“My home is my safe space. It’s a place where my family can retreat and not worry about anyone bothering us.
Or so you thought.
Did you know that 10.4 million homes were burglarized in 2014? Any one of those homes could have easily been yours or mine. So what are you going to do about it? Are you prepared?
There are various things you can do to protect your home against intruders. However, you should plan for every scenario because if you have an instance where an intruder wants into your home whether you are there or not they will find a way inside. If you want some common sense tips on how you can make your home less attractive to a burglar then you’re in the right place.
First things first, you need to walk around your home as if you were a burglar and find its weaknesses. As you walk around your home make note of the things that need attention. This will help you to make your home safe and less attractive to a burglar.
Doors, Windows & Locks
Are your doors solid? You should have a front and back door that are heavy and solid. with deadbolts installed. You need to make sure your deadbolt has a hole deep enough for the bolt to fully engage. That’s what “dead” means. Once engaged it cannot be pushed back say with a blade or credit card. There are options available to make it more difficult to gain entry. For example, this stainless steel strike box like the one in this article I ran across while doing my research on this very topic.
Are your windows and screens secured properly? If you do not have screens in your windows do you have locks that work? Did you know you can get aftermarket locks for windows?
Do you have blinds in your windows are curtains installed? Are any of your blinds broken? If so they are generally pretty affordable to replace depending on the type you have in place. If you have broken blinds then they present an opportunity for someone to peek inside. Replace them to ensure privacy.
Garage doors are a weak point as well. More often than not your garage doors will need maintenance. It makes sense if you think about it. It’s such a large door that is operated by a giant pulley system that is motorized. They have sensors that trigger the door to open if something is in the way. I cannot tell you how many times recently I have shut the door only for my cat or dead leaves to trigger the door and it to open back up. Make sure you are checking your connections on the door. Check the sensors to be sure they are attached and working properly. Without them, the doors may not shut.
Sliding glass doors are a nightmare. I have family members who have cut off broom stick handles to use as an alternate lock to keep a would-be intruder out. Sliding doors are one of my worst nightmares because they have poor locking mechanisms. There are locks you can buy or you can go with an old-fashioned broomstick.
Trees & Shrubbery
The best thing you can do if you wish to have shrubs outside of your home is to plant shrubs with thorns. With a quick search online I have found several plants called “Rose Glow”, “Pirate King” and “Red Chief”… all of them aren’t friendly for hiding within. At least consider this option to keep your home safe. If you do not wish to plant a thorny type bush then at the very least trim the ones you have back to where it’s difficult to hide within them to get a better view inside.
Trees also need to be kept trimmed. If a tree limb is strong enough and close enough to a window it can offer views inside if not another entry point into the home.
Lighting & House Numbers
Do you have outdoor lighting that is triggered by a sensor or set up on a timer? Make sure they work properly and are a good source of light for optimal home safety. You can pick up lights with LED bulbs that are plenty bright and are cost efficient. My husband and I installed lights with sensors and LED bulbs that run off of D batteries. They went up within 15 minutes. They are weather proof and the batteries have lasted over a year. In fact, we have only replaced the batteries in one unit that is pointed at where we park one of our vehicles. Lighting is key to make your home safe!
Do you have house numbers attached to your home that’s visible from the street? Make sure you have large numbers affixed to your home in the case of an emergency and first responders need to find you.
Is your street well lit? If not is there someone you can contact about getting better street lamps? Perhaps your city, county or HOA representatives could help? Reach out to them to see what you can do to make your home safe as well as your neighbors.
Outdoor Shed & Fencing
Did you know that privacy fence you thought would help to keep the neighbors from watching you sunbathe is actually just what potential intruders are looking for? It can be an easy way to gain entry to your property away from prying eyes of your neighbors. If you do have a tall privacy fence make sure it is secured properly and the gate is sturdy with a good lock on it.
Your outdoor shed is a perfect place for would-be burglars to find tools to break into your home. Inside of it, they may also find things like ladders or spare keys. The outdoor shed is a wonderful little honey hole of goodness so make sure you keep it locked as well.
Toys & Valuables
Most people don’t think about their kid’s toys lying around the yard. However, it tells would be burglars that you have children and you may have things like game systems among other electronic toys that bring fast cash and are hard to track. To keep your home safe put children’s outdoor toys put away and make sure you are securing your other valuables like bicycles and grills.
Mail & Trash Cans
Never, ever leave your trash cans by the curb when you leave for vacation. Have your neighbor’s take them back to your house for you after the trash has run. Nothing screams “COME ON IN” like your trash cans sitting on the curb for a week or more. This is just a huge invitation for would-be burglars to come on inside.
Mail is another big red flag. If you have a traditional mailbox and you are gone have your mail forwarded or held at the post office to keep your home safe. Identity thefts among many other factors are a huge reason to do this. Someone can get to know a lot about you simply by the magazines and letters you receive. Have your dear neighbor also pick up those stray newspapers the paperboy keeps tossing in your driveway. That is yet another sign you’re not home.
Now you need to head inside.
The windows with nothing blocking the view from outside need to be covered. If your blinds are broken, fix them. The high valued items you have around your home for decor should (if possible) rearranged to where it cannot be seen from outside. If you have a large safe where you keep valuables then consider bolting it down. Put your medications out of sight and put the spare key you had hiding outside away. Also, do not leave your keys to vehicles or anything else near an entrance. Shred your mail and keep checkbooks out of sight. Change your blown light bulbs and make sure all of your locks are functioning from the inside on all doors and windows.
The last thing you want is a home invasion. Follow these tips and sign-up for my newsletter to get a free Safe At Home printable checklist. Use it to walk around your home and find its weaknesses so you can protect your family from unwelcome intruders. And don’t forget to share this with your loved ones so they can do make sure their home is safe as well.
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