Here’s some good news: The FBI estimates that burglaries in 2013 were down 8.6 percent from 2012. In that same report, however, the FBI notes that approximately 74 percent of burglaries occurred in residences in 2013.
While you already know to arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail and leave lights on timers while you’re on vacation, you can keep these tips in mind to help protect your family and home year round.
When choosing locks for your exterior doors, look for models labeled with a durability rating of Grade 2 or better and deadbolts that extend at least 1 inch, says the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). Upgrading your locks may provide an additional layer of security, but even the best locks won’t last forever, the NCPC says. A Grade 1 lock that is used 10 times per day may last for 11 years, according to the organization.
Even if you don’t share photos of your new home theater system or designer handbag through your social media accounts, you may inadvertently share that same information with potential thieves in a low-tech format when you take out the trash. The Marietta, Georgia, police point out that labeled boxes from electronics and other high-end goods left on the curb for garbage pickup may signal to thieves what you have inside your home. Instead, break down boxes so they fit completely inside your garbage or recycling can, the department suggests.
From laptops and smartphones to lightweight flat screen TVs, many homes have electronics that can appeal to burglars and are easy to swipe. Portland, Oregon’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement suggests you ensure electronics are not visible from doors or windows while you’re away at work or on vacation. At minimum, place smaller electronic devices in desk drawers, and hang curtains in rooms with TVs. The Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., also recommends writing down the make, model and serial number for each of your electronic devices; in the event of theft, police may be able to use the information to help recover your devices. Creating a home inventory may also help in the event that you need to file an insurance claim.
While you likely close and lock your doors when running errands, remember to keep your garage door closed when you’re home, too. If you have an attached garage, the Omaha Police Department recommends locking the door leading from the garage and into your home to further keep your home secure.
If you spend most of your days at home, consider changing your routine when possible. As noted by the Newport, Oregon, police department, leaving and returning home at different times day-to-day can make it difficult for a burglar to nail down your routine and know when you’re not home.
By taking some precautions and keeping your residence secure, you can help safeguard your home from a burglary.