Shut Down Home Intruders With These 7 Safety Strategies
According to the FBI, more than one million
burglaries are committed in the United States each year, with victims suffering
an estimated $3 billion in combined property losses.1 Fortunately,
there are some proven tactics you can use to decrease your likelihood of a home
invasion. Most burglars won’t go to extreme lengths to
enter a residence. They are looking for easy access with minimal risk. A
monitored security system can be an effective deterrent—homes without one are
300% more likely to be burglarized—but it isn’t the only way to protect your
property.2 The strategies below can help to maximize your home’s
security and minimize your chances of being targeted by intruders. Thinking
about listing your home? We have some additional
recommendations for you. Contact us to find out the procedures we use to keep
our clients and their property safe and secure during the buying and selling
Check Your Doors and Windows
According to home security company ADT, the
most common entry point for a burglar is an unlocked front door (34%) followed
by a first-floor window (23%) or back door (22%).3 So securing these
points of entry is essential.
Evaluate the condition of your doors and locks.
A steel door is generally considered the
strongest, but many homeowners prefer the look of wood. Whatever material you
choose, make sure it has a solid core and pair it with a Grade 1 or 2 deadbolt
lock with a reinforced strike plate.4
Add window locks and security film.
Aftermarket window locks are an easy and inexpensive
upgrade that can provide an additional layer of protection for your home.
Choose a lock that is compatible with your window frame material and a style
that is appropriate for the window type. And consider using a specialty film on
windows that are adjacent to a door. Security film holds shattered glass in
place, making the windows more difficult to penetrate.5
Landscape for Security
When it comes to outdoor landscaping, many of
us think about maintenance and curb appeal. But the choices we make can impact
our home’s security, as well. Thieves target homes that they can enter and exit
without being detected. Here are a few tweaks that can make your property less
appealing to potential intruders.
Increase visibility from the street.
A privacy hedge may keep out nosy neighbors,
but it can also welcome thieves—so trim overgrown trees and shrubs that
obstruct the view of your property. According to police officers, they offer an
ideal environment for criminals to hide.6
Place thorny bushes and noisy gravel below windows.
Don’t eliminate shrubbery altogether, though.
Certain hedges can actually offer a deterrent to robbers. Plant thorny rose
bushes or sharp-leaved holly beneath your first-story windows for both beauty
and protection. Add some loose gravel that crunches when disturbed.
Light Your Exterior
When it’s dark outside, criminals don’t need
to rely on overgrown shrubbery to hide. Luckily, a well-designed outdoor
lighting system can make your home both safer and more attractive.
Install landscape lighting.
Eliminate pockets of darkness around your yard
and home’s perimeter with strategically placed outdoor lights. Use a
combination of flood, spot, well, and pathway lights to add interest and
highlight natural and architectural details.
Use motion-activated security lights to startle intruders.
The soft glow of landscape lighting isn’t
always enough to dissuade a determined intruder. But a motion-activated
security light may stop him in his tracks.And if you choose a Wi-Fi connected smart version, you can receive
notifications on your phone when there’s movement on your property.
Make It Look Like You’re Home
Motion-activated lights aren’t the only way to
make an intruder think you’re at home. New technology has made it increasingly
possible to monitor your home while you’re away. This is especially important
since most burglaries take place on weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm, when many
of us are at work or school.2
Turn on your TV and leave a car in the driveway.
A survey of convicted burglars revealed that
the majority avoid breaking into homes if they can hear a television or if
there’s a vehicle parked in the driveway.7 If you’re away from home,
try connecting your TV to a timer or smart plug. And when you travel, leave
your car out or ask a neighbor to park theirs in your driveway.
Install a video doorbell.
In that same survey, every respondent said
they would knock or ring the doorbell before breaking into a home. A video
doorbell not only alerts you to the presence of a visitor, it also enables you
to see, hear, and talk with them remotely from your smartphone—so they’ll never
know you’re gone.
Keep Valuables Out of Sight
Few home invasions are conducted by criminal
masterminds. In fact, a survey of convicted offenders found that only 12%
planned their robberies in advance, while the majority acted spontaneously.8
That’s one of the reasons security experts caution against placing valuables
where they are visible from the outside.9
Check sightlines from your doors and windows.
Don’t tempt robbers with a clear view of the
most commonly stolen items, which are cash (think purses and wallets), jewelry,
electronics, firearms, and drugs (both illegal and prescription).6 Take
a walk around your property to make sure none of these items are easily
Secure valuables in a safe.
Consider the possessions that are on display
inside your home, as well. It’s always a good idea to lock up firearms,
sensitive documents, and expensive or irreplaceable items when you have
housekeepers or other service providers on your property.
Highlight Your Security Measures
While it’s prudent to hide your valuables,
it’s equally important to advertise your home’s security features. In surveys,
convicted burglars admit to avoiding homes with obvious protective measures in
Install outdoor cameras.
Security cameras are the most common home
protection device and for good reason.10 Not only do they help
prevent crime (burglars are known to avoid them), they can offer peace of mind
for homeowners who want to sneak a peek at their property while away.11
And if you do experience a break-in, security camera footage can help police
identify your intruder.
Post warning signs.
Security system placards and beware-of-dog
signs are also shown to be effective deterrents.8 Of course, you
should back up your threats with a noisy alarm and loud barking dog for maximum
Limit What You Share on Social Media
Social media platforms can be a great way to
stay connected with friends and family, but it’s easy to reveal more than
you’ve intended. Be thoughtful about what you’re posting—and who has access.
Delay posting photos or travel updates.
It can be tempting to upload a concert selfie
or pictures from your beach vacation. But these types of photos scream: “My
house is unoccupied!” Try to wait until you’ve returned home to share the
photos on social media.
Set privacy restrictions on your accounts.
Think twice about connecting with strangers or
casual acquaintances on social media. If you enjoy sharing family updates and
personal photos, it’s safer to limit your followers to those you truly know and
HOME IS SAFE WITH US
We take home security seriously. That’s why we
have screening procedures in place to keep our clients and their homes safe
when they are for sale. We also remind our buyers to change the locks before
they move into their new homes and provide referrals to locksmiths and home
security companies that can help. To learn more about our procedures and how
you can stay safe during the buying and selling process, contact us to schedule
a free consultation!