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Guest writer: Maile Timon is a freelance writer and content editor. She writes articles on lifestyle and family, health and fitness, education, business and more. Maile earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California.
If you really want to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from burglary and theft, you need to go right to the source. Who better to give you the real deal on what attracts or deters intruders than the burglars themselves? Based on interviews with convicted burglars and criminal justice data from around the web, we’ve put together this guide to help you keep your loved ones and your valuables safe.
If you don’t have some sort of alarm system installed in your home, what are you waiting for? Alarms are one of the biggest deterrents when it comes to keeping burglars out or encouraging them to find a different target. According to a study from UNC Charlotte, approximately 83 percent of burglars surveyed said they would first try to determine if an alarm was present and 60 percent said they would find an alternative target if they discovered an alarm.
If you think an alarm system is too costly, rest assured that the expensive, traditional systems, which required pricey installation and startup costs and monthly maintenance fees, are no longer your only option. Do-it-yourself home security options are much more cost effective and can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Find the best system to match your needs and your budget.
Once you install your alarm, make sure you put the signs and decals in a prominent place. In many cases, an alarm sign in your yard or sticker on your window can be enough to make a burglar think again.
A burglar’s best friend is time, so anything you can do to slow them down is beneficial. Only about one in eight burglars reported picking locks or using a key that they had previously acquired to gain entry, so why not replace your standard locks with something more substantial or intimidating? You will make your home harder to break into or a burglar may see an unfamiliar lock and simply keep moving. When it comes to locks, there are a number of options. You can even find smart locks that allow remote access, so you can lock or unlock your doors using your smart phone.
Remember, the most advanced lock won’t do any good if you don’t use it; 30% of burglars enter a home through an unlocked window or door. To avoid forgetting to lock doors or close windows, establish a “locking-up routine” that you follow every time you leave the house; according to experts at Dependable Locksmiths, “when you repeat the same actions every time you leave the house, it becomes a habit, allowing you to keep your home safe no matter where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone.”
If you leave your windows wide open, you give burglars an unobstructed view of all the goods for the taking inside your home. Not only that, you also announce that no one is home. This is an open invitation to an intruder to come on in and take a look around. Don’t leave your valuables on display. That flat screen TV and Macbook look very enticing to a thief who is looking for items he can exchange for cash.
Keep your window shades, curtains and/or blinds drawn to keep out prying eyes. If you don’t have window treatments, now is a good time to get some! You can find some less-expensive options if you’re working with a tight budget.
Make is look like you are home, awake and watching TV with the SABRE TV Light Simulator.
Burglars prefer to hit houses when the occupants are away from home, generally during the daytime when people are at work or school. If a thief thinks someone is home, he or she may consider another target. You can trick a burglar into thinking someone is home, or at least make it confusing enough so he or she can’t be certain and may look for another house to hit.
Timed lights and motion-activated lights can trick potential burglars into thinking someone is at home. You may be able to get some of these with your security system, but you can also get timers for other electronic devices (like your TV), which can turn electronics on and off at random intervals. A more calculating crook will case a house and try to nail down the occupants schedule; timed devices are perfect to throw them off.
Your beautiful lawn and flowers may be great to increase curb appeal, but large trees and shrubs create hiding spots for burglars. “I tried to only hit houses with enclosed backyards,” a former burglar reveals. “That beautiful wood fence you have up? Those lovely tall bushes? That ivy-covered fence? Congrats, you've just ensured that your neighbors will probably never see me.”
Use your landscape strategically. Flowers and little accents are OK, but don’t create hiding spots for thieves.
Use this invaluable insight to take the necessary actions and proper precautions to secure your house from the inside out. With the proper planning and preparation, you can outsmart thieves and protect your home and your loved ones.