Everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable in their own home. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your family is protected and secure is invaluable. In 2018, there were over 159,000 burglaries and break-and-enter crimes reported to the police across Canada.
Although that represents a small percentage of the population, the risk is real. To help mitigate that risk and keep your home protected from intruders, burglars, and other criminals, a home security system is a great place to start.
Here are eight tips for protecting your home from burglary and keeping your family safe and secure:
1. Eliminate exterior weaknesses
Take a walk around the exterior of your home and try to spot any weaknesses or enticing objects that could catch a burglar’s eye. If you notice one of your windows could easily be pried open or an expensive object is very visible through your living room window, a thief will likely notice too.
This could make your home a target. Take the time to ensure your windows are secure and make sure all windows have curtains that can be closed when you are not home. These small changes can make a big difference in protecting your home from burglary.
2. Keep your neighbours close
Your neighbours can be invaluable when it comes to protecting your home. Close communities tend to have lower break-in rates as neighbours will look after one another’s homes and alert the authorities if they spot anyone suspicious lurking around your property.
Get to know your neighbours — perhaps even start a neighbourhood watch program that involves residents taking shifts walking through the neighbourhood. Your local police department can help you start the group and get you stickers for your home and car windows to show you are part of the watch community.
This can be a huge deterrent for burglars, as they know someone is looking out for your home, and they will likely be caught if they attempt to break-in. If the risk is not worth the reward, they will likely move on to an easier target.
3. Keep your yard tidy
This may not sound like a home protection tip, but a messy yard is attractive to thieves and shows them that you may have equally enticing objects inside your home as you do outside.
Bring the toys, bikes, BBQ, or any gardening equipment inside, or put them in the garage when you’re finished using them.
It’s also a good idea to bring your car into the garage when you get home, keep your walkways clear, and hedges trimmed. When a burglar is attempting a break-in, unkept shrubbery or a car in the driveway can be a perfect hiding spot as they approach your home.
4. Locks and lights
Keeping all of your home’s exterior features inaccessible can help ensure that a thief never has the opportunity to reach the interior of your home. If you have any fences on your property, make sure the gates are always securely locked.
A padlock for each point of entry can be a great investment for an added layer of security. Keep your garage door locked at all times as well, and make sure it is not left open unless you are outside and able to keep an eye on it.
Motion-sensor lighting can be a great security option for all entry points of your home. This will scare most burglars away before they even have a chance to enter your home. Well-lit properties are generally not targets for burglaries and break-ins, as there is nowhere for thieves to hide.
5. Secure your doors and windows
This may seem obvious, but many people do not close and lock all their windows and doors at night or before they leave their home. Some homes don’t even have locks on their windows!
An open window is practically an invitation for a burglar to enter your home. Secure door and window locks can deter some would be intruders, and are an inexpensive way to increase your home’s security.
If you are a renter, talk to your landlord about installing secure locks if they do not already have them. Do not keep a spare key outside, and do not label any of your extra keys in case they are lost. This can make it easy for a thief to just walk right into your home.
6. Secure valuables in a lockbox or safe
In the event that a thief or burglar does break into your home, it’s important to keep your most valuable possessions safely hidden and locked away in a safe or lockbox.
Cash, jewelry, and passports are easy targets for burglars looking to carry as much as they can and flee on foot. These possessions should be kept secure at all times. That way, even if someone does break in, they won’t have access to your most important and valuable possessions. If you are using a smaller safe make sure you don’t leave it in obvious hiding spots like your master bedroom closet or under the master bedroom bed. The master bedroom is one of the first rooms a burglar goes to. It would be a good idea to consider getting either a heavy safe that is hard to move and/or can be bolted down or a safe that can be hidden inside a wall behind a picture frame.
7. Install a home security system
A home security system — including alarms, access control, and even video cameras — can be a significant deterrent for those attempting to break and enter. Access control features such as coded entry and Smart Locks can help ensure that no one can gain entry into your home without being approved by you.
Should someone attempt to break-in to your home, the alarm will sound, and the security company will alert the authorities, ensuring a swift response in the event of an emergency. For even more peace of mind, you can install security cameras near access points and at vulnerable areas of your property.
These video feeds can be monitored from your mobile phone, giving you constant access to the camera footage. Not only will this help you identify suspicious individuals around your home, but it can be used as evidence if a crime does take place.
8. Plan for vacations
When your family leaves on vacation, your house is at its most vulnerable. In fact, crime rates increase over the holidays — specifically around Christmas and throughout the summer months when families typically go on vacation.
If you and your family are planning a getaway, be sure to consider your home security measures in your absence. Consider having a friend or neighbour pop by your home to collect your mail.
If possible, it’s recommended to leave a car in the driveway and automatic lights to give the appearance that someone is home. Finally, be sure to wait to post about your trip on social media until after you’ve returned home so that you won’t be advertising your absence to the entire internet.
For more information on how to protect your home from intruders, call the Canadian Security Professionals at 1-877-494-9911 or contact us here.