By the time you read this paragraph, another preventable break in will occur in the United States. Every 18 seconds, adding up to 200 an hour, home invaders successfully strike. Home security shouldn’t have to cost thousands of dollars with complicated devices. There are simple steps you can take to improve home security and peace of mind before leaving your home.
Lock your door and windows
This seems like an obvious tip, but 30 percent of burglars report breaking into a home through an unlocked window or door. Life gets busy and we rush to work, school, and activities. Take a few minutes before you leave to check the doors and recently opened windows on the first level. If you believe you’ll forget to, stick a note on your door to remind yourself before stepping out.
Get a dog
If you’ve always wanted a dog, here’s your excuse. Properly trained dogs are effective at deterring a burglar. Barking loudly will panic the intruder that they may bite or alert someone of their presence.
Speak to neighbors before going away on a trip
Before departing for a trip, set up security measures. Home intruders look for mail piling up, overgrown lawns, and dark houses as signs you’re not around. Ask a neighbor to bring in your mail for you, even if they just grab it and bring it to their house. Consider paying to cut your lawn while you’re away. If you’re comfortable, leave a dim porch light on. Timed lights are also relatively inexpensive to install.
Give the illusion you have an expensive system
Ever seen those home security signs in lawns? Those are effective at letting an intruder know that they will experience resistance in trying to break in, and they don’t want to deal with resistance. Stick a sign near your mailbox and porch that says something generic like, “security cameras in use” even if you don’t have any. Don’t be specific about brand of system, because they may try to disarm it if they know how. A home intruder will likely see the decoy sign and skip your house.
Close your blinds and curtains
Before entering a home, a burglar wants to know what they’re going to grab. The average home break in only lasts between 6-12 minutes, and this is because it is often planned. They will scope out a home’s valuable items through windows prior to the break in. An easy solution to this is closing blinds and curtains prior to departure. They won’t know what is in the house. If you don’t have blinds or curtains in a certain room, put valuable items out of sight.
Leave a radio playing near the window
Television and radio playing are typically a sign that someone is home. Since leaving your TV on can run up a cable bill, consider investing in a cheap radio to play near a window close to the front and back doors. Bonus: if you have pets, they love having music on while you’re away. Sounds of people are comforting when they’re alone.
Don’t leave an electronic trail of your whereabouts
In a growing age of digital footprints, we forget that you can’t always trust everyone around you. Refrain from posting about a big trip before or during it. If you have Snapchat, turn off your location in settings so no one can track in real time where you’re going. Only tell trusted neighbors, family, and friends when and where you’re going during the day and on trips. Give only two people access at any time to your home with spare keys. It is not advisable to give away a garage code, as that can be shared. Keys are a way to know only the people you trust know your whereabouts and have access to the home during your absence.
Motion sensor lights
Home invaders typically try to hide their identity. They’ll avoid lit up areas and attempt to cover most of their body. Budget friendly motion sensor lights on the porch, in the backyard, and near the garage are great, not only to deter burglars by revealing them but also to let you and neighbors know there is someone outside the home. These are also practical to light your path safely at night coming into the house.
Stay up to date on crime trends
Take a few minutes out of your week to check in on local crime trends. Using crime mapping websites allows you to see what neighborhoods are at risk and when home invaders are striking.
Be an informed and safe homeowner. You deserve to have peace of mind and security. It is easy to accomplish that without spending thousands on a professional home security system. Outsmart home invaders on your own by following these DIY tips.