Not all burglars are as dimwitted as Kevin’s foes in the Home Alone movies. In real life, the criminals that fancy your home a free-for-all are likely to be more conniving than clumsy, and if you aren’t proactive about seeing them coming, you won’t know when or if they’ve identified your home as a prime target. These practical steps toward outsmarting potential burglars don’t require you to set up burglar traps around your home, but they could keep you from feeling trapped in a dangerous situation.
Give Your Home the “Right” Look
A little curbside appeal goes a long way when it comes to making your home more attractive to visitors, but it can have the opposite effect on thieves. You should plan your outside space accordingly. To burglar-proof your property:
Eliminate hiding spots. Landscaping features like privacy shrubs, overgrown shade trees and fencing might add to the look and functionality of your property, but they can also provide cover for people with less than honorable intentions. Expose any potential hiding areas in your yard with motion sensor lighting and/or cameras.
Cover your windows. The easiest way for an intruder to get sights on your home’s valuables is by looking in the windows. Be conscious of any window that can be seen from the street, or even from your neighbor’s yards. If in doubt of a window’s potential viewability into your home, install a window covering just to be safe.
Conceal trash. Some thieves look through garbage to get personal information that can enable identity theft, and some look through garbage to find clues as to what kind of personal property you have inside the home. Either way, you don’t want thieves looking through your garbage. Keep garbage cans in a well-lit, specially designated garbage area, and avoid breaking down boxes, which can indicate new goods inside the home, until it’s time for pickup.
Clean your outdoor space. When you leave toys, tools or other costly items outside for an extended period of time, it indicates to potential burglars that you may be careless with protecting your belongings indoors, too. When play or work time is over, pack up.
Take Actions to Safeguard Your Home
In addition to paying close attention to the message your home’s appearance may be sending to would-be intruders, there are a number of things you can do behavior-wise to improve your chances of avoiding a home theft.
Join the Neighborhood Watch. And if there isn’t one in your area, start one. The concept is simple—you and your neighbors join together to monitor home security in your area, and the more eyes on your neighborhood, the better.
Install a home security system. There are many features to choose from, including door and window sensors, lights and cameras. ADT provides many home security package options, as well as a helpful comparison tool, to assist you in finding a solution that suits your needs and budget.
Protect your private life. This isn’t to say you can’t have a private life. Just don’t make it public, or let strangers in on it. When it comes to social media, avoid sharing about your vacations until they’re over and you’re back home. And if a stranger comes to your door, even to sell cookies, don’t invite them in; they may be casing your place for a future intrusion.
Identify the Signs of a Planned Burglary
Is your home already the subject of some shady robber’s interest? While you can’t know for sure, you can assess the likelihood of your home being viewed as an easy target. If you see any number or combination of these signs of potential burglary, revisit the steps above to protect your home.
Pay attention to strangers in the neighborhood. If you notice a handyman wandering through your neighbor’s yard, or a work truck driving back and forth through the road in front of your house, keep watch until you’re satisfied that nothing suspicious is going on. Burglars often pose as workers when casing a house or neighborhood for a future heist.
Be suspicious of unsolicited offers. Those strangers at your door may really be selling discounted roof repairs, but they may also be sizing up your home—and you—for theft potential. When in doubt, get proof of identity and call the parent company while your uninvited guests wait outside.
Take small changes seriously. If burglars determine that your home is a good fit for their plans, they may leave a subtle mark outside to remind themselves to return later. Small paint spots in the grass, misplaced welcome mats, ties around trees and even empty packages in the front yard may all be signs that someone has chosen your home as a target. Stay alert to anything that is out of place on your property, and contact authorities if you believe your home may be marked for burglary.
One of the best, and simplest, things you can do to protect your property from burglars is to invest in a home security system. An ADT Specialist can guide you through the many security features and options available to you, and help you decide on a customized system that suits your budget and needs.
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