Summertime is peak season for grilling, camping and… home break-ins? Unfortunately, warm weather makes it easier for thieves to access your home. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, burglaries are more likely to occur in July and August than during any other time of the year.
More than that, 34% of all home break-ins occur through the front door. Startling data from Nationwide Insurance shows that the majority (60%) of thieves enter through a home’s doors, and about one-third of these break-ins occur without the use of any force. In other words, burglars simply walk right in.
Your home is supposed to be your refuge from the world. The last thing you should have to worry about is staying safe in your own house. The good news is there are several things you can do to protect your home from burglary.
1. Replace Your Exterior Doors
If your home’s doors are old or functioning poorly, you could be making it easy for burglars to enter your property. However, even new homes can be vulnerable to front door break-ins. Unfortunately, many homebuilders cut costs by installing hollow doors. Your doors may look great, but it takes just a single well-placed kick for a burglar to bust the lock and force it open.
You can check your doors for hollowness by placing your ear against the door’s surface and tapping gently. If you hear an echo, the door is hollow inside. Home safety experts recommend upgrading to exterior doors made from steel, fiberglass or solid wood.
Upgrading your front door will also add curb appeal and value to your property. Than Merrill at the real estate investment and development company, Fortune Builders, writes, “Nothing has proven to be a better return on investment in recent history than a front door replacement. In fact, steel entry doors have been known to return approximately 101.8 percent of their initial investment upon resale.”
Remodeling magazine agrees. Its 2016 Cost vs. Value Report shows that adding a new steel front door brings an average 91.1% return on investment for homeowners nationwide. And homeowners who install fiberglass front doors recoup 82.3% of their money upon resale.
Bonus: Upgrading your exterior doors is also one of the most affordable home improvement projects.
2. Lock Your Doors
It sounds obvious, right? And most people actually do lock their doors at night. You might even have a ritual of going around the house before bed, checking all of the doors and windows to make sure they’re locked before you turn in.
However, the majority of home break-ins occur during the day. Nationwide’s data reveals that most break-ins happen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Do you really keep your doors locked all day? Do you have a storm door you keep open to allow the breeze to circulate in the summer? Are the kids running in and out all day?
This isn’t to say you have to keep your home locked up like a fortress during the day. However, if you’re going to run out for a coffee or take the dogs for a walk, it’s best to lock the door behind you. If you know you’ll be staying in for the day, protect your home (and yourself) by flipping the locks.
If you have tall shrubbery or thick landscaping around the perimeter of your home, you should also consider trimming it back. This will deter would-be thieves from waiting in the bushes to monitor when you come and go. In an investigative report prepared by journalists in Portland, convicted burglars shared how they chose which homes to break into, as well as what stopped them from targeting a particular house. The burglars stated that they specifically looked for homes with big fences, overgrown trees or bushes — all features that helped them stay hidden during a break-in.
3. Advertise That the Home Is Occupied
One of the best ways to protect your home from burglary is to “advertise” your occupation. In other words, make it obvious to the outside world that someone is home — even if you’re not.
Fans of the 1990 movie Home Alone might remember how Macaulay Culkin’s character, Kevin, used lights, props and music to make it seem like his home was occupied by lots of people. He did this to deter the burglars who’d identified his parents’ home as a target. And, sure enough, the crime duo avoided the house once they saw all of the activity.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to the extreme lengths Kevin did to protect your home from burglary. Even little signs of occupation will help. Leave a lamp or two on at night, especially if you’re going to be out of town for a few days. If you’re going on vacation, ask a neighbor or relative to pick up any newspapers or collect the mail from your mailbox. Most importantly, don’t post your vacation status on social media. Nationwide says that four out of five burglars check social sites like Facebook and check-in apps like Foursquare to find potential targets. If you’re going to share vacation photos online, wait until after you’ve returned from your trip.
4. Invest in a Home Security System
Adding a home security system may seem like a big investment, but there are many affordable options available. PCmag provides a comprehensive overview of several popular home security systems, including both monitored and unmonitored systems. With a monitored system, the security company receives a notification any time your system is triggered. If the company can’t reach you by phone to make sure you’re okay, it will call law enforcement to have police dispatched to your home. With an unmonitored system, only the homeowner receives alerts.
Smartphones have also revolutionized home security systems. Many homeowners like systems that integrate with an app on their phone. This gives them peace of mind knowing they can monitor their home even while at work or on vacation. If you decide to purchase a home security system, be sure to notify your homeowners’ insurance provider, as most insurers offer discounts to property owners who install security systems.
Contact Nu Look Home Design Today
Whether you’d like to protect your home from burglary, or you simply want to enhance your home’s beauty and value, new exterior doors from Nu Look Home Design will boost your property’s curb appeal.