Making Your Home a Hard Target For Criminals

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Most homeowners would be surprised to know how easy many burglars find getting into the houses they rob.
According to the FBI, in 2006 almost 30 percent of home burglaries were committed with no forceful entry.
This means the burglar simply walked into the home through an open door or window.
The other 70 percent, of course, involved some use of force.
Even in the case where a burglar is determined enough to actually "break" in to the house, one can make the affair much more difficult by turning their home into a hard target.
A hard target is simply a home where breaking in takes more time and effort that a burglar would typically want to invest.
A few, very simple measures can make your house much more difficult for a thief to enter.
The first is the most obvious, lock your doors and windows.
Thirty percent of the people burglarized in 2006 forgot this very simple security measure and their home, their belongings and their safety were all compromised due to this simple mistake.
Even if you're just walking over to the neighbor's house, take the extra few seconds to throw your deadbolt.
It only takes a thief a few seconds to slip in and grab something of value.
Some homeowners who have garages choose to park their cars in front of the garage.
Oftentimes, they make a potentially disastrous mistake: They leave the garage door opener in a conspicuous place in the car.
Most thieves who break into houses for a living will be quite capable of breaking into a car, as well.
Leaving the garage door opener accessible is just as dangerous as leaving the keys in the front door.
Remember to take it with you when you park the car outside the garage.
Always lock your windows.
In the summer, when many choose to leave the windows open to let in fresh air, use a burglar bar or even a short piece of wood set in the widow track to prevent it being opened enough to allow a person to slip through.
If you're going to be away, lock it every single time.
For second-floor windows, make certain there are no trees nearby that would allow a burglar to gain access to the window by climbing along a branch next to the window.
Keep the trees trimmed back far enough from the house.
In the event of a strong storm, this can also prevent window breakage from wind-driven branches colliding with the panes.
The best protection is a monitored alarm system.
Even in this case, it's up to the homeowner to make sure it's armed when they leave the premises.
A monitored alarm provides electronic security backed up by human beings who respond to alert conditions.
No matter how good these systems and professionals are at their jobs, they rely on the homeowner to use the equipment correctly.
Your best defense is making certain that you're diligent about using your security devices.
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