You’ve worked hard to buy your favorite possessions but most thieves aren’t quite so ambitious. If you make it hard for them to break in, they may just move on to another home. Keep these points in mind to deter thieves.
- Lock your doors and windows, even when you’re home. In over a third of break-ins, doors were left unlocked and about 40% of the time, the owners were at home during the home invasion. Most occur between 10 AM and 3:00 PM.
- Never lend keys to others. Consider installing a lock with a numbered keypad. When someone needs access to your home, give them a unique code and disable it when access is no longer needed.
- Keep valuables safe – most thieves favor light-weight goodies that are easy to carry and sell. Keep money, jewelry and collections like coins and stamps in a small safe that gets attached to the floor or wall.
- Keep expensive items out of sight – leaving wallets, car keys, etc. where they’re visible from a window could be enough to encourage a thief.
- Don’t advertise your new purchase: when you finally get that 85” 4G TV, don’t just fold up the box and leave it for the recycling truck. It’s best to break up the box into small pieces that can be concealed inside the recycling bin.
- Keep the house looking lived-in: when you go out of town, stop your mail, make arrangements for a neighbor to stop by periodically at random times or leave a car in your driveway, use timers for lights and keep the lawn mown, driveway plowed and walkways and stairs cleared of snow.
- Upgrade locks: use a deadbolt and install metal plating around doorknobs and door jams to discourage jimmying.
- Consider an alarm: if you’re aware of thieves operating in your neighborhood or if you have a lot of valuables in the home, installing a home security system may make sense.
- Clear view: Allianz Australia suggests trimming any large trees or shrubs that may provide cover for thieves and keep neighbors from sensing trouble.
- Get a dog and make a friend: A dog barking or even a Beware of Dog sign can make a thief think twice. Make friends with your neighbors. Tell them when you’ll be out of town so they’ll be more alert to suspicious activity.
I hope that you never have to endure a home invasion. These tips should make one very unlikely but before getting an unpleasant surprise, check that your homeowners insurance covers your valuables in case of theft. As part of their excellent blog series, LendEDU covers just this topic.