As with many aspects of life in North America, home invasion and burglary, though gravely serious and often traumatizing for those who experience them, are bound to affect an unfortunate few. Though most of us never suspect that we might one day become victims ourselves, in many cases it is simply a matter of luck and timing as to who will be affected and when. Thus, while burglary will never have the opportunity to pose real problems for the vast majority of us, others, inevitably, will not be so lucky.
Though the risk of home invasion and burglary can never be eliminated entirely, various measures can nevertheless be taken to ensure that this risk is made to be as minimal as possible. Beyond simply protecting your home, family and personal possessions against the threat of burglary, however, making use of these strategies will also ensure that your home insurance premiums are kept as low as possible, and that any changes to these premiums will be minimized in the event that any break-ins do occur.
1. Invest in a good home alarm system. This is perhaps the most important first step to take in protecting your home against break-ins, with respect to both safety and reducing your insurance premiums. When it comes to actually purchasing a system, don’t be afraid to shop around; plenty of different types are available, and any prior research into what’s out there will almost certainly help you to make a better-informed decision. You should also make sure that you have an intimate understanding of how your desired system functions; does it cover the windows of the house as well, or just the doors? Will it use infrared room sensors and, if so, how easy or difficult is it to trip them? If and when you do have an alarm system installed, make sure that anyone else living or staying at the house also understands how it works and what to do in the event that it is triggered or needs to be armed or disarmed. Beyond this, any codes used to disarm the system should be given out only to people whom you trust to be responsible and discreet with them at all times.
2. Install deadbolts on any outer doors at ground level. Beyond simply being an inexpensive and effective way to protect any potential entrance points to your home while you are away, installing deadbolts can also yield reductions in home insurance premiums, making them an extremely sensible addition to the burglary protection arsenal. As with the codes to any alarm system that you might install (see above), keys to unlock the deadbolts should be distributed sparingly, and only to those in whom you confidently trust.
3. For further protection, consider installing motion-triggered outer lights and reinforced glass window panes. Additional protection certainly can’t hurt, and in the event that a burglar does target your home while you are away, a motion-triggered floodlight that illuminates the front yard or unexpectedly sturdy window at the back of the house could mean the difference between an attempted break-in and a successful one. In addition, many of these systems are relatively inexpensive, increasing the overall benefits of implementing such strategies even further.
4. Use common sense as much as possible, and try to put yourself in a potential burglar’s shoes. Where conventional methods of home protection might fail, insights as to why a home invader might target your house could help you to eliminate these factors from the equation, ensuring even stronger protection and lessening the chances of a break-in. When you go on a trip or leave your house for a number of days, for instance, have a family friend pick up any mail or newspapers that might accumulate and act as a tip-off to burglars. You might also want to arrange to leave a light on in the house while you are away (low-energy, high-efficiency light bulbs suit this purpose perfectly) or have a friend park their car in the driveway to give the impression that somebody is home. Alternatively, you might want to have a trusted friend or family member house-sit during your absence, which would likely allow for even greater security and peace of mind.