The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program releases property crime statistics for home burglaries every year. While home burglaries have declined slightly since 2007, crimes have been on the rise in recent years with homeowners suffering an average of $5 million dollars in property losses per year. According to the report, the majority of burglaries are forcible entry (61 percent) but nearly 33 percent are unlawful entries without the use of force.
Most homeowners realize that outdoor lighting, deadlock bolts, and home security systems usually deter burglars. These methods, however, are not the only means of protecting your home. Here are five simple and little-known tips to give your property additional protection from becoming another FBI crime statistic.
#1- Remove your name from your mailbox
A common trick amongst burglars is to read your name advertised on the mailbox, call 411 to obtain your home phone number, and listen for the telephone ringing. If no one answers, this is a clear sign that you are not home and the burglar can break in undetected. If you will be away from home more than two days, have your mail withheld or forwarded. A stuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home. If you have purchased a new HDTV or expensive computer system, don’t leave the boxes lying around your home or on the curb, as these are advertisements that goodies lie inside your home. Crush boxes and deliver them to your recycle center.
#2-Turn down your telephone ringer volume
It goes without saying that turning down your telephone ringer hides your phone activity from criminals as well as nosy neighbors. Additionally, do not advertise your absence: never tape messages to your door, keep your yard mowed, and invest in a programmable timer that will turn lights on and off periodically.
#3- Guard your online activity
In this world of social networking and Internet searches, a criminal can easily look up your personal information on the Internet. A criminal can discover your children’s names and ages as well as any vacation plans, photos of your home and yard, and your marital status simply by checking your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Disassociate your physical identity with your online identity. Don’t advertise your vulnerabilities or your absence, both on the Internet and around your home.
#4-Install dummy surveillance cameras
Home security systems have become more affordable since their initial inception, but these systems are still pricey for many middle-class homeowners. Consider installing fake, or dummy, surveillance cameras around the house. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the appearance of a home security system is enough to give burglars second thoughts. Avoid the cheap imitation plastic boxes, however, because a burglar can tell the difference between a cheap dummy and actual camera. Additionally, place security system stickers on your doors even if you do not have such a system installed. Even the appearance of a security system can be a big deterrent to a burglar.
#5-Do not allow strangers into your home
According to statistics, almost 33 percent of all burglaries are unlawful entries without force, which means that the burglar strolled right into the home without any resistance. Before you hire that cleaning lady or open the door to the repairman, look for an official badge of identification or investigate their background with the town government or company. Nearly all municipalities require that repairmen and contractors obtain a license to practice their profession and must submit that license number to the homeowner before signing a work contract. Never allow a person into your home that you are not expecting, such as a salesman or a utility contractor.
Other methods of entry without force include unlocked doors and inadequate lock systems. Your front door deadbolt may be the next Fort Knox, but if your garage door is unlocked, you’re vulnerable. Purchase a special lock for large garage doors, and install dead bolts for the back door and basement entry doors, as well.
These tips are very simple and take very little effort to implement. Can you think of other simple tasks that you can do to prevent your home from being robbed? Leave a comment and let us know!