Homes in the U.S. are burglarized every 15 seconds, according to one study. This is a rate of 4,800 break-ins per day.
Burglars frequently target homes that are ill-equipped to prevent theft. Many of these properties have poorly lit areas and dense shrubbery near entry points, providing the perfect hiding place for criminals to surveil the home and determine if it’s ripe for the picking.
They also lack security features like deadbolts, cameras, and motion sensors that make it more difficult for thieves to gain entry.
But with just a few simple steps, you can turn your home from an easy target into one that’s far more difficult to ransack.
Here are 10 ways to safeguard your home and prevent would-be intruders from breaking in.
10 Ways to Safeguard Your Home From Intruders
1) Use Deadbolts
One of the most basic yet effective ways to safeguard your home is to install deadbolts on all exterior doors. Deadbolt locks require a key to enter from the outside and typically feature a thumb turn from the inside.
Opt for a cylinder that’s pick-resistant and has a hardened steel plate to protect it against drill attacks. If you’re moving into a new home, make sure you change the locks to prevent anyone with a key copy to access the property.
Lastly, check your door frames to ensure they’re sturdy enough to resist impact should an intruder try to force their way in.
2) Install a Security System
Installing a security system is one of the most effective ways to prevent burglars from breaking into your home and yet only 25% of homes in the U.S. have one.
This camera has a motion sensor that activates a bright light directed toward anyone who breaches your property’s perimeter. It also records a video of the incident that you can download and share with authorities if need be.
3) Brighten Up Poorly-Lit Areas
Although most burglaries in the U.S. take place during the day, nighttime intruders aren’t any less active. In fact, out of approximately 1.6 million burglaries reported in 2019, 21% of them occurred at night.
Criminals are known to exploit dark areas around entry points with high shrubbery, pitch-black alleys, and dimly-lit porches. These low-light conditions make it difficult for homeowners to see who’s lurking around their properties. They also create an inviting atmosphere for burglars who wish to remain undetected.
To combat this, install outdoor lights around your home. Motion-activated lights are a great choice as they’ll turn on when someone comes into their range. Also, be sure to keep your porch light on at night, even when you’re not home.
4) “Beware of the Dog” Sign
The more obstacles you lay in the path of a would-be intruder, the less likely they are to attempt a break-in.
According to one ex-burglar, posting a sign that reads “Beware of the Dog” near access points is a low-cost and effective deterrent against theft, even if you don’t have a four-legged friend to keep watch over your property.
5) Invest in a Safe
If you keep expensive jewelry and other valuables at home, consider investing in a safe to protect these items from thieves.
Choose a safe that’s fire-resistant, waterproof, and heavy enough that an intruder would be unable to carry it away. Some homeowners bolt their safes to the ground for added security.
Place the safe in a location that’s out of view, like the basement, and keep it further away from egress points. Alternatively, consider storing valuables in your attic as it will take intruders longer to exit the premises from there, discouraging them from snooping around your home’s uppermost level.
6) Trim Overgrown Hedges
Burglars often case a property before attempting a break-in. This means they’re looking for homes that are easy to access, have poorly-lit areas, and lack security features.
For many burglars, dense bushes and tall hedges are ideal hiding spots while they assess whether or not your home is worth breaking into.
To thwart them, keep your shrubbery trimmed at all times and remove any trees or large obstacles blocking your front and back doors. If you can’t cut down the trees, consider sawing off any branches that lead directly to your home’s upper-level windows and other access points.
7) Lock Your Doors and Windows
This one may seem like common sense, but it’s still worth mentioning: Make sure you lock all of your doors and windows when you’re out for the day, even if you’re only stepping out to bring the trashcan back from the curb.
It’s also important to lock your doors and windows at night. Do a round of checks before you go to bed to verify that they’re secured and that you didn’t leave your keys hanging from the lock on the front door. Not only is this a dead giveaway that you were distracted while entering your home. It’s also a big threat to your safety.
And for heaven’s sake, please don’t label your keychains with your home address! If you lose them, you leave yourself and your loved ones vulnerable to break-ins.
8) Secure Your Garage Door
Your garage door is another point of entry that burglars often target. After all, it’s much easier to break into a home through the garage than through the front or back door because there are usually fewer security features in place.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your garage door closed and locked at all times. Additionally, consider installing a garage door opener that has a rolling code feature. This makes it harder for burglars to figure out the code and open your garage door.
9) Know Your Neighbors
The old adage “neighbors have eyes” is as true as ever. One of the best ways to safeguard your home from burglary is to get to know your neighbors.
If you see someone or something suspicious in your neighborhood, don’t hesitate to call the police. Likewise, if you’re going out of town for an extended period, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home.
10) Don’t Forget Your Wi-Fi Network
Hackers can access your Wi-Fi network and, by extension, your electronic devices that contain sensitive information.
To protect yourself from these types of burglaries, make sure you hack-proof your wireless router by enabling WPA2 or WPA3 encryption.
Also, create a strong SSID (wireless network name), activate your router’s firewall, disable any “Admin via Wireless” features, and use an encrypted VPN service at the router level.
If this all sounds like gibberish to you, then check out this guide to beef up your wireless connection. It breaks down each step into plain, easy-to-follow language.
Buying and Selling in San Diego County with Caspersen Group
Top Encinitas realtors, as well as top San Diego real estate agents, might tell you that safeguarding your home is just one part of the homeowner’s journey. Other parts involve getting the right price for your property if you’re looking to sell or finding a property that meets your security standards if you’re looking to buy.
In both cases, it’s best to work with San Diego County real estate experts that can offer you sound advice and market insights.
At Caspersen Group, we pride ourselves on being one of the top San Diego real estate agencies. We understand the ins and outs of the local market, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.
Ready to crush the San Diego real estate market? Start the no-pressure conversation today and let’s get started on your home journey!