According to the Insurance Information Institute*, there are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, based on FBI statistics. In addition, more than 65 percent of those incidents occur in residential homes. Furthermore, no two months have more burglaries than July and August, as there is generally a 10 percent increase in home break-ins at this time of the year.
Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the III, noted that jewelry and electronic equipment tend to be targeted most frequently.
“Once in your home, a burglar can easily steal computer equipment, televisions, CD and DVD players, as well as jewelry and other valuable items,” said Salvatore. “In fact, the average dollar loss per burglary is over $1,700.”
She added, however, that burglars will often pass over a home if it is particularly difficult to gain access to. Previous research has shown that if an attempted home invasion takes longer than five minutes, they will likely abandon it and try somewhere else.
With this in mind, the III offers homeowners and renters some tips for what they can do to ward off burglary attempts.
Make it hard to enter home
As previously noted, making a home invasion as difficult as possible is often the best way to avoid being victimized by theft. Using basic things like a deadbolt on the door and window locks can make it harder for a burglar to penetrate a residence. Homeowners may also want to consider installing a theft prevention alarm system. Doing so could help them save a certain percentage off their homeowners insurance policy.
Doors, windows should be sturdy
Just as the locks for the doors and windows should be top-notch, the doors and windows themselves should be high quality as well. The III says that doors and frames should ideally be made of metal or some type of hardwood—such as mahogany or oak—and be a minimum of 1.75″ thick.
“Even the best lock will not deter a burglar if it is installed in a weak door,” the III indicates.
As important as it is to prevent a burglar from gaining access from the outside, precautionary measures should be taken on the inside in case the thief was able to find a way in. Because burglars often target electronics, homeowners on vacation may want to uninstall them and place them under lock and key. Important documents should also be at the very least well hidden, as a burglary attempt may result in identity theft if they stumble upon sensitive personal information, the III adds.
Make home look as though its occupied
Another way to prevent a home invasion from taking place is to make the residence appear as though someone is still at home. The III says this can be done in any number of ways. One of the most popular ones is to simply keep the home well lit. This can be accomplished by either leaving a few lights on inside the house or installing exterior lights. It may also be wise to have them run on timers, so that certain lights will go on or off at specific times during the day or evening.
Rely on friend, neighbor
Vacationers may want to recruit a neighbor or close friend to help reduce the risk of a burglary from happening. This can be done by asking them to check on the house every so often or asking them to park their car in the driveway so it looks as though someone is visiting.
*according to the Insurance Information Institute on July 3, 2012
via Peter Montanez
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