A home burglary takes place in the United States every 14.6 seconds. According to The Washington Post/Bureau of Justice Statistics, thirty-four percent of these burglars gain access to their victim's home by simply walking across the welcome mat and through the front door.
Before you rush out to purchase an elaborate home security system or guard dog to protect your property, you should know there are 11 simple things you can do to dramatically reduce the risk of loss.
- Purchase home insurance. With a variety of homeowner coverage options available, you can feel safe knowing your home and belongings are well insured in the event your home is burglarized.
- Get back to basics. Studies show that 70 percent of burglars are amateurs simply looking for an easy target.* It may sound like a no-brainer, but make sure all door and window locks are secured before you leave, including second story windows.
- A trusted neighbor is an extra set of eyes, so let them know anytime you'll be away from your home for an extended period. It's always a good idea to have someone watching for any suspicious or unusual neighborhood activity.
- Your house should look occupied at all times. Use light switch timers to turn lights on and off periodically. Also, leave drapes and blinds in the exact manner you do when home.
- Change the locks immediately if you ever lose your keys. Remember, a significant number of burglars walk right through the front door.
- Get a bit more creative when hiding your spare key. The welcome mat is no longer a safe haven. Consider leaving a spare key with a trusted friend or family member who lives nearby.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery when you're away for an extended period of time. The accumulation of mail and newspapers is a surefire way to let burglars know your residence is unattended.
- Keep all bushes, shrubs and trees trimmed. Burglars love to use lush landscaping as camouflage.
- Don't leave any valuables in plain view. Burglary is often a crime of opportunity and window shopping is an easy way to pick a target.
- Your home security can be compromised in 140 characters or less, so don't broadcast your family vacation or upcoming business trip. This includes 'tweeting,' 'updating,' 'checking in,' or uploading vacation photos to social media sites until you're home. In fact, studies show 65 percent of home invaders aren't strangers. Perhaps a friend on Facebook? Or a follower on Twitter?
- Fight back by using social media to your advantage. Update your sites to give the impression that you are home. This can deter any potential outside interest in your property.
Employing these simple, precautionary measures and combining them with the protection you get from Mercury's homeowner insurance can help provide peace-of-mind that comes from knowing your home is protected.