10 Tips to Prevent a Home Break-In

Preventing Home Break-ins

Hearing an unusual noise in the middle of the night or finding your front door ajar when you return from vacation is a homeowner’s nightmare. With crime rates escalating year after year, the chances of your home being broken into are ever-growing. Taking steps to prevent a home break-in can significantly reduce this risk, and thankfully, there are plenty of tried and true methods that homeowners such as yourself can implement today.

While no single method may be enough to stop a property crime from occurring, using a combination can ensure your belongings remain safe even if a thief does make it into your home. Whether you’re planning a vacation or simply want to step up your level of security, implementing any of these security tips can help prevent a home break-in and lower the chances that a thief will successfully cross your threshold.

1. Audit your home security

Knowing your home's current security status will help you determine which security measures to implement, which to upgrade, and which you can skip out on. You may be surprised to find that elements of your home (i.e., windows, doors, outdoor areas, etc.) already have adequate security features to prevent a home break-in. On the contrary, you may find some security concerns in your home. Some home security features that may already exist in your home may have an impact on your home insurance. Make sure to speak with you dedicated Morison Insurance broker about any existing home security features.

Burglaries can happen no matter what neighbourhood you live in, and a home security audit is the first step in understanding what measures should be taken to update your security to keep your belongings and family safe. An audit can be completed by yourself or a family member. Still, you should be sure that you consider all possible threats to your security, including weak entry points, shrouded windows, lack of lighting, and more. Downloading a home security audit guide will help you ensure no detail is overlooked. If you would rather leave this task to someone with a keen eye, hire a professional.

2. Choose the right home alarm system

There is a wide range of home alarm systems on the market in Ontario to prevent a home break-in. Not all of them are built the same. Varying in features, advanced settings, and price, finding the right home alarm system for your property means taking your family, habits, and budget into consideration. Whether you choose a system that sets off an alarm when your front door is opened or a doorbell security camera with a microphone, there are plenty of ways to deter unwanted visitors with these innovative devices. Sometimes, a security sign on your front window is enough to discourage thieves.

Another perk of choosing the right home alarm system? There are home alarm insurance discounts for installing a home alarm system.  This method is seen as one of the most effective at reducing your risk of burglary, so be sure to talk to your insurance provider to find out what it means for your unique plan.

3. Consider the safety of your doors and windows

Do you have a sliding glass door? How about an old home? These particular factors may mean your house is more susceptible to break-ins than others. While replacing exterior doors and windows can be pricey, the cost is worth it when trying to prevent a home break-in.

If swapping out your low-security entryways is not in the cards for your budget, you can consider DIY methods to increase security as well. While not consistently effective, sometimes just the slightest increase in difficulty when opening a door or window is enough to deter an intruder. For example, insert a sturdy stick or pole in your sliding glass door or window frame to make it more challenging to open. Attaching a secure pin lock will have a similar effect.

4. Install high-security locks

The locks on your doors and windows are designed to keep your doors shut should someone apply a small amount of force, but some locks will give easily should a moderate amount of force be used to gain entry. Invest in a quality lock for your front, back, and side doors, and install additional deadbolt locks on all that have access to the outside.

High-security locks cannot be lock-picked, drilled, or cut and are made of heavy-gauge or stainless steel. Smart Locks can also be considered if you want to keep your security system digital.

While on the topic of locks, you should also think about where you store your keys. If you are accustomed to leaving a key hidden under a plastic rock outside your front door, it may be time to rethink this decision. While it may be convenient for you to get back into your house should you forget your keys, it's convenient for intruders, too.

5. Install security lighting

Burglars love darkness. They thrive in the shadows where they creep around your home and pry open windows in the cover of night. Installing a single motion sensor light is enough to stop them in their tracks. Ideally, you want your exterior lights to illuminate the entire perimeter of your house and garage doors. Exterior lighting will help you see who is on your property and will indicate to intruders that you have a security system in place. It may even make them believe you are home.

When considering safety measurements for the interior of your home, lighting can also come into play. A Smart Home system can turn lights on and off throughout the day and continue to do this when you go on vacation. Potential burglars often watch houses for days before breaking in. The more it looks like someone is home, the less likely they will be to try and enter.

6. Clear blind spots

Planting bushes or trees near your windows may have created your lawn’s aesthetic, but they can be a potential risk to home security. The more coverage a thief has when trying to pry open your windows and doors, the more secure they feel. Bushes obscure would-be burglars from people passing by on the sidewalk or road and make it difficult for you to see them.

While cutting down a big, beautiful tree may not be high on your list of desires, you can install lighting in that area or ensure your tree is pruned for maximum visibility. If privacy is a concern going forward, installing blinds or drapes can help make the interior of your home less visible to the outside. As an added plus, curtains obscure your belongings from potential intruders as well.

7. Consider your home layout

Is your 85-inch 8K UHD HDR TV in plain view of the road? Do you have expensive electronics, art or decor displayed in front of your picture window? Before burglars break into a home, they inspect it, peeking into windows and looking for signs of affluence. The risk must be worth the reward, and if they suspect they'll find a bounty of expensive items inside your home, judging from what they can see through your front window, your house will likely become a prime target. Consider rearranging your room or installing curtains to make your home less of a target for burglars.

8. Take care while on vacation

Whether you will be away from your Ontario home for a weekend or an extended period of time, it's essential to protect your property when you are travelling. Smart Home systems can help, allowing you to set lighting timers inside throughout the day and exterior motion-sensor lighting at night. In addition, consider stopping your mail delivery if you travel more than a week. Full mailboxes are a clear sign to burglars that you are not home and give them the go-ahead to make a stop-in. Before you leave for your vacation, you should also store valuable items in your safe, including those you sometimes leave out, such as jewelry or keepsakes.

9. Be careful of what you throw away

This is especially true around the holidays but holds importance year-round. When burglars inspect the exterior of your home, they look for clear signs that your house is worth breaking into. Expensive items often come in boxes–some of which are large and obvious. If you have recently purchased something expensive, dispose of the box yourself or break it down completely. Any hints you give thieves that your home is full of expensive items will increase their motivation to get inside.

10. Invest in a safe

What happens if a thief does make it inside your home? While you can't stop them from taking belongings that are left out, you can secure your valuables in a heavy safe that they will not be able to carry. We recommend investing in a fireproof safe so that your bases are covered no matter what kind of disaster befalls your home.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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