According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, nearly 3.5 million burglaries occurred in 2011. In that same year, among households where cash was stolen, the average loss of cash totaled $2,120. Statista reports that in 2012, the total recovery rate of stolen property equaled 20.5 percent. This statistic makes it clear that your chances of recovering your stolen property are slim. For this reason, securing your home is essential. Here are some security measures that are frequently overlooked.
1. Make sure all exterior wiring is concealed.
Most homes have an exterior box that houses the phone jacks that connect the home to their telephone company. If this box is not secure, there is no need for the burglar to enter a home and pull the wires out of the walls or take phones off the hook. Unless the homeowner locates the box and places a padlock on it, a burglar could walk up to the box, open it and simply unplug your phone line! Although the majority of people have a cell phone, most emergency systems are designed to recognize your home phone number. By recognizing your home phone number, the emergency personnel can obtain your address. Thus, getting help to you faster. This is not the case with your cell phone.
2. On all exterior doors, use interior door hinges or hinges with non-removable hinge pins.
Interior door hinges on your exterior doors keep the perpetrator from being able to pop off the pins and just open the door. While most exterior doors are designed to have the hinges inside, this is not always the case. If you stand outside and close an exterior door, are the hinges visible? If so, make sure that the hinges are the kind with a non-removable pin.
3. Protect the windows in your home.
The windows in your home may be one of the weakest parts of your home’s defense. You can protect the windows in your home with locks, burglar-resistant glass and windows constructed of many small panes instead of just one large pane of glass.
4. Change or re-key the locks on your new residence.
Always change or re-key the locks when you move into a new residence. If you live in an apartment, get permission from the property owner before making these changes. Chances are, if you offer the property owner a key, he/she probably will not have a problem with you making these changes.
5. Plant bushes that have prickly leaves or thorns beneath windows and along fence lines.
A burglar will think twice before climbing in a window protected by these types of plants. This rings true for the fence as well. A burglar can find a home that is much less troublesome than yours is.
6. Do not leave a note on an exterior door.
If you have a child that relies on you to be there when he/she arrives home from school, you may feel the need to leave a note on the door telling your child to go to a neighbor’s house. Instead, consider placing a ‘signal’ of sorts in one of your windows. For example, choose a specific toy that you will place on the windowsill to inform your child you are not there. Inform your child that this information is not to be shared with anyone outside the home.
7. Do not leave your name and phone number (or whereabouts) on your answering machine.
When preparing outgoing messages, simply ask the caller to leave you a message. If you put your name and phone number on your answering machine, the caller has the information necessary to find out where you live.
8. Keep your trees trimmed.
Trimmed trees keep burglars from using them to hoist themselves onto your roof and enter a second story window.
9. Lock your fence gates.
If you have a fence that has gates, make sure they are installed securely and keep them locked. The most common entry points for burglars are the sides and backs of homes.
10. Install secure locks on double or Dutch doors.
If you have double or Dutch doors on your home, be sure to visit a locksmith. These doors may require a specific kind of lock to make them secure.