Take a moment to imagine this scenario: you return home after a long day, expecting the clean and quiet of your own space; instead, you find your belongings scattered, valuables missing, and your safety in question.
Robberies are financially stressful, emotionally draining, and overall unsettling experiences — and the only thing worse than being robbed is the possibility of being robbed again. You don’t have to turn your home into Fort Knox to protect against burglaries, though; here are a few simple precautions that can go a long way.
Call your trusty neighborhood locksmith (Lockbusters is the highest rated in NYC!) to change your locks and make sure all your points of entry, inside and out, are secure. The locksmith will be able to spot any weak links in your home and can help you protect against future intruders.
Don’t leave valuables in sight of the street or neighboring apartments. Store expensive outdoor appliances (such as your grill) in the garage, and keep expensive stereo equipment and electronics in a cabinet or placed out of view from the outdoors. At the very least, install curtains and close them when you leave the house. If you recently got a new TV (or anything else of value), make sure you hide the box when you throw it out.
If you have an alarm system installed, make sure to display “Protected By” stickers in a prominent location to deter burglars from ransacking your home. If you don’t have an alarm system, consider getting one installed, especially if your neighborhood is prone to burglaries.
Renters are 85% more likely to experience a home invasion than those who own homes, so installing a security system is particularly important if you’re sharing a building with other people.
Although hiding a spare key under the doormat or behind the flower pot may be convenient, it also gives robbers easy access to your home. Consider giving your keys to a trusted neighbor whom you could call in the event that you get locked out. If you don’t know your neighbors or don’t feel comfortable giving them a key, consider purchasing a combination lockbox for your front door.
Nothing says, “I’m an easy target for break-ins!” like a completely dark house. Installing any kind of exterior lighting, especially motion sensor lighting, can deter intruders from breaking into your home. If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord to install lights in the hallways if they’re not there already — there’s nothing a thief likes more than a dark corner to hide in.
If you know no one’s going to be in the house after dark, leave some of the inside lights on — this can lead possible intruders to believe that someone’s home. You can even leave the TV on, but if you’re going to be out for a while, a kitchen light should suffice. Consider installing fluorescent light bulbs to keep your security measures environmentally-friendly (and your energy bill low).
While break-ins are scary, the likelihood of a second one occurring after you take these precautions is low. If you decide to reinforce or change your locks, make sure you consult a professional to ensure that the job is done right.