The FBI reports that in 2017, there were nearly one and a half million burglaries in the United States, with property losses totaling $3.4 billion. Don’t become a statistic. Keep your home safe with these DIY security tips.
Lock exterior doors and windows. Duh. Surprisingly, as many as 30 percent of burglaries occur without forced entry. Leaving a door unlocked makes it simple for the most amateur thieves to walk in and help themselves to your stuff. That’s a shame, when it’s so simple to lock up.
Change your locks as necessary. One of the best - and simplest - security tips is to change locks or combinations to all entry doors as soon you move in. Ditto if you’ve recently allowed access to a crew of, say, remodelers or health care providers. If you have workers coming and going on a regular basis, a smart lock will let you control who has access when.
Secure your door with a brace. Even the best lock is useless if a crook successfully kicks down your door. This is a common method of forced entry, most often used on the back door since it’s less visible to neighbors passing by. Foil intruder wannabes by adding a door brace.
Reinforce the door jamb and hinges, as well. The cost to purchase a do-it-yourself "door armor" type kit is usually less than $100. All you need to install one is a few basic DIY skills, a drill, and a spare half hour - a truly worthwhile investment.
Don’t open up your home to just anyone. Here’s another of those oh-so-obvious security tips that many homeowners neglect. Use a good quality wide angle peephole or a digital viewer to see who’s at your door – and to check their credentials, if you don't know them.
Monitor doors with a smart bell. A smart doorbell connects to an app for your phone or tablet. Its camera will show you who’s at your door, and you’ll be able to talk to them as if you are at home, even when you’re actually at work or on the go. (Yes, many thieves do ring the bell - not out of politeness but to check whether anyone’s at home before they attempt a hit.)
Install a security cam. While a DIY networked security camera won’t allow you to communicate with visitors, it will record footage of anyone approaching your home’s entry and let you keep tabs on your home from afar. If, despite your other precautions, you experience a break-in, you’ll have evidence to show the police.
Keep your garage doors closed. Open garage doors are an "open" invitation to burglary. Even if you're nearby, you may not be aware of an unauthorized someone rooting around in your garage. An automatic garage door closer with a choice of timed settings is a great home security device. Or install a pass door in your garage door for easy access, so you won’t be tempted to leave it open.
Lock garage doors, too. Always lock your garage doors, as well as the linking door that leads from garage to house. PS. Take this wise advice from garage door pros: Play it safe. Never leave your garage door remote in your car. And make sure the remote is equipped with today’s rolling code technology.
Clean up your yard. Trimming trees and shrubs reduces potential hiding places for someone casing your house for a robbery. Yard clean up minimizes the possibility that a thief will either make off with valuable household equipment left lying around (such as hedge clippers or a stepladder) - or use it to help break into your home.
Utilize security lighting. Exterior security lighting, particularly motion sensor lights, will discourage anyone skulking around your house after dark. Don’t forget interior lighting too - not that single bulb which is a dead giveaway the house is empty - but lights you can remotely switch on and off from wherever you may be.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.