Whether you live in a house you designed yourself, a condo that you rent, or a fixer-upper, it’s home to you. You unwind there after a long day at work, you play with your kids on the floor of the living room, or you have thanksgiving dinners with all your extended family. That being said, you have items and belongings that have worth to you. When your home is burglarized, none of your belongings are safe. A thief doesn’t care that the silverware he took was your great-grandmothers, or that your tablet and computer had important work documents on it. All a thief cares about is that they get in and get out with as much as they can without being caught. There are ways to prevent home burglaries and to make sure that when you come home, you still have your security and possessions.
The stats on home burglaries
There are four types of burglary:
- Competed burglary: A person that has no legal right to be on your property and gains entrance to a structure with or without force.
- Forcible entry: A person forces their way into a structure like breaking down a door or cutting the window screen. 95% of burglaries occur with some type of force.
- Unlawful entry without force: A person that has no legal right to be on your property but gains entrance to a structure without force. 33% of burglaries occur this way because they entered through an unlocked door or an open window.
- Attempted forcible entry: A person tries to gain entrance into a structure with force but doesn’t succeed.
Every year, 2.5 million homes are broken into, meaning that a home burglary happens every 13 seconds. Home burglaries usually happened during the day, typically between the hours of 10 am. and 3 pm. and are more common to occur during the months of July and August. Thieves look for homes that have a lot of cover around them, are easy to get to and have escape routes. It is very common for the thief to live close to you and there is a 28% chance that you are home when a burglary happens. Thieves use simple tools to force entry such as screwdrivers, pries bars, or hammers. The most common way to break in is through the front or back door and after they enter, the average time they are in your home is 10 minutes. They start in the master bedroom and are looking for cash, jewelry and weapons. They want small items that are easy to carry out and will be easy to sell.
How to prevent home burglaries
There are simple ways to prevent a thief from entering your home.
- The most obvious tip is to lock your doors and windows. This can easily change the mind of a would be thief if they can’t easily get in your house. You can also install a wireless security alarm kit on all the windows and doors in your house that will set off a sound if it’s opened. That way, whether you are home or not, that sound will warn anyone that your house is protected and monitored. Secure your sliding doors with a bar or broom handle in the track that won’t allow the door to slide open and use it whenever the door is closed. Keep curtains closed when possible to keep passersby from looking in on what you own.
- One of the things a thief looks for when studying your house is cover to hide in. Plant bushes with thorns like roses. Keep shrubbery and trees trimmed to make it harder for someone to hide and scope out your home. Using rocks around the windows can warn you of someone walking around that you don’t know about.
- Don’t let your house look empty if you leave for a trip or vacation. Put a hold on your mail so that it doesn’t pile up or have a neighbor pick it up and check on your house. You could also ask a friend to help with the garbage by taking it to the street on trash days and pulling it back afterwards. Put a timer on lights so that they turn on and off at common times. Tell only those who need to know about you leaving.
- Hide important belongings or large amounts of cash in uncommon places. Remember, the thief wants to get in and out quickly. If you keep all your valuables in one area, you make it that much easier for him to get away with stealing it. Get a safe that you can bolt to the floor so that it can’t be carried off and broken into later.
- Document your belongings with video and pictures. Keep serial and model numbers of expensive items for insurance. Back up computers and laptops often and keep the hard drive in a secure location. Keep a double of the files with someone that you trust.
Make sure the outside of your house is well lit at night. Use strong exterior doors such as solid wood or metal that provide protection from someone being able to break it down. Don’t leave tools, ladders, or anything that can be used to break into your home outside. Install an outdoor motion-activated camera. You can check on your home during the day and get alerts if any motion is detected.