I’ve always heard that the best defense is a good offense. This saying applies to more than sports. A few months ago, a series of burglaries on my street motivated me to take a stand. I signed up for a local burglary prevention class and learned a few ways to protect my home. While I remain cautious, I’m not afraid anymore, and you don’t have to be afraid either.
Lock Your Doors
You’d be surprised how many burglaries occur in the middle of the day when people are at home with their doors unlocked. I started locking my doors and windows even when I’m in the house.
I also make sure my car doors are locked at all times, even when it’s sitting in my driveway between errands. I also never leave expensive items like my cellphone, purse or CD collection out in the open. Burglars look for easy targets, and they won’t take time to break into a locked car with no visible valuables.
Install a Deadbolt
Although I keep it locked, my simple front door practically invited burglars to walk into my home. I immediately bought a deadbolt and hired my dad to install it. When I can afford a new door, I’ll buy one with reinforced steel to further deter burglars and protect myself.
Secure the Garage
Of course, I put my garage door down every night, but I didn’t always lock it. Now, I lock my garage door and the door that leads from the garage into my home.
I didn’t realize, though, that burglars can use my garage door opener to access my home. I purchased one of several non-traditional garage door openers that don’t stay in my car. This way, burglars can’t steal it or use the opener to access my home.
Adopt a Dog
This suggestion makes sense, especially if the dog is yappy or protective. I don’t want a dog, though, so I borrowed my friend’s dog. I let it chew a huge bone and shred a tennis ball. Then I placed these items on my front porch. This simple trick gives potential burglars the illusion that they’ll face a big dog if they mess with my home.
Trim the Bushes
I love gardening, but my manicured lawn actually attracts burglars’ attention. They know I care for the outside of my home, and they figure I have nice things inside, too.
While I won’t give up my green thumb, I do plan to landscape with protection in mind. I’ll trim the bushes around my house so burglars can’t hide in them. I’ll trim tree branches so someone can’t climb a tree and get into a second story window. I’ll also plant a few prickly bushes around my front door so burglars won’t be able to hide there.
Hire Reputable Repair Contractors
I don’t trust strangers anymore. That guy I hire off Craigslist to repair my sidewalk might be a burglar who conveniently brings along a ladder he can use to access my second story when I’m not home. The delivery driver who innocently uses my bathroom might unlock the window so he can slip in later. Even a helpful stranger jogging on the street might be more interested in my antiques than in earning abs of steel.
Any time I have to interact with strangers at my home, I talk to them through the screen door. I realize it’s rude, but I’d rather be safe.
Partner with Neighbors
Piles of newspapers, mail and doorknob fliers give burglars a clear sign that I’m not home. I asked my next-door neighbor to watch my house, and I watch hers too. When one of us goes on vacation or works late, we pick up the mail, walk around on the freshly fallen snow and hold onto a spare house key instead of hiding it under a rock in the lawn.
These easy tricks keep me safe. I’m so thankful for that defense class. It made a huge difference in my attitude. Hopefully, I’ll never encounter a burglar in person, but I’m confident that my home is protected if someone does try to burglarize it.