Want to avoid a burglary? Make your home much less attractive to the burglars. No one can be vigilant all the time, and not everyone can afford to have high-tech security equipment installed everywhere. What homeowners can do is protect the 5 most vulnerable parts of the home, the places where burglars strike first.
It seems to defy logic, but plenty of burglars go into homes right through the front door. Homes that have recessed doorways and other architectural features that obscure the doorway are the most vulnerable. Large trees and potted plants near the doorway, decorative overhangs, shrub walls and other embellishments can all provide shadows and hiding places for burglars.
How to fix it - Make an obscure front door much more visible. Add extra lighting to wash away shadows caused by landscaping and architectural details. Paint the front door a bright color. Put visible deterrents on the front door, such as warning stickers. “Beware of dog” and alarm security stickers can turn some burglars off.
Back and side entrances are vulnerable to burglars because they can sneak into these hard-to-see doors without attracting attention. Homes with large side yards and homes next to alleys are particularly vulnerable to this threat, because these features provide easy access to the back of the property.
How to fix it - If building a fence to guard the side and back yards isn’t an option, add some security. Motion-activated floodlights are affordable and they’re an easy way to add illumination to your vulnerable side yard. In addition, mount a fake security camera (or two) in the area. Studies show that visible signs of security turn burglars away from potentially vulnerable homes. No one has to know that the cameras are fakes.
The windows of any house are potentially vulnerable to burglars because it’s easy to overlook them as a homeowner. Windows may be unlocked or even open, particularly during warm spring and summer months. In older homes, the windows are vulnerable because they are often weakened and worn from age. This makes it easier for burglars to break into them, even if they are locked.
How to fix it - Repair and replace old windows whenever possible for security’s sake. And when the window itself can’t be replaced, upgrade the hardware. Get new window locks that are visible from the outside. Visible locks slow burglars down and may even stop them in their tracks. The new locks will add additional security even to older windows.
French doors and sliding glass doors add a beautiful feature to any home, but they also represent weakness to canny burglars. French doors are vulnerable because they are made with many small panes of glass. One of these panes can be easily shattered without making much noise, and thieves can slide their hands right in to undo your locks. Some sliding glass doors can be forced open with a simple tool like a screwdriver.
How to fix it - Strengthen weak doors with extra security. Install locks and handles on French doors at least 36 inches away from the windows and the glass on the doors. Put a sturdy metal rod (or even a golf club) in the track of the sliding glass door so it can’t be opened even if the lock is forced.
In almost one-third of burglaries, the thieves don’t even have to do any work. They waltz right in through unlocked basement windows and garage doors.
How to fix it - Always keep doors and windows to your basement and/or garage locked. If you like to enjoy the breeze with open windows, get locking screens. Any doors on the outside leading into your home, even the garage and basement, should have sturdy deadbolts. Doors with weaker locks can be forced or partially disassembled to allow entry into the home.
Home burglaries happen every single day, and they don’t just occur at night. Many home burglaries happen during the day, in the middle of sunny afternoons. The highest number of home burglaries occur in August. This is a startling fact because August is when children are home from school and neighbors are outside enjoying the weather. But the truth is, the majority of burglars strike during the day in the warm summer months. Of course, a home burglary can happen any time and during any month.
Many homeowners don't think about burglary until it happens to them. Stay aware that thieves are out there, and they may be looking toward your home. By protecting these 5 important spots, you’ll give your entire property much more safety.