If burglars think it will take more than four or five minutes to break into a home, they will move on, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Simple steps—and common sense—can help deter potential robbers.
Taking time to safeguard your home and your possessions doesn’t have to be complicated:
Check for weak points
- Trim trees and bushes near doors and windows. While shrubbery and high fences add privacy, they also provide cover for burglars.
- Install motion sensor lights and exterior lighting that shines on potential hiding places in your yard.
- Be aware of what people outside can see inside your home. Decrease the visibility of your valuables such as paintings, televisions, computers or other expensive items.
Take simple security steps
- Secure your doors. Make sure outside doors and frames are strong and made of metal or thick hardwood. Installing a one-way viewer in your front door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain. Sliding glass doors—one of the most common points of entry for robbers—can be reinforced with special locks or by placing wooden rods or metal bars in the tracks they slide on.
- Pay attention to your window and door locks. Replace old, worn-out locks with new, pick-resistant ones. Deadbolt locks are best for doors.
- Consider investing in a burglar alarm that alerts the police, fire department or other emergency services.
Prepare for vacations
- Make your home look inhabited by using timers to turn lights on and off. Temporarily stop newspaper deliveries and arrange to have mail picked up or held by the post office. Consider hiring a lawn service to maintain your yard if you will be gone for a long period of time.
- Turn off the volume of your landline telephone ringer so that it can’t be heard from outside; by searching online, burglars can connect addresses with names and phone numbers to call and hear if anyone answers.
- Use discretion; avoid discussing vacation plans in public places, and never announce on social media that you are planning to be away. Avoid leaving detailed out-of-office messages at work or oversharing your vacation pics online until you’re back home.
- Create a home inventory. In the event that you do need to file a claim, a thorough accounting of your possessions will make the process easier.
Don’t forget insurance. Make sure you have the policy you need to cover your prized possessions such as expensive jewelry, artwork or electronics.