your home in case of fire. If you are paying an alarm company to install and monitor your home alarm, make sure that the contact person is you or someone eligible and that the contact number is up to date. If possible, check the settings of your home alarm to avoid causing unlikely noises such as horning and beeping for hours until it is turned off. Just make sure the alarm sound is enough to notify the authorities then it should be reset afterwards.
In case a burglar triggered your alarm and you are not at home, having a nice neighbor to wait for the authorities would be helpful. Your neighbor can assess the damage and call a local locksmith to re-secure your home again instead of leaving your home vulnerable to burglars until you get home to fix the alarm system.
Installing home alarm system will definitely decrease the chance of being targeted by burglars. If you have a signage about your alarm system’s availability, it will make burglars and thieves to think twice before attempting to break your door. To make it more effective, you can add an audible sound to its settings so that when triggered, it will not just notify your alarm company but also your neighbors. Remember that in case the alarm is triggered, your alarm company will contact you so make sure to give them your latest number and lastly, instruct your trusted neighbor on what to do in case the alarm is triggered and you are not at home. Make sure to set the reset of your alarm in case it gets triggered so it can stop beeping once the authorities arrived.
For your hard to replace items and even precious jewelries and rare coins, a home safe is an inexpensive solution. A home safe can protect your important belongings not only from burglars but also from fire and flood. The fact that he price of home safes are now falling, this is the best time to invest on it.
For a home safe, make it a habit to change your code regularly like every three months or so. Installing it in places away from the bedroom and closets is also advisable because those are the first places that burglars look for when trying to find a safe.
Joining Operation Identification
Operation Identification is a citizen’s burglary prevention program. This program is recognized by law enforcement and agencies in the country. Operation ID program works by encouraging citizens to put markings on their property, which is their driver’s license number for easy identification. In case their properties were stolen or their homes were burglarized and the items were recovered, then it can be returned.
To participate with the Operation ID program, you have to do three important steps. The first one is to mark your valuables with your driver’s license number including your state. For example, you can put CA-B1234567. The second step is to make an inventory of all the things you marked including the brand, model number, and serial number then put it in a safe place. If you have a home safe then place it there. Once step 1 and 2 were completed, you can display the Operation ID decal on your window.
Operation identification is definitely a great help in recovering lost or stolen items. However, what is the chance that it can still be recovered and by the police? One thing that I can add to the marking procedure is to take pictures of your valuables and keep a list of its serial number and model. These are important proofs when filing for an insurance claim. Keeping a copy of everything from receipts to documents is also helpful in case something happens your wallet was stolen or lost.
With operation identification program, there is a chance that you can still recover your belongings or whatever was taken from your home. In case of insurance claims, your documented receipts and photocopied documents can also help the claiming process run faster. If you have the means to buy, then get a safe deposit box to store your valuables.