Let’s kick things off with some good news:
In recent years the U.S. has seen the rates of burglary fall consistently.
2013 was better than 2012.
Not today, buddy.
2014 was better than 2013.
And so it goes.
Before you tell the family, they can ease off on home security – absorb the fact that, according to FBI data, there were still 1,515,096 burglaries in 2016.
That’s not a small number.
Before we continue, maybe you should get up and double check that your doors and windows are locked.
Don’t worry – we’ll wait.
So, as we were saying, the burglary trend is heading in the right direction. However, this is largely due to people being more aware of home security, as well as exciting innovations to help you fortify your home and keep the bad guys out.
In this article, we’re going to show you how you can fortify your house without breaking the bank (or moving into a fortress).
Are you ready to secure your family, possessions and your home?
Let’s start at the perimeter and work our way in. Just like a burglar would!
Looks safe? That's the problem.
#1 – The Sun Is Not Your Friend
Thankfully, most burglars do not want a face-to-face encounter with homeowners. They want to get in and get out with your shiny new laptop without any confrontation.
Most people assume that this aversion to being seen must mean that burglaries mostly take place in the darkness of night.
We’re here to tell you that most people are WRONG.
The opposite is true:
Most burglaries actually take place between 6 am and 6 pm and in the summer months when there is maximum daylight.
Not convinced? Here’s the FBI data from 2016 that shows almost twice as many burglaries during the day as the night. It may seem counter-intuitive at first but think about it – are you more likely to be at home during the day or the night? And how about summer? Not a lot of family day trips in the middle of winter, are there?
The bad guys know this. They take advantage of people being away and the fact that most people feel more secure during the day, so they relax and take shortcuts when it comes to security.
At night everyone makes sure the house is locked up but during the day, hey, wouldn’t it be nice to let some fresh air in?
The answer: no, it would not be nice.
#2 – Keep your walls low and your greenery trim
We’re writing this to help you fortify your home. When you think of “fortify” you probably imagine fortifications – a fortress.
High fortress walls were great against the raging armies of history, but are more often a burglar’s delight when it comes to a modern home.
It’s quite simple if you think about it:
A burglar in your garden has to worry about being seen from the house as well as from neighbors and anyone passing by.
A robber who scales a high wall only has to worry about being seen from the house because the wall you built to protect your home is now preventing the intruder from being seen.
If you live here, you can ignore the rest of the article.
And it’s not just walls that are a problem; a thick covering of trees and bushes for privacy, planted so you can mow the lawn in your underwear, could make your home a more enticing prospect for the bad guys. Observing your property from the sidewalk is a great way to identify potential hiding areas.
So definitely consider a lower wall and go easy on the trees.
#3 – Give burglars a bad sign
Some highly-skilled burglars know how to circumvent alarm systems, but most will run the other way if they think the home is protected by an alarm and a professional security company. So, the trick is to share this information with them via a clear security sign.
A bold sign will convey: “Sorry, guys, we’ve got a security company looking out for us. Better move along.”
And don’t worry about the bad guys going after your neighbor instead (assuming you actually like your neighbors…) because studies have shown that homes next to a house with an alarm are also less likely to be invaded.
You’ve been warned.
#4 – Beams and lights
Outdoor security beams are passive devices that emit a laser beam. When the beam is broken, the alarm goes off, and you can rest assured that a criminal is not going to break into a home that already has an alarm sounding.
There are many different types of outdoor alarm systems, and it’s well worth investigating to find the best solution for your specific needs.
Just be aware that you get a system that isn’t too sensitive. If it goes off every time the neighbor’s cat pays a visit, then not only are you going to be everyone’s least favorite neighbour, but you will also become desensitized to the alarm going off.
Pretty much exactly how people think of car alarms.
A similar solution is that of security lights, which turn on when motion triggers them. The last thing a burglar wants is to suddenly feel like he’s a star in his very own spotlight.
#5 – Reinforce your exterior doors
If the bad guy has made it to your house, all that’s standing in his way is your door.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way – please keep your doors locked at all times.
But considering that only 6% of entries are via unlocked storage areas and entrances, locking doors is no guarantee.
In fact, as you can see below, the #1 entry point is actually your front door.
Most doors are not particularly solid – a stiff kick aimed at the lock, which is the weakest point of the door, is often enough to gain entry.
Here are a few ways to make your doors a miserable experience for burglars trying to get in:
Try and avoid glass doors and make sure wooden doors are solid wood.
Install a deadbolt instead of a standard door lock. The longer bolt will provide more strength, although still may not resist a determined burglar.
If you want to make sure the bad guys stay on the outside – install Door Armor on each of your exterior doors. It takes half an hour to install for a lifetime of security. Not even a police-issue battering ram will get through.
To secure slide doors, a dowel rod can be placed in the track or, for a more professional solution, Armor Latch Sliding Door Deadbolt will do the trick and more.
The Door Armor system
#6 – Secure your first-floor windows
Bad guys love windows. It’s why 23% of all break-ins happen through a first-floor window.
As with doors, always keep them locked when away or at night. Yes, even second-floor windows! It’s unlikely a thief will go to that length but you never know – there are a lot of Spiderman fans out there.
Here are some other things you can do to secure your home’s windows:
Earlier we warned against too much greenery in your garden, but a thick and thorny tree right in front of a window is not something most thieves are willing to deal with.
Double glaze isn’t just great on donuts; it makes your windows much harder to break.
Security film can also make your window more secure. It adds a tint to the window, so the bad guys can’t see in, and when they try and break it, they’ll quickly find that they have to get through the film before they can get to the broken glass behind it. Not impossible, but it’s going to slow them down considerably.
Solar screens attached to the frame of your windows will save you money on your air conditioning bill, plus it will prevent thieves from scoping out your home.
A sturdy frame and long screws will help prevent burglars taking advantage of weak framed windows.
Use a secondary lock device on your window to prevent it from opening beyond a certain height.
Don’t forget to secure air conditioning unit windows, skylights and basement windows.
Vibration and glass breaking sensors can be installed to crucially trigger your alarm before the bad guy gets inside.
A more extreme solution would be external burglar bars on your windows. They don’t look great, but no burglar is going to give a second thought to messing with them. Make sure you get bars that have a quick-release trigger that can be accessed from inside the home. This feature will make sure you can get out in case you need to evacuate the premises in an emergency.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Congratulations – your home is now on lockdown
There you have it – six tips to keep the bad guys away. If you have to focus on just one or two areas, make sure it’s your home’s front and back doors (with a tool like Door Armor) and your first-floor windows. Securing them will cut out 83% of burglaries.