When you are home, you probably feel pretty safe. You’ve taken the basic precautions to secure your home and you feel reasonably sure you can use a weapon and/or your wits to deal with a burglar.
But what about when you’re gone for a day or more? Do you believe that burglars will not know you’re away? Or that they can tell you’ve secured your home in your absence?
No sense in testing fate. There are things you can do to make your home as unattractive as possible to a would-be burglar.
Here are 13 tips for making burglars think twice about targeting your home:
- Don’t leave visible trash in garbage cans. This is especially true for marked boxes showing what you’ve recently purchased and what is undoubtedly sitting in your home unattended. And after seeing overflow garbage for several days in a row, a burglar will know you’re not around.
- Don’t let your mailbox get full. This is another sign you’re gone. Arrange with a neighbor to collect your mail, or have it stopped at the post office.
- Don’t post images of your vacation on social media until you return. It’s possible that not everyone who sees them will be as much of a “friend” as you think.
- Don’t leave spare keys in obvious places. Under a mat and in a mailbox are the first two places a burglar will look for a spare key.
- Install secure doors. This is the most likely entry point for an intruder. Keep your doors locked whether you’re home or away.
- Upgrade your door locks. Use Grade 1 or 2 deadbolts, accompanied by heavy-duty brass strike plates.
- Install secure windows. Make sure they can’t be manipulated from the outside. And that they can’t be opened more than six inches, except by you.
- Install motion sensor lights around your home. Keep shrubbery trimmed to reduce the number of hiding places on your lawn.
- Install an alarm system. Post a couple of signs regarding your system near entrances. Make sure the alarm is loud enough. Add a “Beware of dog” sign.
- Keep the inside of your home well lit at night. Put your inside lights on a timer when you are away.
- Keep tools that could be used to break into a home – such as ladders, crowbars, etc. – away from open view.
- Join a neighborhood watch group. Neighbors helping neighbors is one of the best ways to keep a neighborhood safe.
- Have a family emergency plan. Each family member should know exactly what to do if an intruder is trying to enter your home.
Nothing is perfect. But taking these steps will help increase the odds that a burglar will target a different house than yours.