You work hard to earn what you have, and the last thing you want is for someone to break into your home and steal from you. Unfortunately, the most recent FBI crime reports document an estimated 1.4 million annual burglaries in the United States.
Each of these break-ins costs the homeowner an average of roughly $2,400, not to mention the time of dealing with insurance companies, police reports, and home repairs or the emotional and mental impact.
You may not be able to make your home 100% burglar-proof, but there are some simple, actionable steps you can take so your home becomes less appealing to a burglar out trolling for easy targets.
One of the first entry points burglars go to is your front door. Is it locked? Good job – you passed the initial test.
Now, what else can you do to make your door stronger?
In most forced entries, the door itself isn’t what breaks. Usually, the weakest point is actually the doorjamb. A swift kick to a non-reinforced doorjamb splinters the wood. To combat this, newer doors are being made with heavy metal reinforcing plates.
Not in the market for new doors? Upgrade the security of your existing doors by installing metal-reinforced box strike plates with 3” screws.
Some other DIY door security upgrades include replacing existing deadbolts with quality Grade 1 deadbolt and swapping out the deadbolt strike plates and screws as well.
The second most common entry point in home burglaries is through windows. The good news is that there are some easy steps you can take to make your windows more burglar-proof.
For starters, inspect your windows’ existing locks and ensure that they work. Next step – actually lock them any time you are away from home and at night when you go to bed.
After-market security bars that are easy to remove from the inside, but keep the window closed.
A final security measure is a glass break sensor that will notify you if your window is broken. This can be a stand-alone sensor or may operate as part of a larger home security system (more on that later).
If you are one of the 18% of Americans who leave a spare house key hidden outside, you may want to rethink that practice. At the very least, choose a less obvious hiding place.
A recent survey found that 35% of homeowners said they stashed a spare door key in a fake rock and a scary 25% of respondents simply slid the key under the door mat (the first place a would-be burglar is likely to look). 
If you must have a spare, store it in your vehicle, at work or with a trusted nearby family member, friend or neighbor.
In addition to some strategically placed ornamental lighting, install motion-sensor floodlights that can be turned on after everyone has gone inside for the evening.
Pro Tip: Be sure to install the floodlights in a high enough location that a burglar can’t simply walk up and unscrew the lightbulb.
Now that you’ve illuminated your yard, where do you think a potential burglar will want to go? That’s right – they will be hiding anywhere they can.
You don’t have to remove all of your landscaping, but do conduct your own risk assessment of your property as it is now.
Are there easy hiding places like soft hedges and shrubs near doors, windows or other entry points? What can you do to make those places less inviting?
Are you curious about home security systems but wondering whether they are actually effective?
A study conducted by the University of North Carolina’s Criminal Justice Department found that 83% of potential burglars would try to find out if a house had an alarm system. If they learned that the house had an alarm, 60% would choose another, less well-protected target.
If an alarm system was discovered mid-attempt, 50% of burglars would always leave and 31% would sometimes leave.
This means that only 13% of burglars will always continue the burglary after finding out that you have a security system.
Now that you’re ready to look into them, there are many home security systems to choose from, both professionally monitored and non-monitored.
Learn how the systems work, then choose the best fit for you.
Complete systems typically come with a control panel, door and window sensors, motion sensors, surveillance cameras, a high-decibel alarm plus yard signs and window stickers to advertise that your house is secured.
An unlocked door provides easy access to your home and even the most elaborate and high-tech home security system does you no good if you don’t consistently arm it.
Complacency is dangerous and can put you and your home at risk. Whatever steps you take to secure your home, choose options that you are confident you and your family will commit to using on a regular basis.