It only takes a cursory glance at the local newspaper to find an article about a burglary that has taken place. The 2016 FBI Crime Statistics Report (which covers the 2015 period) reports that while there was a 2.6% decrease in property crimes compared to the 2014 data, property crimes resulted in losses of an estimated $14.3 billion: a staggering amount.

Imagine coming home only to discover that your home has been ransacked, and your hard-earned belongings have been taken. Certain items such as televisions and games consoles are replaceable; other items are not, such as your family heirlooms, keepsakes and photographs.

There will never be zero crime, however, there are several options as to how you can reduce the possibility of being a victim of a property crime.

Burglary Prevention Tips

It may be common sense, but do lock your windows and doors. It is easy to forget to lock a bathroom window when you are rushing in the morning, or forget to shut the kitchen window when you have burnt the toast. If your doors are aging, they will easily be kicked in.

Having established that your windows and doors look secure and protected, the addition of a burglar alarm can also act as a visible deterrent to burglars (although in some neighborhoods burglar alarms are routinely ignored when they go off, so make sure you get yours routinely tested annually so that your neighbors know it is not a mistake when it goes off).

Keep all keys and valuables hidden away. The time the burglar will be in your house is small; they want to be in and out as quick as possible, and so by having your valuables hidden or tidied away, you are making their life harder!

Light up your home! Movement activated porch lights, driveway and garage lights are a deterrent to burglars, but ensure that you set them to avoid being activated by people walking past on the street or nocturnal animals. Areas that are not visible from either the street or your neighbors, such as garden outbuildings or alleyways, can be lit by switch controlled lights: you do not want to provide a light source for burglars to commit their crime. However, do not overcompensate: leaving lots of lights on whilst you are out of town can be a beacon in the night telling all that you are away. Draw your curtains if you are away for the night and leave a couple of lights on inside that provide an ambient light that suggests you are in.

Gravel paths and driveways provide the burglar with a noisy entrance to your property, and can potentially alert your neighbors to an intruder if they know you are away.

Additionally, choose garden furniture that is heavy such as cast iron; light wooden furniture can easily be moved to help a burglar enter your building.

Be selective with the types and location of plants you grow in your garden. Plants can act as a natural deterrent to burglars, for example, growing creeping juniper with its thorny stem and foliage.

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