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Burglaries can happen at any time. While you may already lock your doors and windows while you’re away from home, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail while you’re on vacation, keep these tips in mind to help protect yourself, your family and home year round.
Upgrade Your Locks
When choosing locks for your exterior doors, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) says there are three things you should consider: strength, durability and key control. You’ll want a lock that can withstand tampering (such as drilling or pounding), and should look for models labeled with a durability rating of Grade 2 or better and ensure the deadbolt extends at least one inch. Consider using keys that will help prevent others from making copies if they get lost — the NCPC recommends using high-security keys that are protected against unauthorized duplication. While upgrading your locks may provide an additional layer of security, keep in mind that the best locks may not last forever. The NCPC says a Grade 2 lock that is used 10 times per day may last for only five years.
Don’t Advertise High-End Purchases
Even if you don’t share photos of your new TV or laptop on your social media accounts, you may be inadvertently sharing that same information with potential thieves when you take out the trash. BobVila.com points out that labeled boxes from electronics and other high-end goods left on the curb for garbage pickup may alert thieves to what you have inside your home. Instead, consider breaking down boxes so they fit completely inside your garbage or recycling can. BobVila.com adds that you should also avoid leaving expensive outdoor items, such as a high-end grill or bicycle, out in the open.
Move or Hide Valuables While Away from Home
From jewelry to smart speakers, many homes have items that can appeal to burglars and are easy to swipe. HomeAdvisor suggests transferring your valuables to a lockbox or safe while you’re away. If you cannot move valuable items, such as a large TV, you may want to check that they are not clearly visible through a door or window. If they are, consider rearranging furniture to help block visibility, says the Insurance Information Institute. Writing down the make, model and serial number for each of your electronic devices can make it easy to identify valuables in the event of theft, adds SafeHome.org. Creating a home inventory may also help in the event that you need to file an insurance claim.
Keep Your Home Well Lit and Trim Overgrown Shrubs
SafeHome.org states that burglars often target homes that lack outdoor lighting or have overgrown landscaping that offers easy hiding spots. Ensure your home is well lit by turning on outdoor lights at night, and trim bushes and trees to eliminate any potential hiding spots. Consider installing motion-sensor lights near entry points or dark areas around the outside your home to help deter burglars, adds HomeAdvisor. You can also install and set timers for both indoor and outdoor lights to keep your home well lit while you’re away — this can help create the appearance that you’re home even when you’re not.
Shake Up Your Schedule
A consistent routine could help burglars pinpoint the best time to target your home. If you spend most of your days on the same schedule, consider changing up your routine when possible. Consider leaving and returning home at different times to make it harder for a burglar to nail down your schedule.
Remember that a burglary can happen at any time. By taking some extra precautions and learning how to keep your residence secure, you can help safeguard your belongings and deter burglars from targeting your home.
Organize a Neighborhood Watch
Another way to help discourage crime is by being observant in your neighborhood and encouraging your neighbors to do the same. Areas in which residents report suspicious activity to the authorities typically have lower crime rates, according to the National Neighborhood Watch program. If your neighborhood doesn’t have an official watch program, your local police department may be able to provide information and training to help residents be more aware.