13 Safety Tips That Could Save Your Home from a Break-In
Secure your home with these expert-vetted home safety tips that turn burglars into bunglers.
Store valuables carefully
Thieves already know you’re stashing valuables, so upgrade your secret hiding places to ones that are harder to detect. A simple solution is keeping important documents and objects in your child’s room. Thieves often scour drawers in the master bedroom but tend to leave children’s rooms untouched. Just make sure it’s a place your child can’t easily access, like on a high closet shelf. Never leave your house without doing these 13 things first.
Install your security system in the right spot
Decorative glass or large windows may be important for your front entrance feng shui, but they also make it easy for burglars to see inside your home. Install your security keypad in a spot that is not visible from the doorstep so no one can see if your alarm is set. These are the 20 secrets home security installers don’t want you to know.
Get rid of that mail slot
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Having one is basically asking burglars to rob your house. A mail slot goes against the wood grain, weakening the horizontal integrity of a door and making it easier to kick in. Opt for a mailbox, or install your slot near the bottom of the front door, no higher than a quarter of the way up. Can’t afford a home security system? Here’s how to fake one.
Keep car keys next to your bed
Giving car keys a permanent home on your nightstand is a sure way to never lose them again, and it can ward off suspicious activity. If you hear an unusual noise and suspect that someone is trying to break into your car or home, press the “Panic” button on your key ring. The car alarm will sound, and the intruder will have no choice but to flee the scene.
Add thorny shrubs to your landscape
Here’s a tip you won’t learn at a gardening center: Your plants can act as a barrier between your home and sneaky intruders. Plant thorny shrubs, such as rosebushes, beneath ground-floor windows. They’ll add beauty to your garden and deter burglars. These are the 13 signs your home is vulnerable to being robbed.
Let your neighbors be your eyes
Knowing your house is completely unattended can make your vacation unnecessarily stressful. Whether you’re going away for two weeks or just a long weekend, ask a neighbor to check daily for flyers stuck in your front door. Crafty criminals have been known to leave pizza ads in doors to see how long it takes for residents to remove them. Stopping newspapers and mail delivery for the duration of your trip is a sure way to prevent mail from piling up at your doorstep.
Pack your car right before you leave
Rather than loading up the car the night before a weekend getaway, do it in the morning right before you leave. Left in front of the house, a fully packed car can serve as a green light for those looking for one. Before you drive away, make sure a few exterior lights are on to give the impression that someone’s home. And don’t post pictures until you get back. These 10 cars are the most likely to be stolen.
Lower the volume of your telephone ringer
Yes, we’re talking about landline phones, which are definitely still worth having. If the ringer is too loud, a passerby may hear it ring, then go to voice mail—an undeniable sign that no one is home. And speaking of signs, don’t leave any notes on your door (for the mailman, delivery messengers, or anyone else) saying you’re away. Keep neighbors in the loop so they can look out for packages.
Don’t store wood near the side of the house
Some criminals are so dumb they basically arrest themselves. Others are more crafty and will see a pile of wood as a conveniently placed ladder up to a window. Keep logs in the garage or in a pile at the edge of the yard. These are the 20 genius hiding spaces for your valuables.
Pay attention to bathroom windows
Burglars are often people you’ve seen before, like a serviceman working on your house. If a yard worker or unknown visitor uses the bathroom, he may unlatch the window so he can gain entry later. Be sure to double-check that lock after this seemingly innocent person leaves.