Living behind bars is something that few people want to do. The fact is that someone who really wants to get into your home can do it. However, the majority of thieves are going to look for “easy” targets, places that have valuable items and require little work or risk. If someone wants to take a lot of risk, they will probably be looking to break into a bank, not your home. Therefore, there are several options to making your home more safe and allowing you to sleep in peace.
1) Bars on the windows. No one likes them, but they do provide a high level of security. It makes it very difficult to get in. There are also removable bars available which if removed, trigger an alarm. Unfortunately, they still look like bars, but they don’t prevent someone from getting out in case of an emergency.
2) Properly placed plants. If bars on the windows are too much for you, spiky plants placed under windows can be a great deterrent. It might not stop someone prepared for it, but for someone looking for a quick and easy entry, it would make someone think twice.
3) Alarms. Many types of alarms exist along with different levels of sensitivity. Everyone hates when an alarm continues to go off for no reason, but not only will it usually scare off burglars, but it will wake you and your neighbors up. The importance is to have it adjusted to the level you want and mainly have it for windows and doors. Motion sensors are great, but it’s true that random animals will set them off all of the time.
4) Cameras. Cameras may not stop someone breaking in, but they can catch them afterwards and is a big deterrent.
5) Signs. Even just the signs that state you have cameras or alarms can be deterrents. Does someone really want to test and see if they are true? Just the possibility that you have alarms or cameras can make someone move on to another location. Guard dog signs can even make someone think twice.
6) Lights. Making your property well lit outside can deter thieves. In addition, leaving lights on inside so that thieves think someone is awake can be a good idea too, especially if you aren’t going to be home. Basic timers can be found in hardware stores so that you can set lights to come on at certain hours. Motion sensors on exterior lights are great and not as annoying as an alarm going off.
7) Stop posting your vacations on Facebook. It’s important to let a few close people know so they can keep an eye on your house, but as great as it is to post when you are leaving and returning, thieves LOVE this even more. “Leaving for New York for a week” means they know they have a week to get in and get out.
8) Leave someone in charge of your home, to house sit or at minimum check in on your home and pick up the mail or notices left in your gate.
9) Make sure all workers (gardeners, maids, etc) are fully trustworthy. Anyone with a key to your home can be an asset or a direct ticket into your home for a thief.
10) Lock your doors and windows. This sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many thieves enter through open doors or windows.
11) Be aware and report strange vehicles slowly patrolling your neighborhood or people looking suspicious. Police may not be able to do anything if they can’t catch the burglars in the act, but being reported may make them move on and provides a suspect as well if anything happens later.
12) Have a secure room where you can lock away your valuables if you are going to be gone. Also, don’t leave expensive items out in general areas of your home. Laptops left in the living room or right inside a window are easy targets as thieves can “grab and go” often without fully entering the house.
13) Backup computers. It stinks to get a computer stolen but usually it’s the information and work that is much more valuable than the physical computer itself.
14) Keep lists of identifying features of valuable items or even photos so they can be identified in case the items are located and also for insurance purposes.
There are many more, but these are some of the things that we all know, but should be reminded of once in a while. No one should live paranoid but making basic precautions can help keep you from being a target. Please feel free to add additional tips as comments!