Here are 8 tips to help prevent a break-in from ever happening in your home, all of which can help provide you not only with emotional security, but also decrease the likelihood that you will have to replace items that could burn a major hole in your wallet:
1. Get an Indoor Dog
I drove down to Louisiana as soon as my dad told me about the robbery. And I brought him a great alarm system – an 85 pound Bordeaux Mastiff I’d rescued from the animal shelter just a few months before. He’ll be staying with my dad from now on.
2. Lock Your Doors and Windows
Make sure your doors and windows are always locked. And I mean all windows. Experts say 23% of break-ins occur through first-floor windows. So securing these should be a top priority. GE makes a wireless alarm kit you can purchase for $25 that will sound if a door or window is opened. This is a very inexpensive way to protect vulnerable areas in your home.
Don’t forget to secure side doors and garage doors as well.
3. Use Strategic Landscaping
Thorny rose bushes under windows will make thieves think twice before going in that way.
Also, keep your bushes and hedges trimmed to a minimum; don’t give thieves a place to hide while they scope out your place.
Gravel and loose stones can also alert you (or a dog) that someone is approaching your house.
And make sure your yard is well-lit during the night!
4. Hide Valuables
Make sure your valuables are hidden from passer-bys. Use privacy curtains (sheer curtains that let in light but block the view) so people can’t see in while you’re away at work. With the holidays coming up, this especially includes gifts! Don’t leave gifts, even wrapped ones, in front of any window.
5. Install Double Key Deadbolts
Double key deadbolts are the kind that require a key not only to enter, but also to exit. With a double key deadbolt lock, if thieves do break in, getting your stuff out is going to be really difficult unless they break the door down.
The downside to double key deadbolts is they can be dangerous in the event of an emergency, such as a fire. Consider this carefully before installing one. If you do put one in, keep the key very close to the door in a hiding place that’s easy to remember.
6. Secure Patio Doors
Security experts say most thieves don’t want to smash sliding glass doors because they’re so noisy. They’d much rather slide it open. To prevent this, secure your sliding door by placing a sawed-off broom handle in the track to prevent it from opening.
7. Don’t Advertise
If you’re going away for a week, don’t tell people on your answering machine that you’re out of town. Police say that, surprisingly, many thieves will find your number and call to see if you’re at home.
8. Be Prepared
Make sure you religiously back up your computers and laptops in the event those items are stolen. My dad didn’t do this. As a result, many years worth of family pictures are gone.
Also, make sure your portable hard drive is kept hidden in an innocuous place where it won’t get hurt (like the kitchen pantry or laundry room).
by Heather Levin
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