How to Protect Your Home from Intruders

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Whether you recently moved or have lived in the same home for years, you can always take steps to make your house or apartment more secure. Consider these tips to help keep yourself, roommates, family, pets and possessions safe.

1. Landscape with Safety in Mind

As you walk around your property, look for areas that could be potential hiding spots for thieves. Clear away any overgrown areas and blind spots to deter unwanted visitors.

2. Talk with Your Local Police Department

The police force can offer insight on past break-in trends in your area, so you are fully informed and can act accordingly.

3. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Take the time to meet and engage with people on your street and encourage your community to watch out for any suspicious activity when residents are away from home.

4. Light with Intention

Lighting can set the right ambiance inside your home, and outdoor lighting can make the difference of being targeted or left alone by thieves. Motion-sensitive fixtures can help add security and provide light when needed. You may also consider using automatic timers or remote-controlled smart lightbulbs to turn lights on and off in the house and give the illusion that someone is home.

5. Avoid Advertising a Shopping Spree

Thieves look for and steal newly delivered boxes on your front porch—called “porch pirating”—so consider delivering packages elsewhere or requiring a signature for delivery. Thieves may also look in your trash or recycling, which can indicate new purchases. Always remove these items as soon as possible.

6. Set a Safety Routine

Always establish a routine to regularly lock doors, shut windows, and turn on the alarm system every time that you leave home. Avoid leaving spare keys outside (e.g., under a planter or under a welcome mat), since thieves are aware of most hiding places.

7. Manage Visibility

Make sure you can clearly see who is at your front door without opening it. Avoid placing valuables where they will be visible from the street, and do not mount your home alarm panel in a spot that people can see you arming it from the outside.

8. Protect Your Outdoor Valuables

Because burglars also target sheds, garages and other outdoor buildings, always secure your items—such as grills, lawn mowers, bicycles, and other outdoor gear.

9. Create a Plan for When You Are Away

Hold your mail, stop your papers, and ask a friend or neighbor to remove flyers from your property. Arrange for snow removal and lawn mowing so you do not advertise to thieves that you are away from home.

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