When we think of the major threats to our homes, theft is often a threat that comes first to mind.
While not nearly as common as water leaks and burst pipes (FYI roughly 37% of all homeowners will experience water damage at some point), it’s still something you should take seriously.
In fact, according to the FBI, over 1 million burglaries are committed each year in the U.S.
Looking for ways to keep your property safe and help prevent theft? We highlight 8 important tips below:
#1: Keep Interior Lights on When You’re Away
To potential burglars, a dark house means an empty house. In fact, a recent study found that streets with good lighting experience significantly less crime than streets with poor lighting.
That’s why our first tip is to leave your lights on when you step out for a few hours in the evening or even going on vacation for a long weekend – it signals to passerby that someone is home.
If you want to take it a step further, you can even install a “smart lighting” system in your home to actually simulate the appearance of an occupied home. These systems can be set up to turn lights on and off on a daily schedule, in different rooms, and even at random.
Some vacation lighting systems even include dimming and other subtle settings that help to create the appearance that someone is home.
#2: Hide Your Valuables
Burglars don't want to spend a lot of time rummaging through a house for valuables to steal. Keeping your valuables out of plain sight from windows into your home can help keep your home from being targeted in the first place.
Once in the home, burglars tend usually start with the obvious places, like drawers, bedroom closets, and under mattresses. That means you can outsmart them by concealing your valuables in less-than-obvious areas – or even in plain sight!
Ultimately, the best places to hide your valuables are simply ones that burglars wouldn’t bother to look through. Think of places that are uninteresting, inconvenient or may be difficult to search, like your attic, basement, kid’s bedroom, broom closet, cupboard under the stairs, kitchen, and more.
#3: Hold Your Mail
Most robbers will avoid entering your home if you’re present, and nothing says “I'm not home” to trespassers like a mound of uncollected mail in your mailbox.
So before you go on an extended trip, make sure that your mail and newspapers are dealt with. This can be as simple as asking a neighbor or family member to swing by every few days to collect it for you. Or you can call your local post office to stop mail delivery until you get back (you usually have the option to hold for 3 to 30 days).
#4: Continue Regular Home Maintenance
Continuing from our previous point about making it look like you’re home when you’re on vacation, it’s a good idea to keep up with your typical home maintenance, like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and clearing snow from walkways.
For this, you may want to consider hiring a company to maintain your property while you’re away.
#5: Secure Easy Access Points Into Your Home
Keeping your doors, windows, and other possible entries locked and secured at all times is your first-line defense against theft. So whether you’re stepping out of your home for a few hours to run errands or a few weeks to travel to some far-off place, it’s important to make sure that these ground-level access points are secured.
This means installing locks on windows and doors and securing your garage door.
But for extra peace of mind, you should also consider installing Notion Sensors on these access points. If a door or window is opened while you’re away, you’ll immediately receive a notification to your phone, so you can take quick action.
#6: Avoid Sharing Your Vacation Plans on Social Media
When you share your vacation plans on social media, you’re essentially alerting everyone in your network that your home is vacant.
That’s why we recommend waiting until after your vacation to share your photos and videos on social media. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong eyes and ears.
Another option is to make your social media accounts private so that only approved followers can see what you share. On some platforms (like Instagram and Snapchat), you can even share content with an exclusive list of close friends rather than your entire network.
#7: Install Motion Activated Lights
Like we’ve already mentioned, when you go on vacation, you never want to give off the impression that you aren’t home. And a great way to do this is by keeping your indoor lights on (with or without the help of a smart lighting system).
But you can also do this for the exterior of your home. For example, by installing motion-sensor flood lights that automatically illuminate any dark areas around your home, garage, backyard, or sidewalk.
Not only do motion-activated lights cut down on energy costs and make lighting your home more convenient, they also can provide excellent protection against break-ins and vandalism.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully the tips above can help you protect your home (and valuables) from theft.