Burglary can be a costly—and quick—crime. In 2016, the FBI reported that burglaries average about $2300 in losses for victims, and often happen in under 10 minutes. We also know that two-thirds of burglaries happen in residential properties.
However, by acting preemptively and using a few strategies to prevent your home from getting the wrong kind of attention, you can greatly reduce the likelihood that you’ll be one of the millions of Americans targeted by burglars this year.
Get a home security system and porch lights
It’s worth noting that former burglars often mention the presence of a home security system and lighted walkways when describing why some homes make the cut and others don’t. Be loud and proud by putting up a sign for your security system near the front door. You may also want to trim any shrubs that conceal a door or bottom of a window.
Make it look like someone is home
Burglars who are interested in a quick and easy break-in will avoid homes that appear to be occupied. Leave at least one light on in your house, and keep some music, TV, or the radio playing while you’re out. If you have more than one car, it might be a good idea to keep one parked somewhere visible (instead of hidden in the garage) when it’s not in use.
Don’t advertise your goods
This means close your blinds and your curtains; don’t let people window-shop at your home! Houses are often cased before a break-in, so it’s a good idea not to let strangers in your house to begin with. And if you’ve recently purchased some expensive electronics like a big-screen TV, don’t let the packaging be visible at your curb on garbage pick-up day.
Keep a good rapport with your neighbors
They may be annoying or nosy sometimes, but your neighbors can be a great burglary prevention tool for two reasons: they can be an extra pair of eyes on your house, and they can hold that spare key so it’s not sitting under your doormat like a fresh invitation (but make sure you trust your neighbor first!).
Keep your doors and windows locked
This one may seem obvious, but the numbers speak for themselves: 30 percent of burglaries happen through an unlocked window or door. You can easily prevent yourself from becoming a part of that statistic by simply locking all of your windows and doors whenever you’re not home.