Your home is supposed to be your castle. It’s not only the place you and your family live, it probably contains everything you hold dear. Some items may have an intrinsic value—your grandmother’s wedding ring, your father’s watch, your uncle’s coin collection—while other items are valuable only to you, such as photos and letters. To have anything in your home stolen or damaged by criminals would be tragic.
If there is a bright side to burglary statistics, it’s that more than 70% of burglaries take place when no one is at home. That’s why most burglaries occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when adults are at work and children are in school. Happily, most thieves are not particularly sociable and would rather not run into residents while committing their crimes. Unfortunately, that leaves about 30% of burglaries that occur when families are home, with someone being a victim of violence 7% of the time.
A Portland, Oregon, television station polled 86 convicted burglars, and found that most criminals were so averse to burgling an occupied house, they would move on if they heard a TV or radio coming from inside the house.
Similar research, conducted by the University of North Carolina, questioned 422 convicted burglars and found that 41% of burglaries were committed on the spur of the moment. Because there was no planning or surveillance on the part of the criminal, they were easily deterred by any indication that residents were home.
That same UNC survey showed that 83% of burglars would try to determine if an alarm system was present before breaking in, with 60% of burglars going elsewhere if a home was alarmed. Of those brave criminals who still broke in even when they suspected a home had a security system, 87% made a quick exit when an alarm actually sounded.
For those who think the same deterrent effect can be achieved by simply putting a sign in the lawn saying the house is protected by a security system, you’re underestimating the criminal mind. And if you think you’ll never be a victim of a break in because you live in a very nice neighborhood, think again. Nice neighborhoods are where burglars go because that’s where the good stuff is.
With all the above statistics in mind, there are two main ways to reduce your chances of being burgled:
- Look like you’re at home
- Install a security system
Look Like You’re at Home
- Conventional wisdom used to say that one needed to stop mail and newspaper delivery when going away for an extended period, so criminals wouldn’t see an overflowing mailbox and piles of newspapers at the front door. However, popular thinking is that any self-respecting burglar who is surveilling your home will notice that newspaper and mail deliveries have stopped and will know for certain you’re not home. The best advice is to have a trusted neighbor bring newspapers and mail into the house each day.
- Have that same neighbor regularly move your car a bit each day.
- And, depending on how good a neighbor you have, ask them to mow or rake your lawn so your front or back yard doesn’t look neglected, which is a sure sign that you’re not around.
- Install units such as Connect Security’s Smart Light and Appliance Module, which can control anything that plugs into a wall socket. You’ll have the ability to turn lights and TVs on and off with the tap on your smartphone or tablet, from anywhere in the world.
Install a Security System
- A home security system not only deters criminals but, as with the Smart Light and Appliance Module discussed above, has the added advantage of making it look like someone is in the house.
- Outdoor Wi-Fi night vision cameras can see 40 feet into the darkness, continuously record, and allow you to see what’s happening around your home in real time, 24/7 on your smartphone or tablet. (You can also make certain that neighbor we discussed earlier really is mowing your lawn and bringing your mail in.)
- Indoor Wi-Fi cameras can also show you live and recorded clips via smartphone or tablet and have night vision, letting you see 20 feet in the dark. Plus, two-way audio lets you scare the daylights out of anyone not supposed to be in your home.
- Wi-Fi doorbell cameras let you see and talk to anyone who comes to the door, so visitors won’t know if you’re on the other side of the door or the other side of the world.
- Wireless door and window sensors not only detect the opening and closing of doors and windows, but also cabinets and drawers, sending an alert to a central control panel, and to your smartphone or tablet.
- Motion sensors detect event the slightest movement over a large area. Leaving your pet at home? Don’t worry … the motion sensors are pet immune for animals up to 55 pounds, eliminating false alarms.
- Glass break detectors sense the audio frequency of breaking glass and immediately send a warning to a central monitoring station, which notifies police.
- Smoke detectors and heat sensors can detect a minute amount of smoke particles in the air or any rapid change in room temperature, alerting the central monitoring station, which notifies the fire department.
Keeping burglars from entering your home—convincing them that breaking in to someone else’s home is a much better idea—should be a homeowner’s priority, because a burglar can cause so much damage in such a short amount of time.
Forbes points out that a burglary usually causes property damage that can cost more than replacing stolen items. Windows and doors can be smashed, as well as much of the interior. Depending on your insurance, you are probably covered for much of the damage; however, Forbes says that filing a claim for damage done during a burglary will definitely raise your insurance rates, and the rate increase will be permanent. Plus, there are some things that insurance may not cover.
Finally, while we usually think of thieves stealing jewelry, electronics, and money, today a hot item for burglars is your identity. While in your home, criminals know where to go to steal your Social Security number or passport. It could be months before you realize your identity has been stolen, and the consequences could last a lifetime.
Keep burglars out of your home. Contact Connect Security for a free quote and start securing your home today.