Count slowly to 15. By the time you get there, a burglary will have taken place. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the utmost authority on crime, a burglary occurs somewhere in America every 15 seconds.

What’s more, the FBI reports that between 2001 and 2010, burglaries increased by 2 percent in 2010 (2,159,878, burglaries) when compared to 2001, accounting for 23.8 percent of crimes against property that year. While the count decreased to 1.7 million in 2014, it still cost Americans over $3.9 billion in stolen property. Perhaps the decrease is because, as a country, we’ve been taking security seriously, but are we doing enough? Set aside some time to look at your home and see if you can do better.

 

How Are Your Locks Holding Up?

You can have the strongest deadbolt lock in the world. However, if the screws that secure the strike plate into the door jamb are too short, all a burglar has to do to gain entry is raise his or her foot and give it a good, swift kick. Popular Mechanics recommends inspecting your deadbolt lock screws. If they’re less than 3 inches, replace them and add strike reinforcement plates to hold the strike in place and keep the surrounding wood from shattering.

Or perhaps you want to make your locks smarter. Smart locks do away with the need for keys; which prove to be the weak link in a strong security chain if they’re lost, entrusted to a dishonest repairman, or left in a “secret” hiding place — places any burglar worth his or her salt is sure to look. Smart locks are unlocked with a numerical code entered into a keypad or using a smartphone. Some of the latest biometric locks recognize you by scanning your fingerprint or your iris.

 

How Safe Is Your Safe?

Since you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your valuables, you need a safe to secure them should the unthinkable happen. However, don’t leave it out in the open. Burglars don’t want to spend that much time in your home; they’ll just pick up the safe and be on their way. You need to bolt your safe to the floor. Many safes come with pre-drilled holes for just that purpose. Try to put it in a place a burglar is least likely to look (i.e., not your bedroom!)

 

Moving On

As critical as locks are in warding off burglars, consider taking other security measures to deter burglars from even getting as far as the door. Being opportunists, burglars are on the lookout for homes that they can get into and out of quickly, quietly and without being observed. If you can deny them these three factors, they’ll keep moving on to a house that’s a better prospect:

 

Quickly? Locks take care of the quick factor since it will cost valuable minutes, but if the cover of night or overgrown shrubs obstruct the view from passers-by, they may take the chance.

Observed? Keeping bushes trimmed and trees free of low-hanging branches erases the obscurity factor. Plus, installing security lights peels away the cover of darkness. Whether on a timer or motion-activated, the bright lights not only send a signal to burglars to stay away, they ensure that no one in your family takes a nasty fall when coming in at night. If there’s one thing a burglar hates more than an in-person witness, it’s a surveillance camera.

Quiet? A barking dog may not make you popular with your neighbors, but then it won’t make you popular with burglars either. If a dog doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, an alarm system will. According to a recent survey sampling 422 jailed burglars, 60 percent said that the presence of an alarm system would be enough to make them move on to another target.

 

By implementing the suggestions above, the time you spend on your home today will help ensure it doesn’t appear as a DOJ statistic tomorrow.


 

Author bio: Wes Wernette is Head of Marketing at FireKing Security Group in New Albany, Indiana. The company focuses on broad-based security and asset protection in residential and commercial markets with products like safes, fireproof file cabinets and more.