Do you feel safe in your own house at night? Do you see the potential threats and vulnerabilities inside and outside your home? While it is impossible to completely shield your home from thieves, you can minimize the risk.
Below I have collected some simple ways to protect your property from unwanted break ins:
- Lock the Doors
Even if you step out for a moment, make sure to lock your entrance doors and windows. A lot of burglars watch the neighborhood for the right opportunity to just stroll in through an unlocked door and grab things in their sight.
Last week, for example, one of my neighbor was at the back yard. The front door was unlocked and someone just walked in and took the iPads. She only noticed the iPads missing later in the evening and couldn’t believe her eyes. Someone walked into her house in the middle of the day while she was there. What a scary thought, isn’t it?
- Replace Doors with Letter Box
If you have one of those doors with letter box, you must get rid of it and fast. Every burglar knows how to use all kind of extendable devices to get the hold of the keys and unlock your door in no time.
- Change Rekey the Locks
If you move into new house or apartment, make sure to change or rekey the locks.
You literally have no clue who had and still has the copy of your keys. It might be previous tenants, your landlord, someone’s ex-girlfriend, aliens from Venus. Do not take changes and make sure that your locks work with unique, new key.
- Hide the Alarm Wires
If you have an alarm system installed, it might be a good idea to cover up the wiring. The professional intruders know exactly which wires to cut to disconnect the house alarm without making a sound.
- Deadbolts are Safer
Make sure to install deadbolts instead of the regular spring-latch lock. The latter is just too easy to break in.
- Don’t Share Your Keys with People You Don’t Trust
Think twice before you make a copy of your key to the neighbor, redecorating team or a house cleaner. Can you really trust this person? Do they have proper certification and recommendations? How does the cleaning company protect you from theft and dishonest use of your property? What happens to your key after the work is done?
- Flower Pot is Not a Key Holder
We all grew up with keys under the mat, in the flower pot, above the door frame and in the mailbox. Times have changed and so should your places for the spare key. Be original and hide it somewhere people wouldn’t look, such as in a dog house, in a fake rock somewhere around the garden, decoy sprinkler head key safe (you can buy it on amazon for less than $7), ziplock bag (for protection) which you can stick or put pretty much anywhere.
- Bright Sensor Lights Scare Thieves Away
Lightening with movement sensor are a must if your entrance is rather dark. Intruders hate light, especially the one that turns on unexpectedly into their face.
- Don’t Let Strangers In
First, always ask for ID from any service employee that comes knocking on your door. If you have food delivery, consider accepting and paying for it at the door, rather than letting the delivery person walk into your home. The rule is simple – if I don’t know you well, you are not allowed into my house.
- Don’t Trust Anyone
If a stranger is asking to call a police or road service, do not open the door and suggest calling yourself. Do you trust your landlord? They most likely have master key and can open your entrance door anytime they feel like it. If you do not trust or know the person at the door, by letting him or her in you are leaving yourself vulnerable. It is also important to figure out the right places to keep your valuables while you are away from home. If someone does get into your house, how fast can they find what to steal?
- Dog is Your Best Friend
Consider getting a dog. Even a small dog makes a huge difference an is very effective against burglars. The barking and the growling will keep most intruders away from your doors and windows.
- No Space Between Door and Frame
Check whether your door and frame doesn’t have too much space between. It is an easy way in for an experienced burglar.
- Glass Panels Should Go
It’s not a rocket science to break the glass. Avoid having any kind of glass panels at your entrance door. If you have one, get rid of it as soon as possible. Intruders can easily break the glass and reach for the doorknob from the outside.
- Do Not Ignore the Windows
Install good locks, burglar-resistant glass and alarm system around the house. It is also advisable to have small window rather than huge sliding doors or whole-wall length windows. Another useful protection tip is window tint, similar to 3M security film.
- Secure the Garage
It is a good idea to cover your garage windows. This way people can’t tell whether your car is gone, thus they cannot figure out right away whether you are at home or not. It is also advisable to have a peephole in your doors. This way you can check out who is outside without opening your door.
- Install CCTV
This is not exactly prevention against burglars but the cameras will capture the intruder in action and can be used as an evidence in the aftermath.
- Build Gates with Padlocks
Padlock system gates or electronic locks are perfect for extra buffer between the world outside and your property. The lock can have a code, which can be either shared or individual.
Burglars are everywhere, roaming the streets in search of vulnerable houses. Before you know it, your house and family might be under attack from a complete stranger. It can come from the front door, open window, broken weak locks and from people you have entrusted with spare keys.
Most people around me have at least one breaking in story to share and in most of those cases the burglars get away with their crime. I say, prevention is the best solution. Protect your house before the thieves have a chance to take your valuables and hurt your loved ones.
Some people might say an opposite – being prepared for everything will leave you generally unprepared. The technology improves and new innovative tools come out daily. It is important to keep up to date and grow your security together with the new innovations. Smart locks, for example, are safer and harder to unlock than the regular locks. You might have changed all your locks couple of years ago, however today those locks do not provide the ultimate solution to your house protection.
In case the disaster strikes despite the preparation, the important thing to have at reach is the police and ambulance number, fire station, insurance, family and friends who can help, locksmith, plumber, electrician and taxi. You must have a disaster plan, for those moments when your security fails.