Home security is more than leaving a light on while you're away. It's investing in the peace of mind in knowing that you have adequate fire and carbon monoxide detection, an exit plan in case of fire, and protection from intruders. Fire and carbon monoxide safety can be insured by having the proper number of detectors and by properly maintaining them, but what is the best way to protect your home from a burglar?
According to the FBI, one home is broken into every 14.6 seconds. To understand what motivates a burglar and what they look for when choosing a home to rob, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte examined 422 convicted offenders from North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio. According to the study, a majority of burglars considered the presence of alarms, outdoor cameras, and other surveillance equipment when choosing a potential. Approximately 83% of the offenders said they would attempt to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60% said they would seek an alternative target.
Among those who discovered an alarm while attempting a burglary, 50% said they would discontinue the attempt, while another 31% said they would sometimes leave. Only 13% said they would always continue the attempt even after an alarm had been discovered. Other findings included that the presence of video surveillance was an effective deterrent. Nationwide Insurance reported that homes without security systems are three times more likely to be broken into. Almost one in three burglars reported entering via open windows or doors or forcing windows or doors open.
To get another perspective from those who commit the crimes, the investigative team at KGWH in Houston, Texas sent a survey to 86 inmates who were serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections. Regarding lights on in a home, “I would drive through upper class neighborhoods looking for many things, like porch light on with all window blinds closed,” wrote one inmate. When asked if they knock before entering? Yes. All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.
With this information, what does a homeowner do to protect themselves and their personal property?
- Invest in a home security system. The latest trends involve the use of smart phone technology, although industry experts expect to see a rise in hacking of these systems. Research which system and provider is best for you.
- Wait to post your vacation pics on social media until you get back home. Make sure the privacy settings on your accounts are strict.
- Lock your doors and windows.
- Install motion-detection lights around your home.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery while your gone for extended periods.
- Get to know your neighbors and the cars they drive.
Some of these tips seem obvious, but according to Nationwide Insurance a high percentage of homeowners admit to at least one of these risky behaviors during the past year. We don't want you to be one of them.