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  • Ten ways to improve your home security

    Did you know that there are over 1.1 million burglaries each year, according to the most recent FBI data? That’s the equivalent of one burglary every 28.2 seconds.

    Aside from housing all of your possessions, your home should be a safe place for you and your loved ones. Locking your doors and closing the windows are a good start, but to really keep your home safe, a security system is advised. Only 13% of burglaries are solved, so the added protection and deterrence security systems are a great benefit.

    Security systems have come a long way over the years, and modern systems are more versatile than ever. From digital security cameras to remote controlled locks, many security systems like Security by Reliant are automated and controllable through an app on your phone. This provides you with access to all the most important information regarding your home right in the palm of your hand, bringing you peace of mind.

    However, if you want to go the extra mile and learn more ways to protect your house beyond a security system, or if you rent or are not able to purchase a home security system, our home-security experts have compiled a list of 10 tips that could help deter criminals from burglarizing your home.

    Secure Your Home Garage1. Don't keep valuables in plain sight

    You'll notice one of the common threads on this list is simply not making yourself an available target — it’s by far the most important piece of advice we can give. If it doesn’t look like you have much to steal, it can be enough to encourage burglars to move on to the next house. If you have a nice car, keep it in the garage. If you have a big TV, keep the windows closed at night. If you just got something new and expensive, don't leave the box by the street. The last thing you want is to be the lowest hanging fruit on the tree.

    2. Forget the “hide-a-key”

    The problem with having a hide-a-key is that you need to put it in a place that is relatively easy to find and remember — but this also makes it easy for an experienced burglar. The internet is also filled with articles on “best places to hide a key,” which tell burglars exactly where to look. Instead, opt for a smart door lock that can be unlocked with a key as well as a unique user code. This code can be shared with friends and family, allowing them access to your home without having to risk a spare key being found by a burglar.

    3. Don’t let them know you’re gone

    To continue this idea of working as a team, if you are ever away from home for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to have your neighbors collect your mail, mow your lawn and do other things that prevent your home from looking empty. Even leaving your car in the same spot can be a tip off to burglars that your home is empty and a potential target. If you aren’t friendly with your neighbors, you can consider leaving a few lamps on in the house to give the appearance that someone is home as well as putting a hold on your mail through the U.S. Postal Service so you don’t have to worry about it piling up. The biggest fear of most burglars is confronting a homeowner, so make sure your home doesn’t have a bulls-eye on it. 

    In addition, don’t post vacation photos or information on social media until after you've returned. Most of us can’t wait to share our vacation experiences with others on Facebook or Instagram, but waiting until your vacation is over can prevent a break-in. Posting vacation plans and photos is basically announcing that your home is empty, and something that thieves can use to know which homes are a target.

    4. Don’t overly conceal your house 

    Even with all these precautions, sometimes the best course of action is simply not offering a way in. Avoiding high hedges around doors and windows means burglars and robbers don’t have a covered way to sneak in. High privacy fences and other concealing features can also encourage burglars to target your house. 

    5. Avoid doors with glass near the handle

    In a similar vein, doors with glass around the handle are also enticing for burglars, who can quickly break the glass and gain entry into your home. Don't make it easy for criminals. 

    6. Invest in motion-activated lights

    Motion-activated lights, especially as part of a larger automated home system, can be a perfect last-ditch way to keep burglars and criminals out of your home. A sudden spotlight can often be enough to convince a burglar to give up on his break-in attempt.

    7. Keep your second floor safe

    While your first-floor doors and windows may be armed and ready to go, we often forget to ensure that our second floor entry points are just as safe. Window sensors, glass-break detectors and locks are also vital to keeping burglars from trying to enter your home through the second floor. Make sure you close all windows at night and while you're away, and think about using smart plugs to turn on a light or two while you’re gone to give the appearance that someone is home.

    8. Have police inspect your home 

    If you are unsure whether your home is actually secure or not, many police departments are happy to provide home inspections to members of the community. With their knowledge, they can help you understand potential risk factors and areas where you might be susceptible to break-ins and other dangers.

    9. Window locks 

    Windows are known to be the weakest point of entry, and while most home security systems like Security by Reliant offer window sensors that sound an alarm if there’s an intruder, there are other measures you can take to make sure they don’t even get to that point. One is window locks. These highly effective yet affordable locks are perfect to use on basement windows and first-floor windows and will deter burglars from your home. 

    10. Use common sense 

    Common sense will prevail the majority of the time. Most criminals, especially burglars, are opportunists. By simply not tempting a criminal to bite, you can avoid ever becoming a target in the first place. Always be aware of your home and its surroundings, especially how it might look in the eyes of a burglar.