8 Cost-Free Ways to Prevent Home Burglaries
August 15, 2017
More than 1 million homes are burglarized every year in the U.S., many of them during the summer months.
Simply because that’s when many of us either leave for vacation or leave windows open and even doors unlocked. About 40 percent of annual household burglaries in the U.S. do not involve a forced entry. Burglars are able to walk, climb or crawl inside a house with relative ease. And August has 13 percent more theft-related claims than any other month.
Theft is the fourth-most-common homeowners’ insurance claim. According to the FBI, the average loss in a home burglary is $3,786. Although the financial loss is never welcome, the frequently seen mental trauma that follows can be worse, leaving many burglary victims feeling unsafe in their own homes.
So, aside from buying a home security system, what can you do to safeguard your home – and your family – from unwanted intruders? Not leaving an extra key hidden somewhere outside is a good start. But there’s much more you can do. Here are eight things that are easy and cost-free.
- Put your stuff away. Bikes belong in the garage, not left on the lawn. Also, don’t leave expensive items in plain sight or near windows. Try, if you can, to move the big-screen TV out of view to anyone walking by the house. In other words, try not to advertise that your house is filled with high-priced goods.
- Leave the lights on. Even during the day. Most break-ins happen during daylight hours, so when you leave the house, it’s not a bad idea of create the impression that someone’s home. A light left turned on does the trick. So does leaving the TV or music on.
- OK, so you can’t afford or don’t want to spend money on a home security system. That’s fine. How about getting a security system sign to plant in the yard? Burglars aren’t easily faked out, but most won’t take the gamble and will stay away from homes with a security sign.
- Don’t just lock the windows; use a stopper of one kind or another that slips into the frame to stop the window from raising more than a few inches. This is especially important on lower-floor windows.
- If you’re going on a trip, make sure you tell a neighbor who can help keep an eye on things. (You do know your neighbors, right? Closer-knit neighborhoods generally report fewer break-ins.) Also put a stop on mail or newspaper deliveries. If you’re gone for a while, hire someone to cut your lawn.
- Lock those doors! Add deadbolts if you don’t have them. Make sure patio and sliding doors are locked. And lock the door leading from the garage to the inside of the house. Burglars regularly break in through the garage door.
- Before you leave on that vacation, move the pricey jewelry out of the bedroom dresser to somewhere less obvious. (Not the freezer.) While you’re at it, relocate grandma’s fine china from the dining room hutch to yet another less-obvious place.
- Stay off social media while you’re away. Posting photos of yourself while on the islands is like sending a news alert that your home is empty. Post those cute shots after you return.
Matt Genova is the Personal Lines manager at CCIG. Reach him at MattG@thinkccig.com or 720-330-7936.
Note: Are you sure you have adequate coverage for your valuables? Many of the items burglars target have sublimits in the typical homeowners’ insurance policy. Talk to us about policy limits and we can help you decide whether you need a special endorsement to cover expensive items.
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