Securing Your Home Against Burglary

May 4, 2021

Burglars won’t find your home an easy target if it’s well-lit and features security measures that slow them down. Protect yourself and your belongings – and save on insurance premiums – by employing commonsense safety precautions.

Devices that make a home safer – such as dead-bolt locks, window grates and bars, smoke, fire or burglar alarm systems, and some security camera systems – make sense for your homeowners’ insurance bottom line, too. Most insurance companies provide discounts for qualifying security devices.

Thinking through security is worth it – the longer it takes a burglar to break into your home, the less likely they are to do so. Take the time to “case” your residence, just as a burglar would and consider these steps to make it more crime-resistant, especially at points of easiest entry.

  • Install simple security devices. Padlocks, door and window locks, grates, bars and bolts can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home. 
  • Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones also ring at an outside service.
  • Invest in security cameras. Cover key entry points and mount out of easy reach to deter tampering.
  • Trade a bit of privacy for added security. Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows and think carefully before installing a high fence around your backyard.
  • Shine a light. Exterior lights and motion detectors, mounted out of easy reach, can reduce the darkness shielding a would-be burglar.
  • Keep valuables out of easy sight. If your valuable paintings, silver collection or home entertainment system are easy to see from outside the house, consider rearranging your furnishings to make your home less inviting to criminals. 

Strengthen the barriers at your home’s entry points. However, whatever security features you do install, make sure that you are able to easily escape in case of an emergency, such as a fire. 

  • Doors – Doors should be a strong metal or solid hardwood that is at least one-and-three-quarters-inches thick. Doorframes must be equally as strong as the door itself. Each door must fit its frame securely. Even the most efficient lock, if it is placed in a weak door, will not keep out a determined burglar
  • Locks  Deadbolt locks are best. They usually are locked with a key from the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. The cylinder (where the key is inserted) should be pick-resistant. 
  • Windows  Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by “pinning” the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside. For windows at street level or on fire escapes, consider installing metal accordion gates.

Critique your behavior for security purposes. Even with all of the gadgets, security systems, and heavy doors – it won’t matter if you don’t remember to lock or turn them on or give out too much personal information.

  • Establish a routine to make certain that doors and windows are locked, and alarm systems are turned on.
  • Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your personal plans online or in public notices (such as giving your address when advertising items for sale).
  • Don’t hide your keys in “secret” places outside your home – burglars know where to look.

To prevent burglars and vandals when you’re away for vacation or business, it’s critical to make your home looked occupied and have friends and neighbors look out for suspicious activity. 

  • Leave blinds open in their usual position.
  • Notify dependable neighbors when you plan to be away; Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick-up “throw-away” newspapers and circulars.
  • Have mail and packages picked up by neighbors; alternately, have them forwarded or held by the post office.