10 steps to safeguard your home from burglary

Few events create a feeling as violating as having your home broken into. Even if the financial damages are quickly recouped with insurance, it’s much harder to restore the comfort and security you deserve to have in your home.

Although no house can be made completely burglar-proof, implementing the right security features can discourage would-be thieves from even trying to get in.

Of course, every family and home is different, so you should consult with a security expert to decide which security features best suit your specific needs. The following ten steps are the most vital components of any strategy to keep your home and family safe:

  1. If you have an alarm system, use it. Yes, that sounds obvious, but the truth is many families frequently leave the alarm off because they’re only leaving home “for a minute,” they’re expecting staff or service workers to arrive, or they simply forget. Others leave it off because the system, while state-of-the-art, is deemed too complicated to use. The best way to make sure alarms are used is to get everyone in the family in the habit of setting it every time they leave. Better yet: keep it on and armed at all times, even when you’re home.
  2. To protect valuable personal property, such as jewelry or cash and sensitive documents, your safe should be installed or fastened to the physical structure of your home. A safe that can be easily removed offers virtually no protection.
  3. If your family is leaving home for an extended period of time or even just for the weekend, ask a trusted nearby relative or friend to keep an eye on your home. A new car parked in the driveway won’t raise suspicion if the neighbors simply think you have a guest. If they know you aren’t home, they’ll see a red flag. Also try to avoid posting photos or comments on social media sites that indicate you are away on vacation.
  4. Ensure your home’s exterior doesn’t provide easy entry to would-be thieves. Installing (and turning on) sufficient lighting around the perimeter of the grounds as well exterior doors is a strong deterrent to break-ins. Attempting to blend in with as many physical aspects unique to your neighborhood and nearby homes will help elevate your level of protection as well. Speak with your community or homeowners association about where to place alarm signage, how to handle gated access requirements, community lighting, etc.
  5. Consult with a specialist to make sure your landscaping hasn’t created a hiding spot for potential intruders. Hedges and bushes that block the view of doorways—or large trees with branches that are close to upper-story windows, decks or balconies—look lovely but can expose you to risk.
  6. Make sure ladders, outdoor furniture or other items that could be used to gain entry to the home aren’t accessible from the yard or any outbuildings, such as an unsecured shed or pool house.
  7. Keep copies of important documents you might need at a second, secure location. This includes not only personal documents such as birth certificates, business papers, etc., but appraisals and photos of your valuables.
  8. If you have a home alarm system, use one set of access codes for family members and another for staff. That allows you to monitor who’s coming into the home and when. It’s also more convenient if you need to change the code when there are staff changes.
  9. Consider additional layers of monitoring for your alarm system. Put sensors in additional areas of the interior―the door to your home office, the master bedroom, etc.―or use motion detectors at entry points to increase your security and sense of control.
  10. Make sure your home is fully insured. In the event that your home is burglarized despite your best efforts, this will alleviate added frustrations and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Last updated: Friday, April 28, 2017

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