Home security is an ongoing topic of great concern to most home owner. If you have ever returned home to find that you have joined the more than 2 million Americans that become victims of home burglary each year, you will understand the feelings of violation and helplessness. While insurance will come some items, many things have a value beyond the “fair market” value and cannot be replaced. Additionally many folks who have been through such an ordeal feel that they seem to be the one being punished, not the criminal. Policy reports, insurance claim forms, repairing of damage, increased insurance rates, not to mention the intangible loss of you sense of security. |
The good news is home burglary is down nearly 30% since the late 80’s, however the bad news is it has held steady with more than 2 million a year since 1999, the last year that saw a significant decrease over previous years. 2 Million A year is still a significant number which means that each and every one of us is still facing this threat. It also shows that law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to make progress in reducing this threat to home owners and are at best holding steady.
What can Home Owners do? As far as affecting the actual number of burglaries, other than supporting the dedication of more resources to Law Enforcement when you head to out to vote, there is little a home owner can do. Really the only course left to the home owner is to make their home a less inviting target then the next.
One thing that most people do not seem to understand is that would be thieves “shop” around to select their targets. Homes to target are NOT selected at random. In most cases the “would be thief” will make observations to determine the risk of hitting a particular target against the potential payoff. The key here is to make your home seem just too risky or difficult to break into so they select a more inviting target. Below is a list of some low or no cost solutions to make your home a less inviting target.
1) Landscaping – the approach to you home. This is critical because when a “would be thief” selects a target they wish to get in and out without being observed if possible.
a. Ensure that visibility from the street to Windows and Doorways are not blocked by bushes or other items. b. Plant hard & thorny bushes underneath windows and on each side next to doorways. c. Consider hard & thorny bushes to block “Blind” approaches to the house, that is approaches that are not visible from windows or to by passers.
2) Exterior Lighting – The use of sensor lights can be a great way to discourage approach to your home in the hours of darkness. However the placement of these lights is critical for this to be effective. For example, at one time at my home I mounted sensor lights on each side of the house, only to find that the local deer had learned how to approach my flower beds next to my home without turning the lights on. If a deer can figure it out, it should be child’s play for a “would be thief”. Additionally you can obtain solar powered sensor lights that can be mounted on poles in the yard designed to work in conjunction with your landscaping making approach impossible without triggering one or more light sensors.
3) Critter-Cams – These are normally used as a way for naturalist to capture wildlife, however because most have a built in flash, they can be a great way to stop a burglary in progress. Very few “would be thieves” will continue if they suspect they may have been captured by a camera. Placement of the camera must be such that access to the camera is difficult, such as mounting on a pole or roof top, yet cover likely approaches to you home. This will make the removal of the camera difficult without being seen by folks passing by.
4) Home Security is Monitored by Signs – While I do believe that a home security and monitoring system is a great idea, often times a sign in the yard indicating that you have such a system will be all that is needed to make “would be thieves” pass your home by.
5) Camera mounting cases – Like the “Monitored by Signs”, if a “would be thief” believes your home may have cameras recording in real time; they are likely not willing to risk being recorded.
6) Interior Lighting – Use of timers in your home is an old tactic that most “would be thieves” are old hats at spotting. If you have ever seen the Movie “Home Alone”, the “Wet Bandits” through observation determined the timing cycle for every home. However use of more sophisticated timers used in creative ways can still cause reasonable doubt that a home is unoccupied. Use of timers on variable schedules that light at different times and days can be used to power on lights and other objects (such as radios or TVs) all over the home seemingly at random times.
7) Interior Lighting with motion sensors – One great way for pet owners to make a home seem occupied is to install motion sensor light switches. Not only can it help with lowering your overall electric costs, but movement of your pet around the home can be used to trigger lighting at random.
Up to this point all the tactics I listed will help make your home a less inviting target; however they do little for actual security. Consider the following points to actually make your home more secure. Some of these items can be implemented at very little cost. To continue reading about Home Security and how to keep your home safe from burglary and home invasion, click on the Home Security link above or visit us at Installing a Floor Safe.
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