When you’re protecting your computer, you want to think like a hacker. When you’re protecting your car, you want to think like a car thief. So it makes sense that when it comes to protecting your home, you want to think like a burglar.
Now, we don’t mean you should make a list of friends to help you form an Ocean’s Eleven-style crew, or start looking online for someone to fence hot items. Instead, take a good look at your home and the ways you would get in if you wanted to rob it. Those are the spots that deserve reinforcement and coverage from your security system.
If you’re having a little trouble thinking on the wrong side of the law, keep reading because we’ve got some information about burglars and how they choose spots to break in. Once you know that, it will be easier to put protection in place.
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Now let’s take a look at how to think like a burglar.
According to surveys of actual break-ins, here are the parts of your home burglars are most likely to break in through:
• Front door - 34%
• First-floor windows - 23%
• Side doors - 22%
• Garage - 9%
• Basement - 4%
• Second-floor windows or doors - 2%
Wondering why burglars would choose an area? We’ll break down what they’re looking for and how you can make it less attractive as an entry point.
The front door is the natural place to break in because a good burglar will make it look like they’re walking into a home they own. Or if they’re doing a quick smash and grab, most front doors can be kicked in with little trouble.
You definitely want a motion sensor watching your front door no matter what. You should also install a high-quality deadbolt with a heavy-duty strike plate. That prevents the burglar from picking the lock or just kicking the door in. If your front door has a lot of glass, you might consider replacing it with one that’s solid.
The reason burglars go for the first-floor windows next is that people usually leave them open at certain times of the year. Many windows also have bushes or trees covering them, so burglars can strike without being seen.
Make sure that you have locks on these windows and that you remember to close them when you aren’t home.
If your home windows are closed or easily visible to the street or neighbors, burglars will go for a less conspicuous side or back door. You can make these safer by putting a wooden or metal rod in the track to prevent it from opening. Then just make sure you have a glass-break sensor installed in case the burglar decides to smash it.
A garage door is actually easy to open, but then a burglar has to get through the inside door to get to the house. If you have a deadbolt on the inside door, most burglars won’t even try it. And a motion sensor watching the door will catch the more tenacious ones.
If you’re going out of town, you can padlock your garage door closed and make sure you aren’t storing anything valuable in there. Consider installing a motion-activated light above garage door to stop burglars from sneaking up on it at night.
This is just about the same advice as a garage. Be sure to padlock any exterior basement doors, and make sure the doors are very strong wood or metal. Attach the lock hardware securely so a burglar can’t dislodge it with a kick. Then be sure to deadbolt the basement’s interior door.
Despite what you see in many movies, most burglars are going to ignore second-floor entrances. These are harder to get to, and it’s easier for someone to spot them breaking in.
However, if you have a second floor patio with a staircase, treat it like a first floor. Also, be sure not to leave any ladders around the yard, and trim back trees so a burglar can’t reach windows by climbing.
Knowing this, you might be tempted to leave second-story windows open when you leave the house, but that will also put them higher on a burglar’s list of targets. Be sure to always close and lock any windows when you step out.
Now that you know how burglars think, give your house a good look-over. You might be surprised at some of the problems you see. And remember, if you can see a way in, so can a burglar.
Fortunately, most problems are easy to fix. And, again, we can’t stress the importance of having a good security system to alert you and the authorities when someone tries to break in.
SimpliSafe is a great option because it’s simple to install thanks to no-drill wireless sensors; you aren’t locked into an expensive multiyear monitoring contract; and it’s easy to upgrade. You can buy a basic hardware package today and add more sensors as you need them. Plus, it includes non-security sensors like fire, freeze and carbon monoxide to keep you safe as well as secure.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.