A home burglary occurs every 15 seconds – before you even finish reading this paragraph, someone’s home will be broken into and their possessions stolen. Most burglaries happen during the day when you are at school or work, so how can you best protect yourself?
Safety experts have studied the issue and there are four specific things that can increase your risk of burglary: previous burglaries, no security systems, workers or contractors in your home, and too much landscaping next to your house.
- Previous burglary in your home or neighborhood: A house that has been burglarized is 12 times more likely to be burgled again. This also applies to break-ins in the neighborhood as well. If your home or a neighbor’s home has been robbed, be extra concerned about future burglaries.
- No security system: Roughly 50% of burglars say they are less likely to break into a home that has a working security system. A security system is your first line of defense against burglars. Whether you choose a professionally installed and monitored system such as ADT or simply a DIY system or Ring doorbell that takes video, any security system is better than none.
- Workers/contractors around the house: When you have contractors or landscapers on your property, you’re letting strangers case your home. Most contractors don’t run background checks on their workers, so you have no idea who is in your home or yard. Be sure to lock up any valuables and put away anything that might be tempting for a burglar to come back for.
- Lots of landscaping next to house: Lots of tall trees and bushes make it easier for burglars to hide without being noticed. Be sure to keep your bushes trimmed and verify that there is a good line of sight from your house to the street. Adding additional outside lights in dark areas also helps. Preventing burglars in the first place is a lot easier than dealing with a burglary after it happens.
You may think that after being burglarized, everything will be okay once you call the police. It’s the first thing you should do after you’ve discovered the break-in. They will come take your information, write down what was stolen, and get to work trying to find the perpetrators, right? Wrong. Sadly, police only solve about 13% of all burglaries. Today’s police force is so overloaded that they simply don’t have the manpower to thoroughly investigate each and every burglary.
If this has been your experience, you may want to consider hiring your own private investigator to help recover your property and find the criminal so that he or she can be prosecuted. Manhattan private investigator Darrin Giglio said, “A private eye can investigate on your behalf when police can’t or won’t do the job.” A private eye has access to information, databases, contacts, and can perform surveillance as needed without all the paperwork that the police require. In addition, private investigators usually have a background in law enforcement or police detective work themselves, so they know what they are doing.
Here are some additional tips to prevent your home from being burglarized:
- Hide your valuables. Don’t position your 72-inch screen TV or new Mac computer in front of the window with no curtain or blinds because that may be an invitation for someone to take it. Hide your jewelry in a safe place and if you own guns, definitely invest in a good gun safe so they don’t get stolen.
- Lock your doors and windows. This may seem like a no-brainer, but often we become comfortable and let our guard down because we are at home – the place most of us go to rest and relax. Often, we have good neighbors and feel like our house is in a very safe neighborhood, but you never know when criminals will strike. Locking your doors, windows, garage doors, and even your vehicles will make it harder for them to steal from you.
- Don’t hide your spare key under the mat or a flower pot. Criminals may be criminals, but they aren’t stupid. You are better off keeping a spare key in your wallet or in a trusted neighbor’s possession.
- If you are going out of town, make sure someone picks up your mail and newspapers every day – you don’t want six newspapers piling up on the front driveway because that’s a dead giveaway that no one is home. They can also turn lights off and on to make it appear as if someone is at home all the time.
- Don’t “check in” on social media – this gives everyone a head’s up that you aren’t home at the moment. Many of us do this without thinking these days and it only serves to alert those folks that are looking for an easy target.
- Take photographs and/or engrave your more valuable items such as electronics, weapons, and the like. This will help if you have to file an insurance claim or to verify that the stolen property is yours if it is recovered.
Most of all, use common sense when it comes to your home and property. Don’t advertise when you are leaving, don’t leave gates or garage doors unlocked, and don’t give burglars a place to hide by having overgrown, thick landscaping around your house. Being aware is the first step in preventing a burglary of your property.
Photo by Paul Hanaoka