Home break-in: 4 tips to deter criminals from doubling back
Someone breaks in to your home. You begin to think about what could have prevented it. A place that seemed impregnable now feels wholly penetrable, and you worry it will happen again. You’re concerned about your belongings, but more importantly, the safety of you and your family.
If you’ve already experienced a home intrusion, do your best to deter more. Consider this checklist and form a plan to reduce the risk of repeat robberies.
1. Acquire an alarm system. Garrett LeTourneau, owner of highly rated Imperial Surveillance in Arlington Heights, Ill., says alarm system equipment and installation starts at $99 and goes up depending on additional features. Monthly monitoring rates start at around $30. Today’s alarms systems can feature touch screens, smartphone compatibility and high-definition cameras. LeTourneau says his company offers help adjusting to the new technology. “We offer free phone support,” he says. “If you have questions, we can walk you through it over the phone.”
2. Locate a locksmith. Ken Puthoff, owner of highly rated Larry’s Lock, Safe and Security in Cincinnati, says you should rekey your locks after a break-in in case the burglar used a key to gain access or stole a spare house key. According to Puthoff, you should expect a service charge of about $60 and a $25 charge for each cylinder, or locking system, that needs rekeyed. “Then, the cost of copies of the keys for a family of five would be about $10,” he says.
3. Light it up. Patrick Thomas, owner of highly rated Bolt Electric in Hillsborough, Fla., says most security lighting systems consist of floodlights that can have motion sensors or automatic timers. Depending on the type and location, security lights can cost $100 to $400 per light to install. Some lights can be controlled remotely via smartphone. “It looks like someone is home turning the lights on,” he says.
4. Keep it safe. Puthoff says if you decide to purchase a safe, it should be designed to protect the items you’re storing inside. If you’re storing paper documents, a fire safe with a good lock is needed. A high-quality burglar safe is best for assorted valuables, such as jewelry. Puthoff also recommends placing the safe in a convenient location so you’ll actually use it. “When you get a safe, you’ll start thinking of all the things you should have been protecting all along,” he says.