Imagine coming home after a long day at work and noticing that your front door is open. You walk inside your home, and you can tell it has been ransacked. Quickly, you realize that many of your prized possessions, jewelry, and even cash are gone. You were a victim of a burglary.
While no one wants to imagine this happening to them or to their home, the truth of the matter is that according to the statistics, approximately 8,000 homeowners in the United States are going to have this experience or a similar experience. And, unfortunately, six out of seven of the individuals who burglarize a home today will get away scot-free. In fact, they will be able to continue to burglarize homes without getting caught. What can you do to minimize the chances of your home being burglarized?
Understand When Most Burglars Strike
If television and movies were to be believed, burglars would be men all dressed in black sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night while using high-tech devices in order to avoid detection. The reality is far different. Most burglars strike in the middle of the day. Most burglars strike in the middle of the week. And most burglars walk into your home using your front door in the middle of summer.
Why Do Burglars Strike When They Do?
In order to understand why burglars strike when they do, you need to put yourself in the mind of a thief. If someone is planning to break into a home, what two things do they want? They want to avoid detection, and they want to have as much time as possible to gather as much loot as they possibly can.
During the day, most homeowners are at work. Children are at school, and entire neighborhoods are virtually empty. Homeowners who are at home are occupied with their day-to-day routine, and in most cases they rarely venture out doors. This makes the middle of the day the perfect time for a burglar to break into your home.
But why do they break in during the summer months? There are three key reasons. First, it’s hot. Second, people are relaxed. Third, everyone goes on vacation.
During the sweltering heat of July and August, most people have their doors open and their windows open. And, inevitably, someone is going to forget to close their windows, or they’re going to forget to lock their doors. This makes their home the perfect target for a burglar.
At the same time, during the summer months, everyone just wants to relax. People are out working in their garden, they are spending every free minute at the lake or at the park, or they have the garage door open all day long. All of these things are a welcome mat for criminals.
During the summer, families go on vacation. Most families are so focused on their vacation that they don’t think about things like having someone collect the mail when they’re away, having someone cleanup leaves that might accumulate near the front of the home, or having someone park in their garage from time to time to give the appearance that the home is occupied.
Burglars are very astute. They see when you and your family are packing to go on vacation, they monitor your home, and they will notice if it is empty. And they will use that as an opportunity to strike.
Now that you have a clear idea of when burglars strike, what steps can you take to protect your home from a potential burglary? Let’s review five.
Five Ways to Keep Your Home Safe
1. Install a home security system. This goes without saying. But still a good portion of homes in the United States do not have a security alarm. Some argue that criminals know how to circumvent home security systems. That is giving the common criminal too much credit. Most burglars are not James Bond and super spy types. They are the type of people who use brute force to kick in your front door and quickly grab what they can and run away. These individuals are looking for homes without home security cameras and homes with poor lighting. Homes with CCTV systems are usually passed over by the run-of-the-mill thief because they do not want to risk getting caught.
2. Good quality door locks. The quality of the lock that you use will have a direct impact on the security of your home. A cheap lock can be bypassed by even the most clumsy criminal. A high quality commercial grade lock, on the other hand, can stop criminals in their tracks. You should install quality locks not only on the front and back door but also on the garage door, the side garage door, and on all of your windows. Although simply having a good lock will not prevent a burglar from trying to break into your home, it can make it harder for them to accomplish their goal. If a criminal realizes that they are going to need to spend considerable time breaking the lock, they are likely to move on to an easier target.
3. Be a good neighbor. It is not uncommon for people to live in the same neighborhood for years and not know a lot about their neighbors. While this may be good for privacy, this is not good when it comes to home security. It is important for you to socialize with your neighbors. Let them become familiar with some of the patterns that you have as well as the people who usually visit your home. That way, when something abnormal happens, the neighbors are immediately alerted. For example, if your neighbors know that you are not moving anytime soon and then a moving truck pulls up to your home, they will know that something’s up and will try to contact you or law enforcement.
4. Close the blinds. The basic principle behind this is don’t advertise. Contrary to conventional wisdom, most burglaries are not planned. Burglars are opportunists. They are often young men looking to find quick cash because they have a drug habit. So if they look into your home and they see that you have electronic devices, cash, or other valuables that are easily accessible, they may decide to take a chance and break into your home.
5. Store valuables in a safe. Buying a safe might be a little expensive, but if you are the victim of a burglary, you’re going to be happy that you made the investment. Even a simple safe requires time to break into. Time is one thing that burglars know they don’t have. It is best to have a safe that is exceptionally heavy or that is bolted down to the ground. If you purchase a smaller safe, a burglar may simply grab it and carry it away.
If after reading this article you realize that there are some aspects of your home or your behavior that you need to adjust, take steps to fix these things now. There is no way to know in advance when a burglar is going to strike your home. All that you can do is take the necessary precautions to protect yourself now. Install a security alarm, purchase a safe, keep your valuables out of sight, become friendly with your neighbors, and purchase quality locks for your doors and windows. Doing these things will drastically lessen the chance of you becoming a burglary victim.
Matthew Wilson is an enthusiast who has a deep interest in all things related to home security.What started out as a superficial interest in home security systems soon led to Matthew becoming an expert in the field and someone that others would turn to when they had questions about the quality or effectiveness of a home security system or device. Read more of his works on – Property Guard Master!