Updated April 5, 2022 . AmFam Team
Your home and everything inside it means a lot to you. So when burglars or vandals steal or damage your belongings, you’ll be eager to prevent it from ever happening again. So after you call the police, clean up and take note of what’s been damaged, take these tips into consideration.
You don’t have to become best friends with your neighbors, but having a good acquaintance a couple doors down can pay major dividends in terms of keeping your property safe. A neighbor you’re friendly with is much more likely to let you know if they see someone snooping around your house. You can also ask them to keep an eye on your property from a distance while you’re away.
If you’ll be gone for a few days or more, consider asking or paying a neighbor to mow your lawn, take out your garbage and perform other small tasks that would indicate that someone is home. A tight-knit community where neighbors look out for each other can deter even the gutsiest of criminals.
The last thing a vandal wants to be while they’re causing trouble is visible — so appropriately light your home and deny them any opportunity to damage it. Keeping all walkways and entry points lit is great for the safety of your guests, too.
Motion-detecting lights are great for protecting your home, since few things will make a troublemaker scatter like an unsuspecting flash of light. But you can’t just light the front of your home and call it a day — don’t forget the sides and back of your home to limit dark areas all around your property.
Because vandals and thieves are often opportunistic, any deterrent that will cause them hassle or extra work will often make them cross your home off their list. Climbing a fence certainly falls in that category.
Before you hire a contractor, though, you’ll need to check your property lines, speak with your neighbors and neighborhood association (if you’re a part of one) and research your municipality’s building codes. Different municipalities have different rules about how close you can build a fence to your property line, how tall it can be, what material it can be made of and more.
Make sure your fence has a trustworthy lock, and keep it locked whenever you’re not near it — a fence does no good if a burglar can just open its door.
Full-scale security systems include sensors that can detect unusual activity around your home, monitors/cameras that security professionals can use to spot intruders, and a control panel that allows you to arm or disarm your system, as well as customize your security preferences. Smart home security system also includes the following safety features:
Smart locks. With a smart lock system, you can assign unique entry codes that allow you to enter your home without a key — so you don’t have to worry about an intruder finding the spare under the big rock near your front door.
Window and door sensors. These sensors will alert you or a security professional if an intruder tries to break in through a window or a door.
Other safety sensors. With many full-scale security systems, you’re not only safe from burglars and intruders, you’ll also be notified if there’s fire, smoke or a water leak in your home.
Not only do finely-manicured bushes, shrubs and trees look good, but they can discourage criminals from breaking in to your home.
A thief is unlikely to try to get in via a window if you plant a thorny bush beneath it. You can also plant prickly plants along walkways, but make sure to trim them appropriately so a would-be thief doesn’t have an easy place to hide. Consider giving your neighbors a view of your walkways and entry points, too, so they can see if someone is snooping around the premises.
You’ve worked hard to enjoy some of the finer things in life — but when your expensive vehicle is constantly sitting outside your garage, you could be giving potential intruders a clue that you’ve got similarly luxurious items inside your home. In the same vein, keep easily removable items such as a grill stowed away when you’re not using it.
For expensive items inside your home, such as a new TV or artwork, position them so they’re not easily visible from the outside. If you’re throwing away that box to a new TV or a another valuable item, think twice about displaying it on the curb as it waits for the recycling truck — shred the box into many pieces, and stuff it into the recycling bin or into another box to conceal it.
If you’re going to be gone for a week, a day or even an hour, lock your doors. All it takes is one unlocked door for an intruder to get access to your home. Lock your car doors when you exit the vehicle, and don’t leave any valuables in clear sight from the windows.
If your house is broken into, spray-painted, egged or vandalized in any other manner, get it cleaned up quickly. A house that’s been vandalized and left for all to see for days or weeks says a couple things to potential criminals: this house is vulnerable, and its occupants either aren’t there or don’t care enough to fix it.
As soon as you notice something amiss, notify the authorities. After police have concluded their work and given you the OK to clean up, document the damage, call your insurance company and clean up the mess.
There’s no such thing as a burglar-proof home, but the aforementioned tips can help deter burglars from targeting your home. If your home is vandalized, rest assured that vandalism is covered by your American Family homeowners policy. For more specific information on your coverage, contact your American Family Insurance agent.
This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.