Burglaries cost victims about $4.5 billion per year in property losses, with the average loss per person a little over $2,000 per incident. While those number illustrate how worthwhile the cost of a quality home security system can be, there are also many free things you can do to make your property more safe:
1. Prune bushes and clear up brush
While bushes can make your windows less accessible, they can also provide cover for those who are up to no good. Keep your property well-maintained to make it harder for someone to spend time outside your windows or doors without being seen from the street.
2. Use your locks
About a third of all burglaries are categorized as “unlawful entry,” which means that no force was used to enter the home. Keep doors locked and always check all windows before you leave. This can be especially important after you have had workers in your house. One common tactic burglars use is to unlock a window while they are inside, allowing easy entry later on.
3. Keep your home looking lived in when you are gone
Choose different lights to leave on each day while you are at work or when you are out of town overnight. A radio playing in a room can add to the perception that the home is currently occupied.
Pick up flyers and phone books left on your front porch right away. If you are going to be out of town, have a neighbor do it for you. Uncollected items up front is a dead giveaway that no one is around. In fact, some potential thieves will create their own flyers to see which families pick them up quickly and which ones seem to be away a lot.
4. Get to know your neighbors
In an increasingly mobile society, fewer and fewer people get to know their neighbors. Help push back this trend by taking time to introduce yourself to yours. When neighbors get to know one another, it is easier for them to recognize unusual activities around one another’s homes. If everyone keeps an eye out for one another, families can feel more secure that their homes are safe. If you aren’t sure how to start, take advantage of the holidays. Bring a tray of cookies to break the ice.
5. Educate your family about home safety
Make sure that every member of your family knows the best ways to keep the home safe and is conscientious about putting them into action. Make sure that kids know not to open the door to uninvited strangers. If you keep an emergency house key outside the house, make sure it isn’t in an obvious spot like above the door frame or under a doormat. Make sure that teenagers don’t give out key locations or alarm codes to visiting friends.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make your home more burglar proof. By using these and other methods that are both common sense and free, you can reduce your risk of burglary and keep your family safe.