A break-in is one of the worst things that can happen for a homeowner. It is damaging to property as well as your mental state. Though any home can be a target, there are things that can be done to minimize your risk of being robbed. Here is a list, based on advice from insurance companies and officers who deal with break-ins, of ways to help keep your home from becoming a statistic.
Scope out Your Home
The place to begin, is to look at your home the way a thief would. This is especially important if there have been recent break-ins in your neighborhood. What, when, and where are they stealing? Are they breaking into homes, outbuildings, or cars? First address these issues, but be certain to look at all of your home's vulnerabilities. Is it secluded or close to neighbors? Can someone come in with a car unnoticed or would they need to enter on foot? Make notes on your weaknesses, and consider countermeasures. Pay attention to places people might be able to hide like in tall shrubs near windows or in blind spots between your neighbor’s houses.
Consider a Dog
Though many get a gun to prevent robberies, most break-ins happen when people are not home. A gun is useless in these situations. Instead, consider a dog. They are the number one deterrent for home invasions, even more so than an alarm, and they can't be used against you. Dogs call attention to anyone coming into your area, so it can also give you a heads-up that someone is scoping out your neighborhood.
A locked gate is a good way to keep large things from being stolen from your home. If a thief can't park in a place where things can be quietly removed, they have to limit what they take. This may reduce the bang for the buck enough that they'll choose an easier target. The other benefit of this is that they can't tell without coming in whether you are home, reducing the risk of your home being chosen at random. Choose a gate that is also alarmed and secured so even if a thief does choose you, they can be quickly repelled by the noise it makes.
Get an Alarm
This is one of the most popular ways to protect a home. Some alarms are motion-sensing, others will sense the doors and windows are in place, while others still allow owners to see and film their home with remote cameras. This can help prevent teens who have forgotten keys from triggering a police call, because mom and dad can verify from their smartphone it isn’t a burglar. Alarms can be self-monitored or company-monitored, based on your budget. NorthStar Alarm Company reviews also point out the growing technology and market for mobile apps and helps for securing a system. Alarm companies come with real-time connections to the cops and the help of a professional company and allow you to remotely monitor your place.
If you can't afford an alarm company or system, the next best thing is an attention getter. These things are good for any home, regardless of what other protection layers you have. They include floodlights that are motion-sensing, and noisemakers or flashing lights when a door or window is opened. Some of these things can be armed when you go on vacation, and can give your neighbors a heads-up your home is at risk. This is also a good strategy if you have a vacation home that gets used rarely, but is near helpful neighbors.
The feeling of a home invasion is one of the most heart wrenching violations any family can have. It affects more than just your belongings. It is a breach of your peace of mind, and your feeling of safety in your own home. Avoid becoming a victim of a crime by using these tips to secure your place. By taking concrete steps to make your house a more difficult target, you can go a long way in keeping random burglars from deciding your place is an easy score. Though you won't stop them from robbing at all, you might keep from being their next victim.
"Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan."