The thought of someone breaking into your home is a frightening prospect. But for nearly 1 million families each year, it’s a reality.
If you want to learn how to secure your home, there are plenty of things you can do yourself today to protect your home and valuables.
Don’t make it obvious when you’re not home
Knowing how to deter burglars starts with knowing their habits. Burglars don’t want to run the risk of being caught or breaking in when someone is home. Most break-ins occur between 10am and 3pm, after people have gone to work and kids are still in school.
Easy ways to make intruders think you’re home include:
- Keep a TV or radio on during the day.
- Park a second car in the driveway instead of the garage.
- Leave a few lights on inside during the evening. If you have a home automation system, you can easily control lighting from an app when you’re away.
- Install solar porch lights that turn on automatically when the sun is gone.
If you’re going on vacation, arrange for someone to mow your grass or shovel snow, and have the post office hold your mail so it isn’t obvious you’re away.
Secure your front and back doors
If you really want to know how to deter burglars, start with the front and back doors; they’re the most common points of entry in a break-in.
The easiest thing to do is make sure you lock your doors—35 percent of burglaries occur without the use of force, meaning intruders simply walk in through an unlocked door or window. If you have a habit of forgetting to lock your doors, smart locks are an easy way to make sure your doors stay locked and can be controlled from anywhere.
Install deadbolt locks
The rest of burglaries occur by force (such as kicking a door in or picking a lock), and regular door locks aren’t always effective. Deadbolt locks provide an extra level of security and are an effective way to keep intruders out.
Reinforce sliding doors
Sliding doors often have weak locks and doors that are easily lifted off the tracks, making them attractive to burglars. Place a dowel or security bar in the track of the door. This will make it almost impossible to force open, even when unlocked.
Installing an extra lock to the top or bottom of your sliding glass door also makes it more secure.
How to secure windows in 5 easy ways
Approximately 25 percent of burglars gain access through a window, making it one of the most vulnerable points in your home. Here’s how to secure windows from break-ins:
- Lock your windows at night and whenever you leave your home.
- Install motion lights over main-floor windows.
- Consider installing a security system with glass break sensors that trigger alarms.
- Replace panes with more durable material, such as Plexiglass or Polycarbonate.
- Remove bushes and shrubs around windows that could create easy hiding spots.
Know where to hide money at home
For the average burglar, cash is still king—it’s hard to trace and accepted everywhere. But while it’s the most stolen item during a burglary, it’s also the least recovered. According to FBI statistics, only 3 percent of stolen money is ever found.
With that in mind, it pays (literally and figuratively) to know how to keep cash safe. Most burglars make a beeline for the master bedroom, where most people keep the most valuable items in a home, such as cash, jewelry, and safes.
Creative places to hide money
Instead of stashing money under the mattress or in your sock drawer, look for creative places such as:
- an envelope taped under a kitchen cabinet.
- kids’ room closets (one of the least likely rooms a burglar targets).
- empty paint can in the garage.
- inside a book or magazine.
Wherever you stash your cash, make sure family members know so they don’t accidentally toss or donate it.
By learning where and how to secure your home, you can better protect your home from break-ins. These tips are just a few things you can do today to make your home a safer, more secure place.