Your home holds a special place for you and your family. It’s the place where you feel not only comfortable but also safe. But like all places, your home is at risk of intrusions from burglars, or worst, people who mean harm.
The problem is that most people don’t act until it’s already too late. This is partly because they have no idea how to keep their homes safe from break-ins.
If this sounds like you, we have your back.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to keep your home safe from break-ins 24/7. The tips we share range from obvious ones that are commonly taken for granted, to advanced tips you never know existed.
How Many Break-ins Happen in a Year
To know how much risk you’re risking by not being proactive in securing your home, let’s take a look at the latest statistics on intrusions.
The FBI Crime data reports that there is one break-in every 25.7 seconds in the US. This adds up to 2.5 million break-ins a year, half of which, occur in homes.
Of course, break-ins aren’t just common in the US, the rest of the world has its fair share too.
According to Statista.com, there are 238,100 successful break-ins and 185,800 unsuccessful ones from April 2020 to April 2021 in Australia. That’s 4% of the total Australian household.
71% of the break-ins reported something was stolen and 48% reported property damage, if this is not enough for you to consider upgrading your security, 12% of these break-ins resulted in a confrontation.
That said, break-ins are serious stuff and it’s a real risk just lurking around the corner.
15 Security Tips to Keep Your Home Safe From Break-ins
Below we provide 15 actionable tips you can do to protect your home, family and possessions.
1. Hire Professionals to Install Your Locks
One of the most common reasons why intruders can easily break into your home is because you’re locks aren’t installed properly or you’re not using a high-quality lock that fits your door’s needs.
From door locks with large gaps to misaligned lock latches, there are plenty of errors that could go wrong if you hire an unprofessional to install your locks or you do it yourself.
That said, hire professional locksmiths to assess and install your locks. They will be able to recommend the type of locks that suites your doors and windows and they will be able to install them to the highest standards.
2. Add a Second Lock to Main Entrances
12% of home invasions are pre-planned in advance. And one of the criteria burglars have is the number of locks on the front door. Generally, the fewer locks they have to crack, the easier it is for them to break into the house.
That said, simply doubling your locks will discourage most burglars from including your home in their list. Furthermore, most of those who’ll try will fail.
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is doubling the lock only for their front door. This works for preventing access to the front door but it doesn’t prevent them from accessing your home from the back and through the windows.
So, as a general rule, all entry doors must have a doorlock and a deadbolt.
3. Lock Your Doors At All Times
No matter how many locks you have installed in your home, it won’t matter unless you actually use them.
It may be tempting to leave the doors open during the daytime when you’re awake and aware of your surroundings, but did you know that 62% of burglaries happen in daylight? Thus, even if you’re just stepping out for fresh air or running around your neighbourhood, keeping your locks locked at all times is a good habit to practice.
4. Don’t Show Off Your Expensive Items
If you’re wearing your expensive pieces of jewellery while visiting your friends around the corner or flaunting your 72” tv by not using curtains, sooner or later someone from your neighbourhood is gonna make an attempt to break into your home.
A DoJ report revealed that 65% of burglaries are done by people that are well-acquainted with the owner. Furthermore, ADT reported that 50% of break-ins are done by burglars who live within a 2-mile radius.
That said, flaunting your expensive items, especially to those closest to you, is a risk you shouldn’t take.
5. Install a Security System (Cameras and Alarms)
46.9% of people don’t have a security system installed in their homes. Furthermore, homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into. So if you haven’t installed a security system yet, now is the time to do so.
Although cameras and alarms don’t physically stop intruders from invading your property, they will at least make them think twice and keep you aware if there is an intrusion.
Install cameras and sensors throughout your properties, but most especially on easily accessible areas of the house.
Nowadays, the price of a home security system has gone cheaper and cheaper. You can find a good camera and sensors for just a couple of hundred bucks.
6. Don’t Use a “Beware of Dogs” Sign
Dogs, especially large ones, are often considered guard dogs for obvious reasons. Hence, many homeowners put up a “beware of dogs” signage in an effort to scare off potential intruders.
Many assume that having that sign works, but the pros know free-roaming dogs will trip the sensors. Hence, having a “beware of dogs” sign (and dogs roaming around) is actually a sign for intruders that there are no sensors in your house.
7. Invest in Window Locks
Doors aren’t the only access point in your home, intruders can gain access to your windows too. Hence, invest in high-quality window locks, most especially if your windows are large enough to fit a person.
8. Install Window Grills
Speaking of large windows, install grills to prevent intruders from entering through your windows if they decide to break the glass.
