Living alone may give you the freedom to do as you please, but it also can come with a feeling of being more vulnerable to would be criminals. As a single homeowner or apartment dweller, you need to take extra precautions to ensure you are not surprised by an unwelcome guest. A little planning goes a long way to protecting your person, possessions and peace of mind. The good news is that according to the FBI, most burglaries happen in the daytime when no one is home, and crimes has been dropping since the ‘90s, with a 0.5% chance of you being the victim of a burglary.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure you’re not part of the 0.5%:
- Get to know your neighbors – it’s best to know who your neighbors are, so you can more easily tell if something or someone is out of place; and if you develop a trustworthy relationship with them, they are more likely to report an incident if they see one, call the police if you need help, watch your house while you’re on vacation or hang on to a set of spare keys which can help if you’re locked out.
- Create a safety net – ensure your trusted circle of friends know your routines and confirm they are apprised of any deviations. Keeping them informed makes it easier for them to know that you may need help if you’re injured or detained. Texting is a good way to keep connected.
- Don’t advertise your living arrangement or leave blinds open – if criminals know you live alone, you’re a potential target. Don’t tell co-workers and don’t tell casual acquaintances because you never know who they’ll tell. In apartment settings, remove any obvious signs that suggest single living. Close your window shades so people don’t know you’re alone. It also conceals tempting goodies that burglars might be tempted to take.
- Get a monitored home security system – a home security system is a great way to ward off would-be burglars. If you can’t afford one, consider fake security cameras and signage that suggests you have a dog or an alarm system – burglars look for easy targets.
- Use security gadgets – motion sensors and timers are inexpensive ways to create the illusion of more occupants by turning lights on or off when no one is home.
- Locks are key – upgrade your locks – if you replace the core of your existing lock with a higher security core lock, your protection increases. Always lock your doors, even when you are home. Strengthen your exterior doors by using a steel core door and consider using a brace along the tracks of sliding glass doors so that the doors cannot be slid open by intruders. Above all, don’t forget to lock your doors, both front and back.
- Be smart with spare keys – while spare keys are ideal for preventing lockouts, they do represent a security risk; the more keys you have floating around, the greater the risk. Make sure the people you give them to hold are totally trustworthy and don’t hide them in cliché places such as under the mat, over the door or under a rock. And if needed, change your locks. Your safety and peace of mind is well worth the expense.
- Fix any possible security risks – when you move into a new residence, ensure the lights are functioning inside and out, especially in parking lots and garages, and make sure doors and windows shut properly.
- Secure your garage – homes with electric garage doors have a major vulnerability – the manual garage door handle. Consider using a zip tie and looping it round the release catch.
- Get a dog – “man’s best friend” can also be a burglar’s worst nightmare as his bark suggests he might bite.
- Don’t give out clues that you’re out of town – an unoccupied home is a calling-card for a burglar, so make sure that you redirect your mail or have it picked up by a neighbor, suspend newspaper delivery service, do not have packages delivered in your absence and a have a neighbor or landscaper keep the lawn and hedges maintained. You should also consider putting interior lights on timers.
- Report suspicious activity – be constantly vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts – if something seems off, it probably is, so alert your neighbors or the police.
- Landscaping can be a lifesaver – criminals want to do their activities in a clandestine fashion so giving the bushes to hide behind is doing them a favor, not you. Keep your bushes low and your tree branches high so they can’t use them to climb onto your roof or use them to access your windows. Always maintain a clean line of sight on your property so you can see who is coming.
Security is about decreasing risks and vulnerability, while increasing the risks that a would-be intruder would take. Considering that criminals like easy targets, the objective is to minimize your profile as a target. The more measures you take, the less likely a would-be intruder would consider your residence an attractive prospect. They like going after low-hanging fruit – in other words, homes that scream rob me. Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Make your home safe by making it unsafe for burglars.
Securing your home provides you with greater comfort. And securing a home loan with PrimeLending offers you peace-of-mind because you can be sure you have the best rate possible and will have someone to be along with you every step of the way. Contact one of our home loan professionals to learn more about your options today.
From the PrimeLending blog by Jack Honig