There’s no place like home. It’s your sanctuary, your castle, your domain. It’s the only environment where you control who gets close to you and your family, so it’s the environment where you should feel safest. But when a burglar targets your home, that sense of security can quickly be shattered, leaving you and your family feeling vulnerable and violated. Summertime tends to be a peak time for burglaries, so today we’re sharing some tips to help you protect your home.
According to FBI statistics from 2010 (the last year for which statistics are available), burglary is by far the most common threat to your home. A burglary occurs somewhere in the U.S. every 14.6 seconds and there are over 5,400 burglaries every day. Almost three quarters (73.9 percent) of all burglaries occur on residential property. Here are a few more facts about burglaries:
- Most home and apartment burglaries happen during the daytime when people are away at work or school.
- The months of July and August have the most burglaries, with February having the fewest.
- Most burglaries are committed by young males under 25 years old who are looking for small, expensive items that are easy to carry and easy to convert to cash, often for drugs. Common items stolen are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, phones, laptops, and other small electronic devices.
- 70 percent of burglars use some force to enter a home, but about 30 percent of burglaries are classified as "unlawful entry," which means the burglar gained entry without force, often through an unlocked door or window.
- Ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, channel-lock pliers, small pry bars, and small hammers are most often used by burglars.
- Although home burglaries may seem random, most involve a selection process. A burglar's target selection process is simple: Pick an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and the best escape routes.
Protecting your home and family from criminal intrusion should be one of your top priorities. Follow these tips to make your home a less attractive target for burglars:
- Consider installing a home security system. Homes without security systems are two to three times more likely to be broken into.
- Use solid core or metal doors with heavy duty deadbolt locks, locking knobs with dead latch mechanism, and heavy duty strike plates for stronger protection against break-ins at all entrance points.
- Block sliding doors and windows with a wooden dowel or stick placed in the track when you leave.
- Have adequate outdoor lighting to eliminate dark, shadowy areas and deter criminals.
- Don’t hide a spare key outside. Experienced burglars know all the places to look for hidden keys. Allow a trusted neighbor to hang onto your spare key instead.
- Trim your landscaping so it doesn’t provide cover for burglars.
- Secure pet doors when you leave to avoid providing a point of entry for thieves.
- Document your valuables including make, model, serial numbers, and photographs. Keep this record in a safe location. Consider photocopying important documents and the contents of your wallet.
Be a good neighbor.
Nothing can take the place of good neighbors, and you should get to know yours. Communicate with them often and establish trust. Good neighbors watch out for each other’s homes and can report suspicious activity, keep your mail from piling up when you’re on vacation, and even park in your driveway while you’re gone to give the impression that someone is home.
Be financially prepared.
If it happens to you, the last thing you need is to find out you don’t have insurance coverage for all of your stolen or damaged stuff. Call a FICOH agent today and we’ll help you review your homeowner’s insurance to make sure you’re financially protected – just in case. It’s a good idea to review your insurance policies at least once a year.