Feel safer in your home with home security advice about alarm systems, smart locks, and break-in deterrents.
It's a sinking feeling in your gut. You get home after a day at work and know something isn't right as soon as you walk in. It's subtle at first; a chair seems out of place, the door to the closet is slightly ajar. Then, more things come into focus. Your television is gone, your jewelry box is missing, and your back door is open.
You're still in a state of shock while you file a police report, so the home security advice the officer gives you doesn't sink in. Only later when you talk to your neighbors does the idea of improving your home security start to register.
Why a Home Security System Makes Sense
According to the FBI, despite a decline in property crimes, there were still approximately 7,919,035 property crimes in 2016. Those property crimes, which include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson, totaled an estimated $15.6 billion in damages. And while burglaries accounted for 19.1% of property crimes, 71.6% of those were residential burglaries.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), which has different reporting methodology than the FBI, nearly doubles those numbers. The BJS recorded 14,611,040 property crimes in 2015, with 2.9 million of those listed as burglaries.
Either way you look at it, the numbers are a good reason to think about your home security. Oh, and just for some more impetus, the FBI reports the "average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,316."
Home Security Advice
When it comes to home security, the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people is a security system. There are plenty of good reasons to install a security system in your home. A monitored system can act as a fire alarm, or it could provide a way to "keep an eye" on things while you're away on vacation. If nothing else, an alarm system can act as a reminder that your window is open or your door isn't locked before you go to bed.
A home security system is also a crime deterrent, and even if someone does break into your home, the alarm will scare off burglars quickly. Ideally though, your home is secure enough that a criminal won't make it that far, and there is plenty of home security advice that can complement a security system to great effect.
Use your locks
Lock your doors and windows. Many burglaries are crimes of convenience, meaning it's easy to slip into an open or unlocked door or window just to see what's there. Lock your garage door, too. The Professional Locksmith of Chicago also recommends replacing your locks when you move into a new home as previous owners may still have a set of keys.
If you do change your locks, don't skimp on quality. Consumer Reports rates the Medeco Maxum 11*603 as one of the best locks on the market. This is not the most inexpensive lock on the market by any stretch, but it's less expensive than the emotional and monetary costs of experiencing a break in.
Hide the "hidden" key
Yes, having a spare key around in case you get locked out is a good idea. What isn't a good idea is hiding that key under the doormat, in your mailbox, in a plant, or any other place that thieves will look. Give your spare key to a trusted neighbor, instead. For that matter, a smart lock system is one option to consider if you want to eliminate the key issue altogether.
As with traditional locks, don't skimp on quality. A poorly designed smart lock can be frustrating to use, or worse, easy to hack.
Audit your home security
Walk around the inside and outside of your home and look for gaps in your security. Is the lock on your basement window loose? Are there plenty of places for burglars to hide, like bushes near your windows or dark corners where your outdoor lights don't reach? For that matter, are all your motion sensitive lights working properly?
Do you have a back door with plate glass that would be easy to break? Look at the second floor, too. Is there an easy way for someone to climb to a window on an upper level?
Hide your valuables
You probably have more than a few things that are easy and quick to grab and run off with. A laptop computer or musical instrument is easy to carry. Jewelry, cash, phones, prescription drugs, and credit cards can fit into pants or jacket pockets easily. Put these items in a safe if you can, or at least make them hard to find.
Get a dog
Adopting a pet is a major decision; however, if you're already thinking about it, a dog with a big bark is a significant crime deterrent. Senior investigative reporter Kyle Iboshi, of KGW News in Portland, Oregon, asked 86 inmates about their burglaries. Most burglars said they would stay away from a home with a dog. "Dogs are a deal breaker for me," said one inmate. "Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out."
Get a security system
Despite everything you might do to keep a burglar out of your home, there's always a possibility someone may get in. At that point, your best bet is to have a security system that will hopefully get them out quickly. Every security company is a little different, and you need to consider options like 24-hour monitoring, installation costs, contract terms, and guarantees.
Opinions are mixed on do-it-yourself vs. professional installation. One benefit of professional installation, however, is the knowledge and experience that professionals bring to the process. They can usually offer specific recommendations and home security advice that you won't get by installing a system yourself.
We hope you are never the victim of a burglary, but if you are, home insurance from Pekin Insurance can help you recover quickly. Talk to your Pekin Insurance agent today to find out more.