The FBI estimates that there were nearly 1 million burglaries targeted at residential properties in 2015. The good news is that this is a fall of 10.8% compared to the figures in 2014. The bad news is that the average person who was burgled lost $2296 worth of goods. Add in the incalculable cost of the emotional trauma of someone violating your privacy by entering your home and you have a crime that you will want to do everything in your power to prevent.
In this article, we’ll highlight 10 ways that you can improve the look of your home while reducing your risk of being targeted by a burglar.
Planting roses under your ground floor windows can add a pop of color to your yard. The prickly thorns will deter thieves from getting too close. If you don’t like roses, then any thorny plant will do the job. Make sure you trim your chosen plants regularly. If you allow them to grow too high it’ll provide a convenient hiding place for the burglar to wait for the perfect moment to break in.
Shutters are more than just a decorative feature; they provide protection from the weather and potential thieves. Often thieves will try and sneak a look into your home to establish if you’ve got anything they think is worth stealing. Installing shutter hardware, such as a locking slide bolt will make it more difficult for them to open the shutters to look at your possessions. As with most things, you get what you pay for and it is worthwhile investing in quality shutter hardware that won’t break easily if force is applied to it.
Change your fence
If you have a tall chain-link fence, you may think you’ve already got a good deterrent in place. Who would want to climb over that? Unfortunately, it’s been found that this is more likely to make you a target as it signals to the burglar that you are out of town and may have items worth stealing.
Experts suggest a waist-high picket fence as it allows neighbors and those passing by to spot if a burglar attempts to access your property. A smaller fence is also more decorative and much less prison-like than a tall metal fence.
Install outdoor lights
Most burglaries happen during the daylight hours as burglars assume that you are at work and the children are at school. This has led some to question if installing lights is worthwhile. However, most agree that installing exterior lighting is a simple but effective way to deter a would-be burglar, especially if your driveway or yard offers few hiding places.
Outdoor lighting now comes in a range of stylish options. You can opt for motion-activated lights that stun the burglar or choose to have lights switched on permanently that give the impression that someone is home.
Hire a gardener
It is always worth keeping the outside of your property looking neat and tidy. To a burglar, it shows that the occupants aren’t on vacation and may even be in the property. Although you can do most of the yard work yourself, hiring a gardener, or even a local teenager, to trim your lawn when you’re away can be worth every cent. Plus, who wants to come back from vacation to immediately face chores?
Cut down your large trees
Large trees in the yard can provide additional privacy, as well as looking beautiful. Unfortunately, they can also provide a hiding place for burglars. In the worst case scenario, if the tree is close to your home, it can also provide them with an easier way to access through the second-floor windows where you are less likely to have installed locks. One investigator who asked burglars what their ideal target would be got the response “large trees, bushes or shrubs around the home, or very reserved and conservative neighbors”. You don’t have to remove the whole tree but consider trimming back a tree, especially if it could provide access to your home.
Install an alarm system
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte revealed that 60% of burglars would find another target if there was an alarm system installed. There are many sophisticated alarm systems on the market these days so you are sure to find one that meets your needs and budget. Some systems can be controlled from an app on your cell phone so you can get real-time alerts if it picks up anything unusual.
Make sure when you install your alarm that you don’t put the main panel where it is visible from outside the property. Otherwise, you’ll allow a burglar an easy way to see if the alarm is activated. You’ll also want to avoid putting the alarm company sticker on display outside of your home as it may allow a burglar to research how to deactivate that brand of system. Finally, always remember to activate the alarm; there is no point owning one if you don’t use it.
Install a CCTV system
Installing cameras on the exterior of your property makes it clear to would-be burglars that there is a low likelihood of them getting away with the crime. Some people recommend using fake cameras but many burglars have now become aware of what these look like; proving them to be totally useless. Home CCTV systems range in price so there is something for every budget. It’s worth taking the time to find a system that works for your home – number of doors, wireless etc. Progressing technology has allowed for small, discreet, cameras to be created so you don’t have to sacrifice the external look of your home.
Get a new front door
Believe it or not, over a third of burglars gain entry to a home through the front door. A weak frame and flimsy hollow-core door are quick to kick down for easy access. A door made from solid hardwood or steel will provide additional security. As 28% of burglaries occur when someone is at home, be sure to install a strong Grade 1 quality deadbolt and make sure it’s installed correctly to provide additional protection for you and your family. A new front door also gives you the opportunity to smarten up the look of your home and even add color if you wish.
Install Window Locks
We’ve just mentioned that over a third of burglars gain access through the front door, an additional 23% of burglars gain access from a ground floor window. When you get a new front door, consider replacing your windows with ones made from shatterproof glass to make it harder to break. Also, make sure you choose strong security features such as deadbolts or pin-locks. If replacing all your windows is too expensive, consider installing a security film and internal locks on the window. As with all locks, make sure you actually lock them and remove the key when leaving your property. An additional option would be to add motion sensors to your windows when installing a security system.