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Home Security Checklist — 10 Simple Steps to Securing Your House

Burglar breaking in

Home burglaries happen every 15 seconds in the United States. Burglars often target homes that look easy to break into. Follow these 10 simple steps and you can improve the chances that your home will look vulnerable to a burglar.

1. Make your home look occupied

It might surprise you, but most home burglaries happen during the daytime. You might want to consider setting a timer to turn on your TV or a radio at a certain point during the day. If you pay for a gardening service or house­keeping service, have them work during the afternoon. It would also be a good idea, if you have one, to keep your secondary car in your driveway while you are at work or out running errands.

2. Get a dog

Even the smallest dog will work, as long as it has a loud annoying bark. The one thing a burglar does not want is to be noticed, and a small yappy dog does the job just as well as a large dog. Not everyone can own a dog though, but you could always fake it. Hang a couple Beware of scary dog’ signs, set a food bowl outside and hang a leash by the back door. Sometimes even the idea of having to deal with an animal will be enough to deter a potential thief.

3. Secure the entrances to your home

The front and back doors, first floor windows, and the garage door are the weakest spots in any home. They are also the most common entry points for a burglar. Reinforcing the front and back doors can be as easy as replacing the strike plate and adding a deadbolt. Sliding windows can be secured with a wooden dowel or metal rod in the track, and a simple padlock on the inside can keep people from getting in through the garage door. You could also consider placing webcams or even fake security cameras near them as a possible deterrent. For added security, consider high security locks, installed by a profes­sional locksmith.

4. Attempt to burglarize your own home

Seriously, try to break into your own house. If you can manage to break into your house, just think of how easy it would be for a profes­sional. Take notes of all the weaknesses and consult with a security specialist if you feel the need to. Some security companies provide free on-site estimates.

5. Hide your valuables

Most thieves will spend as little time as possible in your home, as little as eight minutes in some case. So make sure it takes longer than eight minutes to find your valuable items. Do not trust the usuals like drawers, closets or the freezer. Try to think of more inventive ways of hiding your stuff, or even pull a Scarlet Letter and hide them in plain sight. 

6. Change your locks

If you lose your keys, no matter where they are found, change the locks. Yes, it sounds like a hassle, but it is the safest thing to do. If they got lost in public, you can never be sure that someone didn’t make a copy while they were out of your possession.

7. Do not list your full name

Anonymity is the best course of action sometimes. Do not list your full name on your mailbox, or even in the phone book. Use only your first initial and last name.

8. Put your lights on timers

You might think that leaving a lamp or two on all day, or night, while you are gone is good enough. Most profes­sional burglars generally case their target first, so they will pick up on that trick fairly quickly. Set the timers to random, so that there is no set pattern and actually appears as if someone is home. Add motion lights in the front and back of your home.

9. Do not open the door!

Burglars will dress as door-to-door salesmen in an attempt to case your home. They will even introduce themselves as a security company and invite themselves in to give you a quote on their services. Talk through the door if you can, look out a window and ask for identi­fi­caiton before letting anyone into your home. 

10. Consider a home security system

Oh the benefits! Peace of mind that someone is watching over your home 24/7 will help ease anyone to sleep. Most insurance companies will give a discount for clients with a home security system installed. 

Also, be a good neighbor! If you see something suspi­cious, report it. Most HOAs have social media networks that you can post suspi­cious activity.