- Use motion sensor lights, which are more cost effective than outside lights that are left on all the time. A thief is likely to have a change of heart if your property suddenly becomes lit up upon approach.
- Get a dog. Smaller dogs bark more, but are less physically intimidating. Larger dogs may bark less, but have a deeper, more threatening sound. Reward your dog for "alarm barking," which is barking whenever sounds of entry are heard. Have other security measures in place, however, as some savvy thieves bring dog treats, counting on the fact that most people socialize their dogs and encourage them to be friendly. If you don't have a dog, keep a large breed food dish outside with large kibbles on one side and water on the other and a "beware of dog" sign in your window.
- Look like you're at home while on vacation. Use timers for lights, TV and radio, but choose a random time setting because lights that turn on and off at exactly the same time every day look like they're controlled by a timer instead of by house occupants. Suspend your paper delivery, and have a neighbor pick up your mail, cut your grass and park their car in your driveway.
- Make a potential break and enter more difficult for a thief by keeping doors and windows locked and less appealing by eliminating visibility of valuables. Close blinds and shades so that your possessions are not on display. A thief is more likely to attempt a break-in if he can see something worth stealing.
- Keep your car keys within reach when you are at home. If you hear sounds of entry, press the panic button or car alarm to scare away the thief.
- Close your garage door when you are out, even if there is nothing valuable inside. An open garage with no vehicle advertises the fact that the house occupants have left, but if the garage door is closed a thief cannot tell if a car is inside or not. If you have windows in your garage, keep the curtains or blinds closed to eliminated visual access to the inside.
- A survey conducted by researchers at Temple University revealed that the use of an alarm along with other burglary prevention measures reduced the likelihood of a break and enter by 66 percent. Purchase and install an alarm system and have it monitored. If you cannot afford an alarm system, at least advertise that you have one with window decals. If there are other houses on your street without them, the burglar may skip your house and go to another, just in case you really do have active alarms.
- Clear away foliage from windows to increase visibility. A thief is less likely to attempt a break-in if there is nowhere to hide. Ensure that trees in close proximity to your house do not allow climbing access to your windows.
- Leave children's toys in your yard. Homes with young children are occupied more often, either by a stay at home parent or daycare provider. Parents with young children do not go out as often and are more likely to be home than childless adults.
Things You Will Need
- Motion sensor lights
- Dog food dish
- Alarm system or decals
- Children's yard toys
- If you must store a ladder outside, secure it with a chain and padlock so that it cannot be moved and used to gain entry to your home.
- If your door is bordered by glass windows, install double cylinder dead bolts, which require a key to be opened from the inside as well as the out. This prevents a burglar from being able to reach the deadbolt to unlock it by breaking the glass.