The need to feel safe is universal, but perception of safety doesn’t always match reality. Living in a “nice” neighborhood generally makes people feel at ease, and statistically, some neighborhoods are certainly safer than others.
But reality is more complicated than that, and burglary target selection doesn’t stop at choosing a neighborhood. Burglars are observing the characteristics of individual properties within the same area. The physical attributes of homes and their surroundings can impact an intruder’s decision. Easy entrance, easy escape, and level of surveillance all factor in for an opportunistic home invader.
KGW News investigative team sent letters to 86 inmates serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections. When asked what an ideal burglary target looked like, one inmate wrote, “Home away from other homes, blind spots, older window frames, cheap wooden doors.”
Does your home have characteristics making it susceptible to break-ins? What steps are you taking to address them?
A professionally monitored home security system is always the smartest choice to help protect your home. In fact, 60% of burglars would change their minds if they see a monitored security system.
Still, it’s important to be mindful of your home’s vulnerabilities. Read on to learn about common weak points that can pose a risk, and what to do about them.
This spot is number one for good reason: More than 30% of burglars will enter right through the front door. Invest in keeping it secure.
First, if you have Guardian Protection as your home security provider, you probably already have a door contact on your front door. If you don’t, we strongly recommend that your security solution includes a professionally installed sensor here and on all other critical entry/exit points around your house. When a Guardian Protection system is armed and the monitored door is opened, the sensor will be activated, and an intrusion signal will be sent to Guardian’s 24-hour monitoring center.
Second, know what your door is really made of. The anatomy of a door isn’t exciting, but it is important. Characteristics that could be making your front door vulnerable include:
- Hollow insides. Your main exterior doors should be built to withstand an attempted forced entry. Many doors have hollow cores, making them easier to bust in. Go with solid wood or metal doors when possible.
- Inadequate parts. The area where the deadbolt lock inserts into the doorjamb is one of the door’s most vulnerable points. According to Consumer Reports: “All locks come with a strike plate that attaches to the door jamb… [F]ar too many of those included short screws that catch only the jamb and not the framing of the house. The kick-in resistance of most locks improves dramatically when we replace a stock strike plate with 3-inch screws and a box strike, which you can buy online for as little as $5.”
Important: Unless you’re well-versed in this type of work, we recommend hiring a professional. Also, remember that it’s usually a two-person job, so bring a friend and stay safe!
Third, it’s time to toss that hidden spare key for good. Guardian’s keyless smart lock works in tandem with our home security system so you can receive mobile notifications, lock and unlock your door remotely, and even give guests temporary access codes.
Fourth, clear away anything that would allow someone to approach your front door undetected, like overgrown shrubs.
Your windows are, well, the windows to your home. In addition to door and windows sensors, we recommend glass break detectors. Guardian’s glass break detectors can “hear” the sound frequency created by breaking glass within its range.
Some window-based air conditioners can make your home easier to enter. Many people simply install these units in an open window and let gravity do the rest. This common oversight can attract a burglar’s attention and allow them to gain entry. Not cool.
If you have a window A/C unit in your home — especially one on the first floor — take extra measures to secure it. Here’s a few tips from a police department who encountered this problem in their township:
- Install an air conditioner bracket to the outside of the unit. The bracket not only supports the air conditioner but attaches to the bottom of the unit and the house, making it harder to move the air conditioner.
- Add a sliding window lock to each side of the window frame. Depending on the type, the locks are bolted or screwed in. They prevent burglars from sliding the window up and down. Attach the lock into the frame just above the window. Tighten it securely.
- Measure the length from the side of the unit to the wall and then attach steel corner braces to each side of the air conditioner. Connect the other end to a secure section of the wall. Use screws or bolts to secure the brackets in place. This prevents thieves from pushing the air conditioner in or pulling it out.
A good security solution for a window A/C unit is to create what we call a “vented window.” Guardian can install a monitored device that allows your window to remained armed even while it’s open.
If your windows are on the second floor, be aware of anything climbable nearby, such as thick tree branches, a shed, or a ladder left outside.
Walkways beside your house, particularly ones shielded by shrubs and shadows, offer intruders easy hiding spots. They allow someone to get close to your home without being seen by passers-by.
Erase these blinds spots with motion-activated lighting and video surveillance cameras. Focus cameras on areas hidden from your windows or the sidewalk. With Guardian’s smart home system, you can even receive mobile alerts any time motion is detected in pre-determined areas. Better lighting can help deter burglars and give you more visibility at night.
Lastly, don’t neglect rarely used entrances, such as an exterior basement door, a sliding glass patio door, or even the garage. Signs that an entrance is rarely used could be even more attractive to a burglar.
Any pathway into your home that offers little to no resistance is a weak spot. Secure these entrances with locks, lights, and a motion sensor.
Need help identifying your home’s weak spots? Not sure what you need? Give us a call at 1.800.PROTECT (1.800.776.8328). We’ll send one of our security experts out to give you a free consultation.