You cannot make your home 100% “burglar-proof,” but you can make it a “hard target.” The criminal who is sizing up your home should look at your home and conclude that it’s just too difficult to attack, and move on. Think like a criminal. When and where is it the easiest to enter this home? Here are a few ideas to help you make your home a “hard target” to discourage criminals.
- Trim all bushes low so that they do not block the view from a window. That makes it harder for someone to hide next to your house. It also gives you a clearer view when looking outside. It’s also not a bad idea to plant prickly shrubs to keep people from getting too close to your house.
- Keep your garage doors closed. Don’t ever leave your house with a garage door opened. That is instant access to your house. A closed door also prevents criminals from scanning your garage for “desirable” contents. When you drive into your garage, remember that during that moment the door is open, intruders can enter. Be aware as you are driving in and getting out of your car. Close the door ASAP.
- Keep all tools (like ladders, hammers, crowbars) secure in a tool shed or garage. Criminals love to help themselves to your tools so they can break in.
- Make sure your house has plenty of lighting all around. Motion activated lights are great. Especially light up those areas that are near entrances and possible hiding places.
- Always lock your doors and windows. Have quality steel doors and steel door frames. Have a wide angle peephole in the door, or a parabolic mirror fixed outside so you can see what is at the door from a window. Use deadbolt locks. Don’t be cheap. Get grade one or grade two locks with at least a one inch throw into the strike plate. Sliding glass doors are terrible for security, but if you have one, at least get a sturdy stick or metal rod that you can place in the track so that it cannot slide back. Get keyed locks for windows.
- Do not announce your vacation on Facebook.
- Do not let newspapers or mail accumulate.
- Do not put your name and address on your keychain.
- Do not let strangers in! Beware of people who want to take surveys, or ask directions, or want to use your bathroom. Talk through a shut and locked door. If they say they are repairmen or utility workers, tell them to show their identification. Check to make sure their truck or van matches with their identification. If you have other questions, call their company. If you think they are legitimate and must let them in, make sure they only go to their work area.
- Do not leave your keys “hidden” outside your home.
- Do not place valuables where they can be easily seen from outside. This also means do not take pictures of your valuables and post them on Facebook!
- Do not enter a house if it looks like there are signs of entry. Call the police. (Have the local police and fire departments on your speed dial.)
- Keep your house number clearly visible from the street so the police and fire department can see it. Put only your initials and house number on your mailbox.
- Install a security alarm system and security cameras if you can afford it.
- Get a dog. Seriously. Great companionship and a dog’s bark is your “trip wire.” Get one that barks a lot. Loudly. Uncontrollably (almost). If you can’t get a dog, get a big dog dish with the names “Attila” or “Grizzly” on it, and put it in the yard with some torn up dog toys. Make sure people can see it.
This is not an exhaustive list of tips, but it is a good start. Now, start making your home a “hard target!”