It ishelpful to look at your house and property the way a burglar sees them. House burglars are mostly opportunistic thieves. They do not plan to hit every house on the street. They look for the best opportunity. When they look at your property, they assess two things:1) how easy it would be to get inside, and 2) how likely it is that it will be profitable. Homeowners often unwittingly leave clues to potential burglars about these two areas that invite them to break-in to their house. Use this pdf as a home security audit while walking around your property. You can do a home safety assessment at the same time. Bear in mind that you don’t need to follow all the recommendations we make here. That said, the more you do, the more a burglar will want to avoid your home.
A burglar looking at your house is looking at:
They can learn two things from your landscaping; how much money you have, and where concealed points of entry into your house are.
- Expensive landscaping?
This indicates that the burglar will find profitable things to steal in your house. We are not saying do not have nice landscaping, just be aware that this increases your risk of being targeted. You can reduce that risk by doing other things in this audit to decrease the attractiveness of your home to a burglar.
- Thorny shrubs or plants blocking access to windows?
This is not something the burglar wants to deal with for lots of reasons: pain, bleeding (DNA), very slow going, difficulty of access. Keep these.
- Trees allowing access to 2nd floor?
Consider pruning or removing these.
- Can neighbors see into the backyard ?
If they can, the back yard is a less attractive place to operate in.
- Vegetation obscures doors or windows from the street or from neighbors view.
See next item below.
Are any doors or windows concealed from the street?
- Vegetation blocking the view from the street
Remove or prune back shrubs and other vegetation to deny a burglar the ability to work undetected.
- Structures blocking the view from the street or neighbors
Consider relocating or removing them.
Your doors, front and back
Nearly half of burglars enter here. It is preferred because it is often the easiest way in. A burglar may be able to see from the street what he wants to know about your doors. Or they may even knock on your door under some pretext so they can make that assessment.
- Hollow core
It takes less than one minute to kick one in. Make your door as strong as your locks. Replace it with a solid core door.
- Is the door unlocked?
34% of burglars walk in the front door. Lock it.
- Dead bolt present?
They may not try this door. The dead bolt throw needs to be at least 1 inch.
- Strike plate has the standard short screws.
The burglar can’t usually see this, unless they have already been in your house. They could have been there as a guest, contractor, etc. Replace them with 3 inch screws that will go through the door jamb and into the wall stud.
This is almost as popular an entry point as the door.
- Is it open?
Keep ground floor windows shut at night and any time you are away from home.
- Is it locked?
Keep those windows locked any time they are closed. A burglar will always check a closed window to see if it is locked. Get in the habit of locking them.
- Can I break it?
Yes, the burglar can always do this. Apply a clear film to the glass pane that will make it shatter-proof.
Your sliding glass door
- Is it locked?
- Does it have anything else preventing me from moving the door?
Add a bolt lock or put a wooden dowel in the track.
- Can I break it?
Yes, the glass is a bit thicker than a window, but the burglar can find something to help them break it. Protect that glass with the same shatter-proofing film.
We recommend installing motion activated flood lights at all points of possible entry to your house, garage, and other outbuildings. Use flood lights because they light up a wide area with very bright light. This will alarm and annoy a burglar. They will suddenly be brightly illuminated before they actually touch anything. And a flood light suddenly turning on in the dark screams “Look over here!”
- Is the front door area dark?
- Is the backdoor area dark?
- Are any of the windows in the dark?
- Are doors to the garage in the dark?
The garage almost always has something worth stealing in it and it may have a door into the house.
- Are doors and windows to outbuildings in the dark?
Outbuildings may have valuables to steal or tools to help them break into your house.
- Can I see motion activated light fixtures anywhere?
The burglar will avoid these areas, if possible.
- Your trash
Are boxes to high value items present?
When you put the empty box to your Xbox or big screen TV on the curb or in your trash can, that is a clear statement to a burglar that they can make money by breaking into your house. Cut up your boxes and put them in trash bags deep in your trash can.
Is the mailbox stuffed?
That means no one is home. Have the post office hold your mail while you are away from home. Put a hold on your newspapers.
- Is there a dog house?
- Can I hear a dog barking?
Dogs are like a burglar alarms that bite. This house should be avoided.
Your social media
Did the family that lives here just post pictures of the lovely vacation they are having?
No one is home. This is an increasingly effective burglar’s tool. Wait till you get home to post those pictures and say what a lovely vacation you had.
Call us at561 964-6114for answers to how we might be able to help you secure your doors and windows appropriately. We’ll be happy to help you.