Common-sense home theft prevention tips
- Store lock boxes or safes in a hidden area of the house. The basement or lowest level is recommended to reduce the risk of heat damage from a fire.
- Keep all personal information (passports, financial statements, etc.) in a locked, fire proof safe or a safety deposit box.
- Close curtains or blinds to prevent thieves from taking inventory of your personal belongings and seeing the home's layout.
- Store ladders, tools and any other outside objects that can be used to assist in home entry in a locked shed or garage.
- Keep garage doors closed and locked. If the garage doors have windows, put the garage door release cord away from those windows.
- Replace worn keypad entry devices. After extensive use, the combination of numbers and letters could be visible, providing criminals with information that can be used to gain access to your home.
- Change the home's entry device access code periodically to prevent wear.
- Make sure the home’s address is visible for police, firemen and paramedics for easy identification of the home.
- Don’t post the family name on the mailbox or on the house.
- Don’t talk about vacation plans in public areas, such as the beauty shop, shopping mall or car rental office.
- Secure a wireless network at home. Computer access could allow cyber criminals easy access to confidential personal information.
- Before placing anything in the garbage, do the following:
- Shred all papers.
- Destroy old computer hard drives.
- Break down all boxes for high value equipment. Brand names on boxes alert thieves to items inside the house.
Ways to keep thieves out of your home
- Home security system – Deter thieves with noise or an automatic call to the police.
- Proper outside lighting – Thieves may choose to bypass a well-lit home.
- Strong exterior doors – Solid wood or metal provides stronger protection against break-ins.
- Block windows for the basement or locked window well covers – Use these to keep thieves from seeing or entering your basement.
- Locks for pet doors – Make sure your pet door isn’t a point of entry for a thief.
What burglary can cost you
- A home burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States.
- On average, a home burglary results in a dollar loss of about $1,600.
- About 30% of all burglaries are classified as "unlawful entry," meaning the burglar was able to gain entry without using force – often through an unlocked door or window.
- Nearly 66% of all burglaries are residential, and of those, 62% occur during the daytime, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., when no one is likely to be at home.
- Only 13% of reported burglaries are solved by the police.
- About 30% of private homes have security systems. Homes without security systems are two to three times more likely to be broken into.