According to the FBI, there were an estimated 1,928,465 burglaries in the year 2013. Of those nearly 2 million burglaries, 74% were residential properties and the victims suffered about $4.5 billion in losses. We hope your home is never the target of one of these criminals acts but, if it is, there are some things you can do ahead of time to minimize your financial losses.
We all have that file cabinet, box, or drawer in our homes that contains all of our important documents, right? What about the treasured jewelry box with family heirlooms? These items are some of the main targets for burglars. You may think they're safe in your locked file cabinet, or in your dresser drawer, but is that enough? The safest thing to do is to install a secure wall or floor safe in your home. This will deter most burglars from wasting their time with something they cannot quickly grab and leave with. Assess your family's irreplaceable items that you would not be able to replace if they were stolen or damaged (Documents, Jewelry, Family Photos, etc.) and purchase a safe with more than enough room to hold it all. Depending on the size, these safes could range in price at your local home improvement retailer from around $70 to $300. Compared to the loss of irreplaceable items, however, it's a small price to pay.
Everyone's goal should be to prevent a burglar from ever entering their home in the first place. While it's hard to always keep a literal eye on your home, there are things you can do while you're away from home to help deter burglars from attempting a break-in.
All Eyes on Them!
The best thing you can do for your home is to have eyes on it at all times. Unfortunately, it's not realistic to stay home and protect it 24/7 most people have obligations that keep them out of the house for most of the daylight hours, or even longer! A great alternative to being able to be a round-the-clock defense is to allow someone else to do it. Professional home security systems, such as ADT, Frontpoint, and Protect America (the top three home security systems for 2015) are great deterrents for potential burglars and are usually priced with an affordable monthly payment.
Beware of Dog
If you have a beloved fury family member, or even if you don't, adding a bright "Beware of Dog" sign to your fence or home is a signal to any potential intruders that they may be facing a serious dog attack if they make the wrong move! This method, of course, does NOT replace a professional security system but it doesn't hurt to add the threat of a bite.
Not everyone likes being in the spotlight especially when they're doing something wrong! Invest in motion-detected spotlights for the front, back and sides of your home so they any potential break-in attempts will be exposed and thwarted immediately.
Take a vacation with some peace of mind
If you and your family are planning a trip where you'll away for a period of time there are special precautions you can, and should, take to ensure your home remains safe.
Don't Broadcast Your Absence
If you're going to be leaving your home unoccupied for any extended period of time, you should only tell people that NEED to know. These "need to know" people could include: family members, close neighbors, and any cleaning, lawn, or other services that you pay to come to your home. Do not, under any circumstances, post publicly on social media that you will be leaving home or post pictures from your vacation before you arrive home this is like broadcasting to potential burglars "Come on over! You won't be caught!"
Lights Out, Then On!
It's tempting, when leaving for a vacation, to keep a few lights on to make it look as though someone is home. Take caution with this trick, though. A bedroom light that never turns off, even in the late hours of the night, is a green light to anyone that may have an eye on your home. To safely make your home look occupied, we suggest purchasing a programmable light switch. These can be purchased at your local hardware store for as little as $20 and are easily programmed to turn your lights on and off at specific times determined by you.
Another tell-tale sign of an "all clear" for burglars is a full mailbox or a porch full of packages. At that point, your home doesn't even need to be broken into for you to suffer financially. Your identity can be stolen from certain pieces of mail getting into the wrong hands! There are two very good options to eliminate the pile up of mail while you're away.
- Have a neighbor or family member you trust collect your mail and packages every day that you're away.
- Take advantage of the Hold Mail Service provided by your local USPS.
Today, we have the convenience of long-term parking at airports. Unfortunately, by taking advantage of this service, we are unknowingly providing potential burglars with the knowledge that we are not home. A house with no cars in the driveway during the day or night is a clear sign that no one is home! Here are a few other options for you to consider to keep your driveway from giving YOU away:
- Ask your direct neighbor to make use of your driveway for one of their vehicles while you're away.
- Ask a close friend or relative to give you a ride to the airport or train station so that your car remains at your home.