We finally finished moving into our new home. It was great. We thought we’d done everything right. But shortly after we moved in we were burglarized. We should have taken the time to crime-proof our home! Here’s what we learned from the experience.
Crime-Proof the Outside of Your Home
- Make it time-consuming to break into your home. Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.
- You need to have strong doors. Even the best lock will not deter a burglar if it is installed in a weak door. Outside doors and frames should be made of metal or solid wood.
- Install dead-bolts on the doors and windows. Garage doors also need strong locks. If you have a tool shed, keep it locked, since burglars can use the tools to break into your home.
- Consider putting security bars on garage windows, and other windows that are easily accessible.
- Keep your home well lit. Mount exterior lights that are out-of-reach of burglars; some burglars will case a house one night and unscrew the bulbs or unplug the exterior lights (the homeowner doesn’t notice), and they then return at a later date to do their work in the dark.
- Never hide a key anywhere outside; burglars know all the usual hiding places.
- Don’t leave your garage-door opener in the car when it’s parked, especially if the car is going to be parked for several days, such as at the airport. If you are leaving your car at home, ensure that your car keys are put away.
- When moving into a new property have the locks changed.
- Consider planting thorny bushes below first-floor windows. They should not, however, become a blind that burglars can hide behind while they break into your house through the front/back door or windows.
Crime-Proof the Inside of Your Home
- Give your home the lived-in look; set automatic timers for lights and radios for periods when no one is home, even during the day.
- Keep valuables under lock and key and well hidden. Do not leave personal documents in your home office or desk – burglars know to look for them there. Expensive jewelry should also be hidden somewhere other than the bedroom. Place these items in a lock box or safe somewhere else in the house.
- The message on your home telephone answering machine should simply say, “We are unable to take your call right now. We’ll return your call shortly.” Don’t mention your name.
- Keep windows and doors locked that you are not using, even if you are at home.
- Some suggest that you shouldn’t leave the curtains or blinds open at night.
- Look to see who is at your door (using the peephole or a window adjacent to the door), before opening the door.
- Consider installing an alarm system; the statistics suggest that when a home is protected with an alarm the chances that it will be burglarized are significantly reduced. Also, your insurer may offer a discount on your home insurance when you have an alarm system in place.
- Create an inventory of your home’s contents. Use this helpful Home Inventory Form.
While on Vacation
- Only tell people you know and trust that you are going away. Be careful not to discuss your vacation plans at the supermarket, salon, or other public places where you don’t know who may be listening.
- Don’t post your vacation plans on social media sites.
- Give a key to a trusted friend or neighbour so they can check inside the house every few days.
- Make the house look inhabited. Leave blinds or curtains open in their usual position. Put indoor lights on a timer so that they go on and off at appropriate times. Arrange to have your lawn mowed in the summer, or your driveway shoveled in the winter.
- Arrange to have mail picked up or held by the post office. Stop newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick-up “throw-away” circulars.
- Disconnect the garage door opener. Lock the door between the garage and the house. Check that all other doors and windows are locked.
- Park your car, (or another vehicle) in the driveway.
For more information about protecting your assets, or for a quote on your home or auto insurance, please call us at Park Insurance: 1-800-663-3739, or visit us for more details about Home Insurance.