Home Security 101: Is Your House at Risk for a Home Burglary?
Any number of circumstances might cause someone to become concerned about home security. Perhaps you’ve purchased a new home in a relatively unknown neighborhood or a family member will be home alone. Perhaps someone you know has suffered a break-in. Whatever the reason, it’s smart to perform a thoroughhome security assessment; you’ll never regret having taken the time to consider your security needs before someone attempts a break-in. The following is a list of seven factors you should consider when determining whether your home is at risk for burglary:
- Crime in the neighborhood. Do you know the crime statistics in your neighborhood or abutting neighborhoods? Find out. You are at greater risk if you live in a high crime neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods. Your local Police department should have this information.
- The protection your neighbors have. Often thieves just target the most vulnerable home in the neighborhood. If your neighbors have home security systems in place, you probably want some prominently visible security measures as well.
- Secluded situation. Often the quality that originally attracted us to a home—its distance from the road, the quiet of the surrounding woods, the privacy given by nearby trees and shrubs—becomes a cause for concern once we’ve moved in. A secluded situation can make it less likely that neighbors or passing motorists will notice a break-in while it’s occurring.
- Vulnerable areas in back. Even if your house is on a city street, surrounded by houses on every side, if you have French doors or sliding glass doors at the rear of your property, perhaps hidden by a back yard fence, you could be at risk for a break-in. The key question is how visible are the points of entry?
- Major renovations. A renovation or addition to your home brings strangers into the vicinity. Some companies, of course, employ workers they have known for years, but others rely on more transitory labor. The reputation of a company is based primarily on the quality of the work and the price, not, unfortunately, on the trustworthiness of every employee on the job. Renovations increase the risk that you’ll be a victim of burglary.
- Visible valuables. The best strategy to protect your property is to keep valuable items hidden from view in cabinets, basement or second-story rooms. But keeping valuable items out of sight is not always an option—you’ll probably balk at moving the new painting you’ve purchased for your living room into the bedroom closet. If you have expensive, desirable items in plain view, consider investing in a security system to protect them.
- Household employees. If you’ve known your cat sitter, plumber and electrician for years, there’s no need to worry. But if you employ or will soon employ new people, you might consider the increased risk. Will you or someone you trust always be there while they are working in your home? Sometimes the employee is honest but unwittingly spreads information about your valuables to a boyfriend, girlfriend, relative, or neighbor who is less so. Household employees can be a weak point in home security measures.
The vulnerability of your home comes down to the desirability of its contents and the measures taken to make it appear, and be, impenetrable. After assessing your risk, it may make sense to consult a home security professional to help you design a residential security system that meets your needs.
For more information on what you can do to protect your home and family from threats, check out our new guide, "How to Keep Your Home Safe: Home Security Options for 2013."