How to Protect Your House From Burglars
The tips below are aimed at accomplishing one or more of the following:
Making your home less appealing to thieves
Overall, the average Joe is going to look for the easiest and most profitable targets.
Making your home more difficult to break into
Time is a robbers enemy so anything that can be done to slow or stop their entry route will decrease their likelihood of a successful heist.
Lock Your Doors and Close Your Windows
About a third of the time when someone is robbed it is because they had an unlocked door or window. This also makes things very easy for an opportunistic thief. Don't make yourself an easy target and lock your doors and windows at night and when you are away at work or etc. A lot of people forget about the door from their garage to their house which is a common entry point.
Consider locking the garage when you are away for vacation. This was a vulnerability, I had personally that a burglar took advantage of.
Caution: Make sure to unlatch from the track if automated so you don't accidentally try to open the garage door while locked in place.
Window Protective Film
Windows can be an easy access point for a robber wanting to make a smash and grab. While protective films can not completely stop a window from being breached, they do make it far more difficult to do so. The time and effort it takes to break through them may be enough of a deterrent to make an opportunistic thief change their mind. Also, this is an easy installation that can be done yourself over a weekend. I installed some on my first floor windows despite my lack of skill in home improvement. Lastly, as an ancillary bonus, films also provide some insulation for your windows.
Also consider window treatments that tint or frost your windows. Many burglars are looking to get in and out quickly and grab valuables that are in view. Obstructing a burglars ability to see inside makes this more difficult to do and adds more risk to breaking in. Note that if you do pursue window treatments this will in turn impact your ability to see outside so be strategic with your approach.
Don't Hide Spare Keys in Common Places
Hiding a key under your door mat, gnome, or a rock outside your door is not a good hiding place. It may be the ticket inside for an intruder or burglar. As an alternative, you can give your key to a neighbor you trust.
If you don't want your key with someone else, put your key somewhere that is no where near your door like your backyard and not in the line of sight of strangers. Alternatively, possibly consider coordinating with neighbors for a hiding space on a different property.
Overall, you don't want your key in a common hiding spot and you don't want it to be easy for someone to see you retrieve your key.
Install Deadbolts on Your Doors
Credit cards can be used to slide through basic locks and most doors can be opened with a bump key. Dead bolts make it that much harder to break into your home. Having an engaged deadbolt makes it more difficult for someone to kick down your door. However, in order for them to be functional you have to use them.
You can even take it a step further by getting a double cylinder so it takes a key to unlock from both sides. This can come in handy if you have glass windows above the knob. This way even if an intruder breaks the glass, they won't be able to open the door without a key.
Get an Alarm System
There are all sorts of alarm systems available on the market. Some are tied to security services that alert the police and or yourself. Others make a significant amount of noise to dissuade would be robbers. Doors, windows, and even the metal overhung garage doors can be an entry point for would be burglars.
Also, post signs that you have an alarm system. Burglars are going to look for the path of least resistance and having an alarm system may be enough to keep them at bay.
Keep Your Entries Well Lit
Make sure you replace your light bulbs regularly to maintain visibility of what is taking place outside. Also, installing motion sensor lights are a great way to save electricity and draw attention when a person or an animal is coming near a door. However, do not leave your lights on all the time. This could also make your house stand out and draw unwanted attention to your house, particularly if people think you are not home.
Another alternative is solar path lighting which will turn on during dusk for areas where you want or need to stay off the grid.
Think About Your Trash
What you throw out can tell a lot about what you have in your house. If you got a brand new expensive appliance or toy and you leave the box in your front yard it can also alert others of your purchase. Break down boxes for expensive purchases and place them in trash bags before throwing them out. Alternatively, you can bring them out the morning trash is picked up or drop them off at a local dumpster or recycling center.
Meet Your Neighbors
Talk to your neighbors and build a rapport to where you can each be watchful eyes for each other and call authorities if needed. Neighborhood watches are a great way to keep suspicious activity at bay. I personally use the Nextdoor app periodically to see if anything in my neighborhood has been reported. Also rather than keeping a spare key at your house, keep one with a neighbor you trust. While you may think your door mat or a rock may be a safe place, they could be the ticket in for someone looking to break in.
Furthermore, when you are gone for vacation you will have someone to pick up your mail so it does not accumulate outside your house drawing attention.
Keep Bushes and Shrubs Trimmed
Large shaded areas can be a great hiding spot for burglars. Even if you have good lighting, a large shrub could be the perfect vantage point to hide them from sight while waiting for the right opportunity. Keep your bushes and shrubs pruned and trimmed to prevent them from being hiding spots. Also clutter and trash in general outside can equally be problematic in this regard.