How Can I Protect My House From Burglars?
The front door is often overlooked by us
Lock your front door as in over 70% of break-in's, the burglars gain entry into a home through the front door. And believe it or not, in about 1/3 of these intrusions, the doors were unlocked! Locking all your doors when not at home just makes sense no matter where you live.
Kicking in the front door is how the majority of the thieves get in when the door is locked. This is easily preventable if the door is truly secure. If a door frame is rotted out, it needs to be replaced because the rot has no strength at all. The same applies to the area of the door where the lockset is mounted. Many strike-plates are held in by a couple of short screws which offers very little protection. Using 3' screws that go all the way into the stud behind the door jamb and possibly a new strike-plate, is the best way of preventing a door from being pushed or kicked in.
A security strike plate on both the door and the jamb would prevent this. There are a variety of strike plates available that do a good job. Long screws are a must and scattered screw holes prevent the screws from going into the same grain of wood which makes it even harder to break.
Patio doors are rarely secure
Sliding patio doors may need a little help to keep out an intruder. Many older and less expensive patio doors are easily lifted up a bit which enables them to slide right open. Even if you have a high quality lock on the door, putting in a wood rod or a security bar made for the purpose of preventing the moving door from sliding is a good idea. Another solution is to use a security pin made for this purpose that goes through the frame of the slider into the frame of the stationary door. This method does need drilling a hole though. These items are readily available from most hardware stores and home centers.
Advertise the security system that you don't have
A sign on the lawn or a window decal that states the presence of an alarm system is one of the least expensive ways to make a would-be thief move on. A beware of dog sign may have a similar effect especially if backed up by barking. A crook would rather not take the risk of either. You can actually buy a barking dog alarm and some of them even sound realistic.
How about the windows?
Keeping windows closed and locked especially on the ground floor is one less invitation for a thief prowling for an easy target. Keep bushes trimmed to a height of no more than 3 feet if they would otherwise block a window. A thief doesn't want to be seen breaking and climbing into a window.
Light up your home
Using inexpensive timers to turn interior lights on and off to give the appearance of being home is another easy way to prevent your home from being targeted.
Outdoor lighting at night will not only bring attention to a thief but will also give you better visibility when you come home. A well-lit up area will deter a thief as they don't want to be visible and catch anyone's attention. Motion detector lights are a great solution as they will save you on electricity costs.
Simple but effective ideas
Don't leave spare keys in obvious places: under a mat, in a nearby flower-pot, above the door, etc. If you need to keep a spare key outside, put it into a small container or wrap it in something to protect it and hide it in a non conspicuous place.
Changing locks when moving into a new home or if house keys get lost is a must.
Notes tacked to the front door will immediately tell anyone that the home is empty. Avoid them. With the popularity of text messaging there should be no need to advertise your unguarded home.
Discontinue all deliveries when the house will be vacant. Newspapers and mail piling up is a telltale sign that you are away.
A home security system brings the highest level of protection and peace of mind. That's not to say that you can ignore all the basic precautions above if you go out and get a home security system. A home security system may get a thief to leave sooner or perhaps get caught but wouldn't you rather just prevent a break-in to begin with? A home security system should be the icing on the cake but not the main course in preventing a burglary.
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