April 01, 2010, By Jeff Waddle
Watch the news in any city and it’s impossible to deny that bad guys are out there breaking into houses. Day and night, burglars are stealing people’s hard-earned stuff and most of it will never been seen again.
You can’t stop crime but there are things you can do to help prevent being a victim. Follow these tips for making your home a lot less attractive to burglars.
Let there be light… lots of light. Thieves hate light at night, so give them a healthy dose of it. Motion-activated lights placed in strategic spots discourage bad guys, and using electric timers to turn on lights while you’re gone suggests that somebody’s home. Even a porch light that illuminates the most vulnerable break-in spots is helpful.
Eliminate their hiding places. Just like bugs in the dark, thieves love nooks and crannies where they can hide. Keep your shrubs and bushes trimmed in places where they may cover a window or door.
Be alarmed, and advertise it. Alarm systems are a highly effective deterrent because thieves usually take the path of least resistance. Make sure your alarm company gives you signs and window stickers to advertise you’re protected. Even if you don’t have an alarm system, get some signs and stickers that suggest you do—it can’t hurt.
Make the house secure. Here’s a simple fact: the stronger the door and its locks, the safer your house. Avoid flimsy, hollow veneer doors that beg to be kicked in and use 1-inch deadbolt locks for added security. Sliding glass doors are easy targets, so put a stick in the track to make it impossible to slide open from the outside. Sadly, lots of burglaries occur when thieves walk right in through unlocked doors, so make sure you use the locks.
Ask for help. Ask neighbors to keep your front steps or driveway clean of newspaper and flyers so you’re not telling the world you’ve gone out of town. If you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of days, tell your newspaper to stop delivery and do the same at the Post Office—thieves love to steal mail, too, especially credit card statements and other stuff they can use to steal your identity.
Keep it safe. Purchase a home safe for important documents and other valuables and place it in a spot that’s not easily found. Make sure the safe is fireproof.
Consider a canine. Burglars hate dogs because they make noise that attracts attention. If they approach a house and hear a husky bark, many thieves simply move on.
Document just in case. If, despite your best efforts, you do get burglarized, you’ll be glad you prepared yourself for an insurance claim. Use a video recording of the contents of your home and describe what it is you’re taping. Also, make copies of receipts of big-ticket items and appraisals of expensive jewelry and other collectibles. Keep the tape and copies in a safe deposit box or a family member’s house. This extra step also comes in handy if you have a house fire.
Jeff Waddle is a featured contributor to ManoftheHouse.com
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