If you’ve never had your house broken into, it can be all too easy to tell yourself it will never happen to you.
Most burglars are looking for an easy target—a place they can get in and out of quickly with minimal opportunities for the whole operation to go wrong. That means that taking a few precautions can make your home look much less attractive to criminals and significantly decrease your risk of getting robbed.
Here are a few to get you started:
Plan ahead when you leave for vacation
Break-ins increase in the summer, and for good reason—people are away from home and burglars know an opportunity when they see one. There are, however, some things you can do to keep your absence from looking too obvious. If you have someone willing to house-sit or even just park their car in your driveway, this is the time to ask. If not, make sure you at least have your mail and paper delivery stopped.
Also, maybe don’t advertise the fact that you’re in on a Caribbean beach for the week on social media. Burglars know how to used Facebook, too.
Be a good neighbor
Having solid relationships with your neighbors can help you with more than just a cup of sugar here and there. When they’re familiar with your schedule (and you with theirs), you essentially have an extra set of eyes on your house. Have a talk with your neighbors and give them the okay to call the police if they notice anything odd when you’re not home.
Keep a dog
To a burglar, a dog is an unknown. There’s no telling exactly how it will react to an intruder, and, in many cases, that alone is reason enough for the burglar to move on the next house. If you don’t have the time to devote to a dog, consider at least keeping a “Beware of Dog” sign near your front door as a deterrent.
Don’t leave a key out
Leaving a backup key under a doormat, flower pot, or nearby rock is pretty standard operating procedure a safe neighborhood—which is exactly why you shouldn’t do it. Burglars are familiar with all the tricks, and the last thing you want is to hand your front door key to a stranger.
If you really need an alternate way to access your house, try getting a keypad on your garage door.
Store your valuables somewhere weird
Like with hiding a key, most people keep their jewelry and cash somewhere in their bedroom. Burglars know this, and are much more likely to hit that room first. Outsmart them by keeping your valuables in a shoebox in the office closet, or under your bathroom sink.