1. Keep all your doors and windows locked, even when you’re at home.
Especially when you’re leaving the house, even for just a few minutes, it’s important to check doors and windows to make sure they’re securely locked. Also, be sure each exterior door has a deadbolt lock.
2. Install a home security system.
Remember to always set your alarm when you’re out of the house or asleep for the night. As an additional deterrent, post signs in your yard alerting would-be thieves that your home is protected by a security system.
3. Get to know your neighbors.
When you know the people who live nearby, it will be easier to pick out strangers in your area. You can also think about forming a neighborhood watch group through your local police station to discourage thieves.
4. Don’t hide a key to your home outside.
Instead, give a key to a trusted friend or neighbor. If you must hide a key, keep it in a combination lockbox instead of tucked under a mat or inside a faux rock. Burglars know all the typical outdoor hiding spots for keys.
5. Install motion sensor lighting around your home’s exterior (especially near doorways).
That way, if an intruder attempts to break into your home after dark, the motion sensors will shine a spotlight on them.
6. Keep lights or a radio on when you’re not home.
Most burglars are looking for an empty home, and they’ll probably move on if it sounds like someone’s inside.
7. Secure your vehicle.
If you don’t have a garage, or if you must park in your driveway or on the street, always make sure to lock your car—and never leave valuables inside. Vehicle break-ins can occur even in the safest neighborhoods, and an unlocked car is an easy target.
8. If you have a home safe, bolt it to the floor.
Burglars won’t take the time to break into a safe while they’re in your home, but they are likely to snatch one up if it’s portable and not bolted down.
9. Place a hold on your mail while you’re away.
If you’ll be out of town for more than a couple of days, it’s wise to place a hold on your mail through the USPS Hold Mail service at your local post office. You can make the request online (opens in a new tab) from 1 to 30 days in advance.
10. Make sure you have adequate insurance.
Since the average loss from a home burglary is $2,799, it’s important to have the right amount of homeowners or renters insurance to protect your belongings. In addition, it’s a good idea to have a home inventory to catalog your most important items (including serial numbers for electronics) so that it’s easier to identify what’s missing and its value.