Top Tips to Prevent Theft at Home
There are a great many ways to prevent theft from happening at your home and most are quite simple. Preventing theft is all about vigilance, common sense and habit.
While most of us would like to believe that theft is rare, the hard truth is that theft is common – it’s enforcing habits to prevent theft that is uncommon. While insurance will help you to replace many of your valuables if stolen, it’s most definitely easier to take steps to prevent theft in the first place.
The article below by US News outlines 8 easy ways to prevent theft. And luckily, preventing theft doesn’t have to be expensive. Follow these tips and you can prevent theft while barely spending a dime.
8 Easy (and Cheap) Ways to Prevent Home Theft
A theft expert outlines simple steps homeowners can take to reduce the chances they’ll be burglarized
Given all the frightening headlines about exotic mortgage products and under-water home loans, it’s easy to forget about the old-fashioned threats to property. But in 2007 alone, there were nearly 2.2 million burglaries in the United States, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates. While that’s down slightly from 2006 levels, the figures represent a 1 percent increase from five years earlier. Even worse, more than two thirds of all burglaries in 2007 involved residential properties. But if they approach home theft from the offender’s point of view, homeowners can reduce the chances that their home will be targeted, says Steve Houseworth, a program director for Theft Talk, a nonprofit counseling service. In a recent interview with U.S. News, Houseworth outlined eight simple and inexpensive steps that owners can take to make their properties less vulnerable to intruders.
1. Sign up: While home security systems are great tools for preventing burglaries, they can be quite expensive. For a more affordable alternative, Houseworth recommends a little trickery: putting a home security sign in your yard without actually obtaining the service. It’s an approach Houseworth uses himself—”I’m too cheap,” he says. The sign convinces would-be burglars that your home is in fact protected by a security system, which makes them less inclined to target your property. “Just think from a burglar’s point of view: ‘Am I going to break into the building or the home that has a security system?’ ” Houseworth says. “ ’Or am I going to go next door to the one that doesn’t?’ ”
2. Beware of the garage: Garages are a common entry point for burglars, Houseworth says. Open garage doors serve to advertise your belongings to passersby, which increases the likelihood of theft. So, homeowners should make sure their garage door remains closed anytime they aren’t present. “Take away the attractive appeal to what someone might want to steal,” Houseworth says.
3. Be a neighbor: Neighbors can play a key role in preventing home thefts. Homeowners on friendly terms with their neighbors are less likely to be victimized by other members of their community. At the same time, closely knit neighbors are more likely to call the police if they see someone suspicious poking around your property. “If they like you and they care about you and they are concerned about their community, then if they see something unusual going on then they will check it out or call the police,” Houseworth says. So don’t be a hermit: Get out and interact with your neighbors.
4. Keep valuables outside the bedroom: A burglar on the hunt for valuables in a home will make the master bedroom their first stop—since that’s where the cash and jewelry are most commonly stored. So if you do keep such valuables on your property, find another room to store them. “I don’t keep anything in my bedroom,” Houseworth says. “And I don’t have much—deliberately—of great value of the small items [that] are the ones burglars like to steal [stored in my home].”
5. No land escaping: Burglars prefer to target homes that have hiding spots and escape routes in the yards, and abundant bushes and trees make for great cover, Houseworth says. As a result, yards with less shrubbery and more open spaces aren’t particularly appealing targets. “If the home is open and relatively exposed, a burglar will think, ‘I’m going to go in, and if something goes wrong, how am I going to get out of here?’ ” Houseworth says.
6. Install motion sensors: Light is a great deterrent for nighttime break-ins. Houseworth recommends homeowners install motion sensors on outdoor lights that turn on automatically if someone triggers them. “I have mine hard-wired in, but they have some that are actually screwed in,” he says.
7. Radio running: Noise helps prevent burglaries as well. Houseworth leaves his radio on all day so that would-be burglars think that someone is at home. “Your home is more likely to be burglarized during the day because they think that nobody is home,” he says.
8. Free police inventory: Homeowners should be sure to remember the basics of home-theft prevention: keeping windows and doors locked at all times. For homeowners looking to go a step further, Houseworth suggests contacting the local police department and having an officer stop by the house for a safety checkup. “I don’t know of any police department that if you call them and ask them to do an inventory of your home to help harden it, they won’t come out free and give you advice on how to improve your home,” Houseworth says.
Heeding these 8 tips to prevent theft from occurring in your home could save you from needless aggravation and expense. We have several more tips for preventing theft, and again, we cannot stress enough that it’s the habits and not the outpouring of money that prevent theft.
For instance, if you really want to prevent theft at your home, avoid announcing your vacation plans in your social media outlets. While it’s fun to share the excitement of vacationing, it’s far more important to prevent theft from occurring while you’re away.
In fact, there are several vacation-preparation tips to help prevent theft from occurring at your home while you’re gone. Have someone take in your mail and pick up your newspapers. A stuffed mailbox is often a burglar’s favorite clue to your absence.
In order to shows signs of occupancy, consider having someone move your car now and then and immediately shovel your walkway if it snows. Preventing theft isn’t difficult, it just requires some forethought. And if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time during the warmer months, be sure to have someone mow your lawn. The shoveling and mowing may cost you a few dollars, but isn’t it worth it to prevent a theft from occurring at your home?
At TJ Woods Insurance Agency in Worcester, Massachusetts, we are pleased to provide you with affordable insurance coverage should you unfortunately be unable to prevent theft from occurring at your home. However, we would much rather help you prevent theft altogether if at all possible.
In fact, these last hints go a long way toward helping prevent theft:
- Do not put your name on the outside of your mailbox. List your address only.
- Never leave an away message on your voicemail even hinting that you’ll be away for any length of time.
- Put a small light or two on, but use an energy efficient lightbulb.
- Instead of placing a spare key outside your door, leave it with a trustworthy neighbor. Thieves are pretty good at discovering hiding places.
- Keep pricey items out of plain sight.
And as one last means of eliminating temptation in order to prevent theft from happening at your home, break up boxes for electronics & appliances and place them in a covered recycle bin. If your town doesn’t recycle yet, bag them and put them in a covered trash bin.
TJ Woods Insurance Agency is here for all of your insurance needs. From personal insurance to business insurance to financial services, our agents are here to help you protect and make the most of your investments. Whether you’re looking to prevent theft, insure your employees or plann your estate, our agents are ready to help. Contact our Worcester, Massachusetts, office today!