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How to Burglar-Proof Your Home this Winter 

Sep 30, 2023|

Many homeowners look forward to the winter months because of the snow to play in, holidays to celebrate, and extra time off work and school. Even if you’re not thrilled about cold weather, winter provides a great excuse to escape to a warmer climate for vacation.

Burglars look forward to winter, too, but for different reasons—homes can be more vulnerable during the winter, making them a perfect target for break-ins.

Luckily, you can protect your home from burglars with a little information, planning, and help from smart home technology.

Snowy home during wintertime.

Why do winter burglaries occur?

Crime tends to be seasonal, with research showing slightly more household burglaries occur in the summer than winter. But that doesn’t mean winter burglaries don’t occur. Over a million homes are broken into each year in the United States, so it pays to take precautions year-round.

In some ways, winter may be a more attractive time for burglars for a number of reasons, including:

  • Holiday travel means empty homes. Remember the movie “Home Alone” and Kevin’s booby-trapped house to scare off two home burglars? While some (OK, most) parts of the movie were far-fetched, the block of empty homes during the holidays was pretty spot on. Many people travel during the winter months, leaving their homes empty and vulnerable.
  • Fewer daylight hours. Burglars don’t like to be seen. One common theory suggests that fewer daylight hours in the winter means more time after sundown to commit crimes.
  • More unattended cars. If you’ve ever let your car warm up in cold weather, you’re not alone. But unattended, running cars are an open invitation for theft.
  • More deliveries to homes. In 2022, the USPS processed nearly 12 billion packages and mailpieces during the holiday season. This influx in packages can lead to an increase in porch piracy, or package theft, from your front porch.

At the end of the day, most burglaries—regardless of season—are crimes of opportunity. So, how can you keep your home safe?

Let’s be neighbors.

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16 tips for protecting your home from burglars

These security measures can help you keep your home safe in the winter months whether you’re at home or away.

Don’t make it look like you’re not home

The No. 1 goal for a burglar? Don’t get caught.

Homes that look empty are easy targets, so make sure you take steps to look like you’re home even if you’re traveling. For example, if you live in an area that snows, undisturbed snow in the driveway and up to the door is a good indication of no one being home.

If you’re going to be away, consider hiring someone to shovel snow from your driveway and front walkway, and ask a neighbor to collect any mail and packages you might be expecting.

This also applies to your social media accounts! Wait until you’re home from your travels to post pictures of or talk about your adventures.

Use security system signage

The presence of security system signs and stickers around your property can act as a psychological deterrent to potential burglars. Even if you don’t have a full security system, displaying these signs can create the illusion of a monitored and secure property.

Place them in visible locations, like in windows or near entry points, to maximize their effect. This simple measure can be surprisingly effective in deterring burglars looking for easy access.

Use automated or smart lighting

Nothing says “No one’s home!” like a dark house. At the same time, unnatural lighting patterns (such as the same lights left on during the day and night for several days) can also indicate to a burglar that no one’s home.

Smart lighting from a reputable company like Vivint allows you to control your lights from your smartphone or automate your lighting to give the appearance of being home.

Ditch your spare keys

Spare house keys and hide-a-keys are a common way to keep from getting locked out of your home. Unfortunately, a savvy burglar can easily figure out the most common hiding places for spare keys, such as under the doormat.

Smart locks, like the Kwikset Smart Locks available through Vivint, are a better, more secure alternative and work using a code rather than a key. They also allow you to lock or unlock your doors via your smartphone, so you don’t have to wonder if you forgot to lock up or not.

Use a deadbolt and reinforce the door frame

To burglar-proof your home, use a strong deadbolt lock. The door frame and strike plate also play a key role in door security. Reinforcing these can increase your front door’s resistance to forced entry.

Consider installing a heavy-duty deadbolt, and reinforce your door frames with metal reinforcement plates. Ensure the strike plate, the metal piece where the deadbolt latch goes into the frame, is sturdy and secured with long screws.

Keep your home’s exterior well-lit

Keeping your home’s exterior well-lit with outdoor lights can also help deter potential burglars who don’t want to be seen. This is especially important in the winter when it gets darker sooner.

