My parents tell me that the day they took me home from the hospital the house was broken into. From outside, they could tell someone was inside, and as my dad went in, the guy left out the back door. Maybe he saw the gun safe and knew my dad wasn’t unprotected, or maybe he just decided confrontation wasn’t worth it. They got lucky – he only got away with a few items from my dad’s desk.
Despite being a couple years old, the statistics on the website for the FBI are interesting:
- 2.1 million burglaries in 2010, down 2% from 2009
- 60.5% involved forced entry, 33% were non-forced
- Average loss to the victim was $2,119
Maybe it’s because of a down economy, or maybe it’s just because people do dumb stuff, but it’s clear that burglaries, which account for over 1/5 of property crimes, are still problems for homeowners. What can you do about it? Here’s how you can make it less likely that someone will walk away with your stuff:
Don’t give them Obvious Reasons to Case your Home
Think about how obvious it is to someone outside what’s in your home. When you get new, expensive items, what do you do with the boxes they came in? Do they stay on the curb until the recycling gets picked up? How long are you advertizing to the neighborhood?
Take a walk around your home, and open the blinds to get a good view inside. Especially at night, it’s a good idea to see what folks can see from the street. If all of your electronics are visible to everyone, consider moving them around to prevent that. Also, take note of the things you leave outside. If any of them would be attractive to a thief, pull them inside.
Try some Landscaping
Where could a would-be thief hide on your property until the right time for an entry? If you enjoy some large bushes next to your home, your landscaping might be providing the perfect place for someone to lay low until they knew no one was home. Incidentally, that’s a pretty good reason not to leave a key under the mat.
Keep your hedges and any small trees against your home trimmed and tidy. You don’t need to take them away completely, but make it harder for someone to hide behind them. You don’t want to get paranoid and check them constantly, so taking away the hiding place is a great idea.
Put your valuable valuables away
Should someone get into your home, make it much harder to take your things. They’ll usually go for the easy things, like jewelry and small electronics. So it’s a good idea to keep things tidy and locked away, if possible. Invest in a wall or gun safe to keep jewelry and firearms secure (and unavailable to intruders to use against you). Anything you can’t put away, just try to make it harder for someone to take. The larger the effort, the less likely it’ll get stolen.