If you think intruders won’t go as far as breaking a glass window for fear of alerting the neighbours, you’re wrong. There are a bunch of ways intruders can without making a suspecting sound.
9. Don’t Lose Your Keys or Leave Them Anywhere
Never trust anyone with your keys unless they live in the same household. Would-be intruders can easily duplicate your keys which will give them access to your house without breaking a sweat or raising suspicion.
Similarly, if you lose one of your keys, rekey the door immediately. You never know when your keys will fall into the wrong hands.
10. Keep You Keys Hidden
When you keep your keys near a window or in plain sight, intruders can easily grab them from an open window or fish them out using a stick.
Thus, as a general rule, always keep your keys hidden in drawers or other areas where only you and the rest of the household know.
11. Stop Posting Photos of Your Home
Posting photos of your home on social media or listing sites may seem harmless, but by doing so, you’re giving your home up as an easy target.
By piecing photos together, burglars may be able to draw a blueprint of your house and identify things that they can steal (and where they’re hidden) ahead of time. Furthermore, they can assess the security features of your house and prepare for it.
Professional thieves scour the internet for targets, they call this “internet fishing”. One way they do that is by checking listing sites and social media. So if you’re planning to put your house up for sale, keep important stuff hidden and consider moving out before you post photos of your house online.
Similarly, avoid taking pictures or videos in different locations in your house when posting on social media.
12. Don’t Leave Your Keys in Pots and Mailboxes
Hiding spare keys in plain sight is a common practice worldwide. It’s a convenient way to ensure you can still access your home if you were to lose your keys.
But security experts advise against such practice. Leaving your keys in pots and mailboxes might’ve worked in the 80s but it sure isn’t safe now. Back then, they weren’t obvious hiding spots. But today, almost everyone knows someone who hides their keys in those locations.
A better place to keep your spare key is in your everyday bag or in your car. That way, you’re not leaving them unprotected for intruders to grab.
13. Don’t Announce Your Vacation Trips
It might be tempting to post your travels online and update your followers about your amazing trips, but if no one’s guarding your home, don’t. Someone who knows you online may decide to break into your home and steal your precious items.
If you really want to share your trip, do it after you’re home. Posting late is better than getting broken into.
14. Always Change The Locks If You Move to a New Home
If you’re moving into a new apartment, condo, or house, always replace the locks or rekey them. You never know who’s had access to your home and how many people have a duplicate of your keys.
If you’re renting a home, ask your landlord if they would consider rekeying the home locks if you’re renting the place long term. If not, then ask if you can rekey it at your own expense.
Most single-family homes will permit this if you’re renting long-term, but you’ll have to do a little bit more convincing for apartments and condominiums.
15. Regularly Review Your Home Seurity
As the technologies for security advance, so does the technology used by intruders and their skills in picking locks. Make it a habit to do an overall upgrade of your locks and security system every 7-10 years.
You don’t necessarily have to go for the latest security tech or the most expensive lock, but if you have outdated locks, replace them with more modern ones.
If your locks are new and haven’t been damaged yet, you can have them rekeyed. Rekeying can be done by your local locksmith and is a cheaper option compared to changing your locks entirely.
When and Where Do Break-ins Normally Occur?
According to statistics, break-ins normally occur between 10 am to 3 pm which is contrary to what we normally see on tv shows and movies.
These hours are usually when children are at school and parents are at work. Intruders want to intrude when there is no one inside the house. Hence, keeping your home secured for daytime is paramount to stopping intrusion.
Most break-ins happen through the front door comprising about 34% of the total break-ins. The first-floor windows and back door come in close 2nd and 3rd comprising of 23 and 22% respectively. Garage doors and the basement are also possible points of entry.
What Burglars Use to Break-in
You may think of burglars as these highly skilled locksmiths who have highly advanced tools for breaking in. But contrary to common belief, 85% of intrusions are done by amateurs.
And although some thieves are professionals who pick the lock with prowess, most burglars walk right into the front door simply because the homeowner forgot to lock it.
But in case they do have tools, the most common are:
- Pins to pick the locks
- Pry lever to force the door open
- Tools within the property (like a ladder)
- Rocks or other hard items to break the windows
- Other handheld tools
Keeping homes safe and secure must be the number one priority of every household. And although the cases of intrusions are high, defending against them is relatively simple.
Most break-ins happen because the homeowner simply forgot to do the basic steps of home security, therefore, doing them greatly decreases the risk of getting broken into.
By following the tips we outlined above, you can keep intruders at bay and keep your family safe.