Burglaries are often devastating in several ways, and unfortunately for homeowners, they aren’t uncommon in the United States. Millions of burglaries occur each year, and the vast majority of those burglaries occur in residential areas, putting homeowners at a heightened risk of being robbed.
When burglaries occur, it isn’t just the physical assets that are lost. In many cases, the sense of safety that once accompanied a home can be destroyed, resulting in restless nights. And while televisions, computers and other common assets are easily replaced, family heirlooms, memorabilia and other items of sentimental value can be much harder – and sometimes impossible – to replace.
To avoid this worst-case scenario, take some simple steps to minimize your risk factors of being robbed. While some of these steps may seem trivial, they can make all the difference in whether you are targeted by criminals seeking out a home to rob.
Rethink your holiday displays
Placing your Christmas tree square in the middle of your front window might look pretty from the street, but it can tip off would-be burglars that valuable presents lie in wait under the tree. It can be frustrating to do so, but refraining from showing off your affluence – and your holiday gifts – can keep you from getting targeted by burglars.
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Invest in garage security
Your garage door can be a beacon for home invaders, especially if you leave it open all the time. Use common sense and close the garage door whenever you’re not home, and even when you are home, to be extra cautious. Be aware that even if your garage door is closed 24/7, robbers can still find other ways to get to your valuables through your garage. Pump up your security by covering and barring the windows and reinforcing the service door. If you have to park a car outside, don’t leave a garage door opener inside the car at night.
Landscaping is cool – sometimes
Yes, extravagant landscaping makes your yard look pretty, but it provides potential cover for people hoping to run off with your belongings in the night. Make your yard burglar-repellant by keeping bushes under 3-feet high and trimming any tree branches below 7 feet. Provide more security for your windows by laying gravel and planting thorny bushes under them. The noisy gravel alerts you when prowlers are outside your window and the thorny bushes deter would-be thieves.
Keep the neighbors informed
The more your neighbors know about your plans and your expected activity, the better they can help protect your home from robbery. Tell your neighbors when you plan to be gone, and let them know if certain people will be stopping by to water your plants or tend to other household needs. And offer to do the same for them – a neighborhood that keeps a watchful eye over its members is a huge asset when protecting your home.
When it comes to avoiding a home burglary, complete prevention isn’t possible. Instead, homeowners should focus on minimizing the risk factors that help burglars single out homes and identify targets. By addressing the characteristics that often attract potential criminals, you can better protect your home from sticking out in the neighborhood as a residential property primed for burglary.