Jay GotraIt’s true, the stats are troubling. Roughly 2 million home burglaries are reported each year in the US alone. Of these burglaries, thirty percent of the perpetrators entered through entry points (ie doors or windows) that were left open or unlocked. Summer is the worst time of year for this type of crime, and homes that don’t have security systems are by far the most vulnerable. Those homes without the added protection of a social security can be three hundred times more likely to be burglarized than those homes that have this sort of protection. These statistics make plain the fact that all homes – (both those that have been rented and those that were purchased by the homeowner) are extremely vulnerable.

However, these statistics also reveal the fact that a few simple steps can severely decrease the likelihood of burglary. Below are 10 steps to help secure your home and prevent burglary.

Doors and Locks

Equip all exterior doors (ie those that open to the outside of the building, and to common hallways in the case of apartments or condos) with locks…and make sure that you lock the doors! As for locks, make time to research the strongest deadbolts that work with your door. Take the time and money necessary to invest in this…your safety is on the line here.

The best kinds of doors to use are those that are made of metal or have an extremely durable core. This is more difficult for potential burglars to maneuver or cut into.

As for the type of lock, a hefty deadbolt with a 1” throw bolt is a great choice.

As for the doorknob, many people often select these based on either convenience or aesthetics. However, this is another area to spend some time researching. Look for a high quality and weighty knob-in-lock set. Ensure that this high quality set is equipped with a sturdy dead latch mechanism as well. Additionally, when installing this set, don’t forget about investing in the strike plate too. This may seem like a small thing, but you don’t want there to be any gaps in quality when it comes to selecting your door and its associated components. Use three inch screws when you install a heavy duty strike plate. Also, don’t forget to install a wide angle peephole in order to get the best view of the area outside of your door. And most importantly, ALWAYS install new locks when you move into a new place. Whether this is an apartment or a new home that you have just purchased, change the locks ASAP. And always keep in mind that front and back doors are the most common point of entry for burglars in the case of residential theft.

When it comes to doors there are other things to consider. While sliding glass doors look great, they are very vulnerable. However, inserting a wooden dowel into the track or installing metal track blockers are great options.

Windows

In summer, or in warmer months, windows are an extremely common point of entry for burglars, therefore make sure to invest in secure windows, and to exercise caution when leaving them open. With this in mind, make a point to lock windows, install secondary locking devices outside of the latches. As for ventilation, leave no more than a four to six inch window opening.