Most people just want some peace and quiet to enjoy their homes and spend time with family and friends. It’s disturbing when your neighbors are constantly posting doorbell camera video of every person or animal who comes anywhere near their front door.
Many of these neighborly alarms turn out to be just misunderstandings: no, the utility guy was not stealing your tools—he was just trying to let you know he was there to mark where underground water and gas pipes are buried. No, that kid wasn’t trying to break in—he was just dropping off a flyer from his scouting troop announcing a food drive.
Sometimes, unfortunately, the alarms are legitimate. Many a thief has been recorded in an act of “porch piracy,” stealing a package that was just delivered. Others are captured testing the doors of parked cars to see if they’re unlocked.
Keeping your family, home, and valuables safe takes thought and planning. Learn 8 ways to theft-proof your home, inside and out, to give you more peace of mind.
Too many homeowners give burglars and thieves an open invitation by leaving cars, doors, and windows unlocked. Don’t leave keys or valuables in the car, tempting thieves to break windows to get at them or steal the car. Lock your car and garage doors every time you leave your car.
Don’t keep your garage door opener remote in your car. One smashed window, and a thief can learn exactly where you live from the registration card you keep in your car. Expect a visit to your house soon after your garage door opener is stolen from your car.
Likewise, lock your windows and doors whenever you leave the house, even if it is only to mow the back yard. Burglars study their targets, and they’ll know that the front door is unlocked while you’re out back. Oops, there goes the family silver.
Install Motion-Detecting Lights
Lights that come on when a person or animal gets too close to your house can be an effective deterrent to would-be thieves. They don’t want to call attention to themselves, so exterior lighting can make them think twice.
Complement outdoor motion-detecting lights with indoor motion detectors that will sound an alarm if they sense motion inside the house when they’re activated.
Many DIY home security systems come with built-in web-connected video capability. You can see what’s happening around your home even when you’re away. The cameras record video you can later share with law enforcement if something doesn’t look right or an intruder gains access to your home.
Don’t Post That You’re Out of Town
Save the vacay pictures for when you are safely back home. It’s a mistake to announce your travel plans on social media, especially if you haven’t limited access to your posts to just your friends. Thieves are delighted to know you won’t be home when they bust in to steal your jewelry, your big screen, and your valuable artwork.
Use Timers on Lights When You’re Away
While motion-detecting lights dissuade burglars outside, keep your home looking lived in when you plan to be out of town by using timers on lamps inside the house. Set them to turn on and off at times you’d ordinarily do that when you’re home. Light up the living room, and when those lights go off, time your bedside lamp to switch on.
Smart home systems that regulate your thermostat can also link to smart LED light bulbs or light switches and turn on or off with a command you issue through an app on your phone.
Use Fencing and Landscaping Strategically
Law enforcement officers will tell you that most burglars are lazy. They want an easy target so they can get in and get out fast. Climbing over fences with pointed tops is not high on their priority list.
Likewise, crawling through thorny rose bushes or other prickly plants can cause thieves to cross your home off their list. Deny burglars hiding places by keeping your shrubs trimmed and your windows clear, so anyone trying to climb in can be seen from the street.
Upgrade Doors and Windows
Hurricanes are a fact of life in South Florida, and your home should be ready for severe storms. Sadly, thieves can take advantage of your misfortune if your home is damaged in a storm, picking through your possessions that are out in the open because of storm damage to your home.
South Florida homes within a mile of the coast or that routinely suffer high winds are required to have impact windows, and homes further inland should have them too, as storms get larger and more powerful. Impact windows use strong materials that resist attempts to break or breach them, helping thief-proof your home both inside and out.
Similarly, impact doors help secure your home with strong resistance against break-in attempts as well as severe weather. Both impact windows and doors add energy efficiency, and your insurance company might give you a discount when you install these improvements to your home.
Remember that USA Home Improvement can help South Florida homeowners with financing for home renovations. Eligible customers may take advantage of PACE financing. As a Ygrene Platinum Contractor, we participate in a variety of financing programs that may be able to help you fit necessary home improvements into your budget.
Use a Secure Mailbox and Install a Safe
Thieves don’t have to enter your home to steal valuables. Then can steal your mail instead and possibly learn personally identifiable details about you that will help them gain access to your bank and brokerage accounts, your credit card accounts, and perhaps even apply for loans in your name. Get a locking mailbox that keeps mail secure until you open it with a key.
Old movies often showed “safecrackers” locating wall safes behind artworks. Now, safes that bolt to the floor, using electronic locks with security codes you determine can protect your valuables and thwart a burglar’s nefarious intentions.
Secure Your Shed and Put a Broomstick in Your Patio Door Track
Only the most devoted burglar travels with a fully outfitted tool kit. You can decrease the chances of theft from your shed by securing doors and hinges with Allen head or hex screws to thwart a thief who is carrying only a standard Phillips screwdriver.
Sliding doors are an easy mark for thieves. Deter them with a strong broomstick or large dowel in your slider’s track. It acts as a door jam and makes it difficult or impossible to open the door even if a thief has defeated the lock.
Take a walk around your house, inside and out, to identify vulnerable areas and more ways to theft-proof your home. If you need new doors or windows to add necessary security, contact USA Home Improvement, your South Florida Ygrene Platinum Contractor.