Did burglars really just make a run for it with your laptop and jewelry in hand? The last thing you want is to come home one day only to find your back window broken and your precious possessions gone.
A home in the United States gets broken into once every 13 seconds, adding up to over a million break-ins each year. The good news? There are preventive steps you can take to protect your home.
As you begin to tackle your spring-cleaning checklist, consider how you can better guard your property by taking the following actions.
1. Think Like a Burglar
No, this doesn't mean dressing in all black and skulking around your backyard late at night! What it does mean is looking for any areas of your home that make a burglar's job a little bit easier.
As you inspect your gutters and outdoor spigots, take a close look at your windows. See where there may be an easy point of entry—windows lower to the ground or covered by shrubbery, for instance, are usually targets. Then do the same with your doors.
If you need to, also take a look at your landscaping. You might want to thin out a few of the trees or shrubs you have close to your home, just to offer a little less protection for someone trying to hide from prying eyes.
In addition, peek at your door and window frames. Check to make sure there's no loose wood. If you find an area you're concerned about, consider adding an extra layer of protection by securing your door frames—and garage doors—with heavy duty screws. You may also want to upgrade to metal doors, which are harder to kick in.
2. Check Your Current Security
Spring cleaning is often the time when you go around your house seeing if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replacing any dead batteries.
Don't forget to do the same with your current security measures. If you have automatic flood lights around your yard or garage, for example, make sure all the bulbs are working. And if you already have a security system in place, it never hurts to run through some test drills to ensure everything is still in good working order.
3. Embrace Technology
High tech homes are all the rage today and it's easy to see why. When it comes to leveling up your security, there are many technology-based options that get the job done.
Some people turn to smart locks. If you're someone who has people coming and going from your home frequently—kids, dog walkers, sitters or cleaners, for example—you might not want to give out spare keys or leave a pair under the mat (a risky habit!). Smart locks let you give out codes to people or even set your locks to open during a specific day and time; they can also be easily reset so that you can rest assured no one is sneaking in without your knowledge.
Another feature that can help protect your home from burglars is light timers. You can set these to turn just a single light on and off during nighttime hours or have a series of lights come on when you're away on vacation, so it looks like someone's home.
Reduce Risk and Stay Safe
While you don't have to make your home into a fortress, there are plenty of small things you can do to lower the risk of a break-in. Add a few of these to your spring-cleaning checklist and you can stay on the safe track.
Lastly, make sure you're protected with a good home insurance policy
. This will help you get back on your feet should you be the unfortunate victim of a break-in.