Motion-sensor lights placed around your property or on your garage are an excellent way to keep would-be burglars away.

Use door and window locks

Believe it or not, 34% of burglars don’t technically break in—they simply walk in through an unlocked front door. Another 23% get in through a first-floor window.

With that in mind, making sure your doors and windows stay locked is a very simple way to help protect your home from burglars. You can also consider installing door and window sensors, which sound an alarm if an uninvited guest opens a window or door.

Secure sliding glass and patio doors

Patio and sliding glass doors can be vulnerable to break-ins. Place a strong, metal bar or a wooden dowel in the track. This simple measure prevents the door from being opened from the outside.

For added security, upgrade to a more robust locking mechanism specific to sliding doors. Inspect the doors for any weak points and consider adding additional locks or security bars that can withstand significant force, ensuring these potential entry points are as secure as your front door.

Use a lockbox or safe

For your most valuable possessions, choose a lockbox or home safe that is fireproof, waterproof, and too heavy to be easily removed. Secure it in a hidden location in your home.

This can protect your valuables not just from burglars but also from other hazards like fires or floods. Regularly updating the combination or key, and limiting who knows about its location and access details, adds another layer of security for your most precious items.

Install indoor and outdoor cameras

Not only do security cameras act as a powerful burglar deterrent, but they can also help you provide valuable evidence to law enforcement if you’re ever burglarized.

Consider installing indoor and outdoor cameras equipped with night vision for an extra set of eyes both inside and outside your home.

See who’s coming and going with a doorbell camera

When it comes to protecting your home from burglars, doorbell cameras are popular for a good reason. They let you see who’s coming to your door whether or not you’re home, and many allow you to answer your door via a smartphone app.

Even if no one rings the bell, doorbell cameras are often equipped with motion sensors and will begin recording or send a notification to your phone if they detect motion.

Be wary of suspicious activity

Awareness of your surroundings is key to preventing break-ins. Stay vigilant for any unusual behavior or suspicious activity in your neighborhood, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Establishing a neighborhood watch program can be an effective way to keep your community safe. Promptly reporting suspicious activity to local authorities can prevent potential burglaries and increase overall safety in your area.

Don’t give burglars a reason to break in

You probably already have blinds and curtains to keep people from peeking into your home, but there’s another way you could be letting potential burglars see what’s inside—your garbage.

This is particularly true during the winter holiday months when people get new toys and gifts. Don’t leave boxes for big-ticket items like new TVs or computers on the curb for the trash for potential burglars to see.

Secure your Wi-Fi network

With the increasing number of smart home security devices, securing your home Wi-Fi network is crucial. Use strong, unique passwords for your Wi-Fi network, and regularly update the firmware of your router. This prevents hackers from gaining access to your network and, by extension, your smart home devices.

Consider a Wi-Fi network specifically for your smart home devices to further enhance security. Regularly monitoring and updating your network security settings can prevent cyber threats, keeping your smart home devices and the information they transmit safe.

Upgrade your garage door controller

Your garage door is a potential entry point that burglars might exploit.

A smart garage door controller allows you to open and close your garage door remotely using a smartphone app. This is particularly useful if you often find yourself wondering whether you remembered to close the garage door after leaving home.

A garage door controller can also integrate with other home security systems, providing you with real-time notifications if your garage door is opened unexpectedly.

Get a home security system

For true peace of mind, consider investing in a home security system.

A complete home security system from Vivint includes all the smart technology your home needs to protect it. This includes indoor and outdoor cameras, smart lighting, smart door locks, and motion detectors to catch activity in your home, including both door sensors and window sensors that sound an alarm if breached.

Our monitored security systems go a step further. If burglar alarms are tripped inside the home, your system will alert our 24/7 monitoring center, which then contacts local authorities.

Snowy home in the winter.

Stay safe with a Vivint alarm system

Keeping your home protected during the winter months requires a little diligence on your part. Whether you prefer to spend the winter months bundled up inside, playing in the snow, or escaping to a warmer climate, these security tips can give you the peace of mind that your home and your loved ones are secure wherever you are.

To find out how a Vivint can keep your home safe and sound all year with smart home alarm systems, call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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