While home security systems will alert you to a break in, ideally you want to prevent a break in rather than deal with the loss, damage and fear in the aftermath of a burglary. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
But what can you do to discourage burglars? How do you convince a criminal that breaking into your home might be too difficult or simply more trouble than it’s worth? Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to protect your home and put enough fear and doubt into a burglar’s mind to convince them to leave your property alone.
While a security camera system can alert you to an intruder’s presence and even capture footage of the intruder, it can do even more. Having visible security cameras outside your home can be enough to discourage intruders. If a would-be burglar can see that they will be recorded, they are less likely to attempt a break-in.
It’s important to make sure the cameras are out of easy reach and have a battery back-up. That way burglars cannot easily disable the external cameras before the incriminating footage is captured.
Additionally, it should be clear that the cameras are recording. While you can purchase false security cameras specifically designed as a deterrent, you’re better off with the real thing. An actual camera setup will be more believable and if a thief is fool enough to try and break in, you’ll have proof.
Security Monitoring Signage
If you have a monitored security system, clearly displaying your monitoring company’s branding can be a deterrent. Most security companies will provide you with signs or stickers designed to let burglars know that the property is monitored. Make sure the branding is clearly visible from the street, as well as from any other potential access points like back or side gates or garages.
As with security cameras, people sometimes use fake security signage as a deterrent. But when it comes to home security, you’re always better off with the real thing.
Get a Big (or loud) Dog
Having a big or loud pet in your front yard can be helpful when it comes to discouraging break ins. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an aggressive guard dog. Any dog that will make a lot of noise when a stranger comes on the property may convince a burglar that a break in attempt is too risky.
You can also make use of signs letting people know there is a dog on the premises. While ‘Beware of the dog’ is popular, this can work against you. There have been cases where intruders have been bitten by dogs and owners have been found liable as they were deemed negligent in knowingly keeping a dangerous dog. An alternative is ‘Dog running free’.
Security Fence and Gates
A tall, sturdy fence and a locked gate is a great way to stop intruders from getting on to your property. A gate that automatically locks and requires a key or passcode to open reduces the risk of leaving the gate unlocked.
Strategically placed sensor lights can be a great way to discourage burglars. You can use them to light up main entry points, like front doors and windows, as well as points that are more obscured like side or back windows.
Sensor lights will use less electricity than simply leaving a light on all night and come with the additional surprise factor that can spook an intruder and make them think someone is home.
The majority of break ins occur through unlocked doors or windows. Using deadbolts that automatically lock when the door or window is closed can reduce the likelihood of these opportunistic break ins.
Window Bars or Screens
Large and easily accessed windows can be an attractive target for criminals. Installing window bars can turn these points of vulnerability into a powerful deterrent. However, many people find window bars unattractive. Other options include security screens and toughen glass windows that are much more difficult to break than regular glass. Unfortunately, these are not as clearly visible and may not work as a deterrent as well as highly visible window bars.
Signs of Life
The majority of break ins occur when no one is home. So, one of the best ways to deter burglars is to create signs of life around the house. Using timer lights to turn on and off through the house is a good way to create signs of life.
You can also use a wifi-enabled doorbell intercom that connects to your smartphone. That way, if someone rings the doorbell you can answer is using your phone, creating the impression that someone is home.
Home security isn’t just about making it hard for burglars to break in or get away with a crime, it’s also about stopping them even trying. Some of these tactics you can even put into practice in as little time as a weekend.