McQuiston: Spring Flowers May Bring Unwanted Intruders

By ALLEN MCQUISTON

Everyone loves when the seasons change to warmer weather. Flowers are blooming, winter coats are put away, and vacations are being planned.

Unfortunately, with this change comes an increase in home burglaries.

If anyone has been burglarized, they know how violating it feels. What can you do to prevent this from happening? First, you need to understand some facts about home burglary.

According to the SafeWise Report [1], here are a few statistics that may surprise you:

  • Most burglaries take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. because most people are at school or work.
  • Majority of break-ins are committed by burglars who live within two miles of the targeted home. Because they live close, they may know your daily schedule.
  • It takes most criminals less than 10 minutes to complete a home burglary.
  • Almost 30 percent of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door or window while 34 percent enter through the front door.
  • They usually hit the master bedroom first because that is where most valuables are kept.
  • Someone is home during nearly 3 out of every 10 burglaries.

It’s important to stay on guard, especially when it comes to protecting your home and family. Installing a home security system is the natural first step, but it’s even more important to use it on a regular basis. Also, lock your doors and windows even when you are home (remember the final bullet point above).

There are other steps you can take that may be less costly:

  • Walk around the exterior perimeter of your home to observe any weaknesses. Pay attention to windows that show expensive electronics or valuables from the outside.
  • Consider asking your local police department to provide a courtesy home assessment of any vulnerable areas with your home.
  • Keep your shrubbery trimmed so that window and door openings are visible to prevent would-be thieves from using them to hide as they break-in.
  • Install curtains or blinds on basement and garage windows for additional privacy and protection.
  • Install motion lights around your homes exterior. You may want to focus bright lights on entrances and in the darker corners of your house.
  • Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your home when you’re away.
  • Keep your yard free of tools and ladders. Even if left out briefly, these can give an opportunistic thief help in gaining access to your house.

Remember that thieves are looking for valuables like cash, jewelry and fine art, something most homeowners policies cover, but with a limited amount of coverage. Talk to your insurance professional to make sure you have these and other items properly protected.

The more information you have, the better prepared you will be to effectively protect your home and family. 

[1] The Safewise Report “10 Surprising Home Burglary Stats and Facts” Alexia Chianis, February 13, 2018.

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