During the holiday season, think of all the deliveries that are made to your house each day…Between the full boxes that arrive on your porch to the empty boxes on the curb on trash pickup day, burglars are basically hearing you say, “I just got a brand-new TV! Come and rob me!”


That’s just one example of some unwise habits homeowners have. Here are anti-burglary tips that you can use all year round to keep your family, home, and belongings safe.

  • Keep up with home maintenance and lighting. Trim trees and shrubs that create hiding places for burglars. Replace or repair broken and cracked windows. Keep outside entryways lit. Consider installing motion-activated or heat-sensing lights. But beware of leaving your exterior lights on at all times, which signifies the occupant is gone for an extended period of time.

  • Know your neighbors. Many people don’t really know their neighbors which is a shame for several reasons. When it comes to the safety and security of your home, your neighbors can be a great asset. If your neighbors know everyone who lives in your home, then they will know who is and isn’t supposed to be at your home and can better assess when there may be a threat while you’re gone.

  • Assess your home’s vulnerability. Walk to the curb and face your house. Ask yourself, “How would I get in if I were locked out?” The first thing you think of, whether it’s the window with a broken lock or the door that won’t shut all the way, is exactly how a thief will get in. Think like a burglar, and then address the issues that come to mind.

  • Use technology to make your home look occupied. In addition to lighting, smart-home technology has made it easier to make it appear like people are home, even when they’re not. Systems that remotely control lighting, music, and appliances such as a thermostat can help you achieve this. Though not considered smart-home tech, simple lamp timing devices available at hardware stores are also good for this purpose. If you are going to be out of town for an extended time, notify your local police department and arrange to have your newspaper delivery stopped. Don't post to social media your location or vacation plans.

  • Yes, it has to be said: Lock your doors. It’s amazing how many people think they live in a safe-enough neighborhood not to have to lock their doors when they leave. Some facts you should know: In 30% of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34% of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22% use the back door, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

  • Install a home security system with 24/7 monitoring. In studies of convicted criminals, the homes that burglars tend to skip over are those that have a security system installed.

  • Blare the sirens. Burglars are usually in and out in less than five minutes, and they know police can’t respond to an alarm that quickly. Their bigger concern is witnesses to their crime. For that reason, an external siren is invaluable, whether as part of a monitored security system or a DIY alarm. Even if you don’t have an alarm, it’s not a bad idea to invest in fake security signs and post them near doors.

  • Consider surveillance cameras. The Los Angeles Police Department started a program encouraging homeowners to install a Ring doorbell with video surveillance capability that allows homeowners to view what’s outside their door on their smartphone, in a neighborhood that was a target for burglaries. After Ring was installed in hundreds of homes, the burglary rate dropped by 55% (link is external), according to reports.

  • Get a safe. Precious jewels, passports, and other important documents belong in a fireproof safe, preferably built into a wall or bolted to the floor.

  • Mark your valuables and record details. Use invisible-ink pens or engravers to mark identifying information (driver’s license or state ID numbers) on items. Log serial numbers and take photos of your belongings. Taking out a rider on your homeowner’s insurance policy for specific items can give you peace of mind that if an item is stolen, your insurance company will replace it.

While these actions aren't a guarantee, as the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."


For questions about buying or selling real estate, contact us at 949-444-1601 or info@theswanteamoc.com.