Does your home have appeal? Is your home among the most attractive on the block to a would-be burglar? Did you know home security starts at the curb?
By taking a thief’s view of your home, you can easily spot areas of potential trouble. A prowler casing your neighborhood is looking for some very specific things that will help him get in and get out fast. These include:
- Overgrown landscape
- No lighting
- Open or unlocked windows and doors
- No visible security sign or window stickers
- No outdoor surveillance cameras
- Newspapers or fliers on driveways or doors
- Visible and accessible ladders or work tools
Although no home is impervious to burglary, paying attention to these 7 areas can significantly reduce the appeal your home has in the eyes of an intruder.
Overgrown Landscape - Maintain your landscaping with home security in mind. Trim high shrubs and low hanging tree canopies that block the view of doors, walkways or windows from the street. Keep shrubs and bushes to a maximum of 3 feet high, making it harder for Joe-burglar to work your side or back windows without being seen. Large trees should be pruned with branches kept over 8 feet high and several feet away from roof tops and 2nd story balconies.
No Lighting - Dark side passageways, shadowy entry ways hidden from the street and secluded back or side yards make perfect hiding places. Outdoor lighting deters prowlers who don’t want to be seen.
Add motion or heat sensing lighting to illuminate side and back yards. Porch lights should be set on timers to go on at dusk and off at dawn. A porch light left on all day is a sign of a vacant home. Indoor lighting on timers or a lighting control system is also a good idea if you usually get home after dark or are away in the evenings.
Open Windows – Crooks are looking for the easiest ways in, and an open window is an open invitation. Be sure to close and lock all windows when you leave the house, even for a quick errand.
Remember, thieves do watch neighborhood activity and can strike in the few minutes it takes to pick up the kids from school or run to the store.
Open windows are the most frequent point of entry during the warm summer months. Secure them with a vent lock or pin that keeps windows from being opened completely, while still allowing cooler air in.
Unlocked Windows/Doors – With 30% of all burglars entering homes through unlocked doors or windows, becoming part of this statistic is completely avoidable. When it comes to your family’s safety, don’t be complacent about this one.
Lock your doors both when you’re home and when you’re away. Most burglars aren’t looking for a confrontation, and neither are you. But with 1 out of 3 residential assaults occurring as a result of burglary, keeping doors and windows locked can help cut down the risk.
No Visible Security Sign or Window Stickers – Homes without a security system are 3 times more likely to be broken into than homes with systems. Thugs want to get in and get out as quickly and quietly as possible. An alarm system with an audible sounder makes that much more difficult.
Alarm signs and window stickers make it clear to a would-be intruder that the potential of being caught is likely. If you have a system and don’t post your sign, you’re losing a big part of the deterrence factor your system offers. So be sure to put that sign out.
No Outdoor Surveillance Cameras- Though most homes don’t have surveillance cameras, they can put a real damper on criminal activity. Surveillance systems that include a video recorder (DVR) can help police identify and capture intruders. A few cameras strategically placed around your property can capture any shady activity it doesn’t deter.
Newspapers or Fliers on Driveways or Doors – In order to maintain a well lived-in look, be sure to pick up newspapers and ad fliers left on your driveway, doors or porch as soon as possible. When you’re away, arrange to have a neighbor pick these items up for you.
Visible and Accessible Ladders or Work Tools – Always keep ladders and tools behind lock and key in a garage or shed. Don’t give a burglar the advantage of a ladder to reach your second story windows or tools to pry open doors.
Don’t give in to a blasé attitude about your neighborhood.
You may have lived there for years without any trouble, or your real estate agent claims it’s perfectly safe. Just remember, times do change, and according to the FBI, the rate of home burglaries continues to rise. Even the nicest neighborhoods fall prey to burglary.
Being proactive about your home security is the best way to reduce your risk. Take precautions and do all you can to avoid becoming a victim. Making your home so unappealing to a burglar can actually improve your home’s true curb appeal.