Whenever possible, have an alarm system installed. Place sensors on every door and window, including basement windows. Many companies offer an extensive selection of accessories, including keypads for garage doors and motion triggered video recording. During installation, make sure the technician hides any wiring because burglars will look for wiring to disconnect. It is also helpful to have keypads installed out of the main line of sight through a door or window.
Those lovely ornamental shrubs under your windows may make your home look more attractive, but they are great hiding places for burglars seeking to enter your home through a window undetected. Choose shrubbery that does not grow very high, keep them trimmed well below the window sill, or plant shrubs in between windows. You should also keep tree limbs cut away from upstairs access points.
Windows, Patio Doors, & Locks
Install locks on windows. To avoid unlocking by cutting through the glass, choose locks that must be depressed on the sides before the window can be raised. For patio doors, place a metal pipe or bar in the bottom track to prevent the door from being opened. You should have deadbolts installed as well. If there are large pieces of glass in the door, choose dead bolts that require a key to unlock from both sides. Also, do not leave spare keys under potted plants, door mats, landscaping rocks, or any other visible hiding places. Do not leave any keys in your mailbox, or put your entire name on the mailbox either.
Many people leave a light or two on in their home at night when they are away. This is a good idea but it is important to do this properly. Lights should be on timers. It can also be helpful to have a television on a timer as well. Additionally, your entrance should be lighted and keep your blinds or curtains closed. Do not leave windows open, even just a crack, when you are not home.
If you will be gone for an extended period, you can request a hold on your mail and newspaper deliveries so that it does not pile up. Better yet, have a trusted friend pick it up for you so there is no hint that you are not at home!
Whether you have an attached or separate garage, security is important here too. Even when your car is in the garage a simple steering wheel lock can be enough of a deterrent. For an attached garage, put a clamp on the track just above the roller to prevent opening. You can also install a peep hole in the door that opens into the house. If your alarm system offers video monitoring, consider having a unit installed in the garage. For detached garages, cover windows and install a dead bolt on the exterior door.
As you are planning the steps to take to protect the things most valuable to you, think like a burglar. Look at all aspects of your home as though you were the one trying to break in. This can help you find the areas of vulnerability that you might otherwise miss. A few extra efforts to secure your home can make a huge difference without spending a whole lot of money.