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Did you know that in the United States a burglary occurs at least once every 15 seconds? What’s more, 61% of home break-ins are forcible entries that, for the most part, happen in broad daylight – a time when many people least expect it. Despite these sobering figures, there are things you can do today to decrease your chances of being struck by a devastating burglary or break-in.

So, in honor of October’s National Home Security Month, Alarm and Electronics is passing along our top safety reminders to help you protect your home and family all year round.

1) Safety should be a habit, not an afterthought

Keeping your home and family safe requires thought, time, and effort every single day, not just a few times a year. Routine safety measures and checks, like the ones we describe in this list, should become automatic for you – a part of you and your family’s daily routine.

2) Always lock all doors and windows

Again, make this a daily habit. Have regular conversations with all members of your family, reminding them how important it is to lock all doors all the time. Be consistent and enforce consistency with your loved ones. It only takes a few seconds for a burglar to find easy entry into your home.

3) Buy additional locks

All locks are not created equal. Oftentimes the standard locks are simply not enough to keep a determined criminal out. The fact is, the more difficult you make it for a burglar to enter your home, the more likely they will give up and leave your property. So take a few minutes to inspect all of your current window and door locks. Are they all sturdy, strong, and reinforced? If the answer is no, you should invest in additional locks immediately.

4) Don’t broadcast your whereabouts on social media

This is a tough one for most people. But, all of this “sharing” makes it easier for strangers to keep track of your movements, and, as a result, to plan a home invasion when they think you are away. Don’t panic… we’re not telling you to run out and deactivate Instagram, but simply share your vacation posts after you’ve returned home instead of during or before your vacation. 

5) Install motion detector or timer lights

For the most part, burglars strike when they think no one is home and when they think their activity won’t be noticed. Automatic lights in and around your home combat both of these. Lights are an especially good deterrent when you are traveling.

6) Post alarm and warning signs

In our industry, signs are a no-brainer. It’s been proven that alarm company stickers or “Beware of Dog” signs posted around your home or the perimeter of your property discourage unwanted activity, regardless of whether or not you even have an alarm, or a dog for that matter. Remember, most burglars want easy, quick, no-hassle entry to your home.  These signs suggest otherwise.

7) Invest in a home alarm system

Alarm systems do more than just prevent incidents; they assist in notifying the authorities to protect your property and safety. They also help you keep track of every single person who enters and leaves your home, 24/7, whether you are there or not. The value of a home alarm and the peace of mind this brings you cannot be overstated.

8) Travel smart – ask for help

If you’re going to be away from your home for more than a day or two, have a trustworthy friend or neighbor pick up your mail and make sure no packages or newspapers accumulate around your home. Burglars seek out homes that appear empty, especially during the holiday season, which is peak travel time for most families.

9) Question strangers before opening your door

For some, this can be a bit uncomfortable. But, it shouldn’t. You and your family’s safety should never take a backseat simply because you feel uncomfortable verifying someone’s identity. That’s right – don’t just ask who that person is at your door or what they want, verify it. If someone says they are from the cable company visiting your home to make a routine upgrade, call the cable company. Confirm the technician’s name, id number, and purpose. If your guest is legitimate, they will not be bothered by your caution. If they’re not, well, you’ve just avoided inviting a criminal into your living room.

10) Trick or Treat … with common sense

October may be Home Security Month for us, but it’s also Halloween, a time when many people are more vulnerable than usual to criminal activity around their homes. Keep the kiddos safe by trick-or-treating in neighborhoods you are familiar with, and be sure to carefully inspect all of the candy they get before they start snacking. Never let trick-or-treaters inside your own home. In fact, if you’re receiving trick-or-treaters, it’s always wise to have more than one family member or friend in the home with you to prevent a potential forced entry.

By Michael Donnelly, U.S. Navy SEAL Veteran and Co-Owner of Alarm and Electronics

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