How to burglar proof your home

Burglar trying to pry open window on house

With more than 1.5 million home burglaries every year, it makes sense to take a few steps to burglarproof your home. According to a survey done by the Department of Justice, approximately another 1.5 million burglaries go unreported every year.

That’s one burglary per 50 properties, one burglary every 10 seconds.

But if burglars think it will take more than four or five minutes to break into a home, they will move on, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Making it harder for criminals is worth it.

“You don’t have to invest thousands to safeguard your home. Taking time to secure your home and your possessions doesn’t have to be complicated either,” said Russ Iden, vice president of Insurance for AAA Oklahoma.

Check for weak points

Iden said everyone should walk through their home sometime and pretend they are an intruder.

“Look around and see if there are any easy entry points or weak points,” Iden said.

Trim trees and bushes near doors and windows. While shrubbery and high fences add privacy, they also provide cover for burglars.

Experts also recommend installing motion sensor lights and exterior lighting that shines on potential hiding places in your yard.

If you have big windows or glass doors, be aware of what people outside can see inside your home. Decrease the visibility of your valuables such as paintings, televisions, computers or other expensive items, Iden recommended.

Take simple security steps

Many law enforcement officials will attest that there are a surprisingly high number of people who don’t lock their doors either out of habit, or because they don’t think they have to.

“Lock your doors, make sure you have good locks in your doors and make sure outside doors and frames are strong and made of metal or thick hardwood,” Iden said.

Installing a one-way viewer in your front door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain. Don’t neglect back doors and patio doors even if you have a fence or live in a gated community.

“Sliding glass doors – one of the most common points of entry for robbers – can be reinforced with special locks or by placing wooden rods or metal bars in the tracks they slide on,” Iden said.

And don’t forget about your windows. Make sure all window locks are securely fastened.

If your lock is worn or weak, replace it.

“Better safe than sorry,” Iden said.

Consider investing in a burglar alarm that alerts the police, fire department or other emergency services.

Prepare for vacations

Prime time for burglars is during vacation season. With fall break for many students and Thanksgiving travel on the horizon, experts urge homeowners to make their home look inhabited by using timers to turn lights on and off.

“Use discretion and avoid discussing vacation plans in public places, and never announce on social media that you are planning to be away,” Iden said. “Avoid leaving detailed out-of-office messages at work or over sharing your vacation pictures online until you’re back home.”

Nearly half of all burglaries are committed by somebody you may recognize.

Temporarily stop newspaper deliveries and arrange to have mail picked up or held by the post office.

Turn off the volume of your landline telephone ringer so that it can’t be heard from outside; by searching online, burglars can connect addresses with names and phone numbers to call and hear if anyone answers.

Before you leave, create a home inventory, Iden said.

“If you do need to file a claim, a thorough accounting of your possessions will make the process easier,” he said.

Don’t forget insurance

Make sure you have the policy you need to cover your prized possessions. Average loss due to a burglary was $2,316 in 2015.

“For greater protection and peace of mind, consider adding endorsements to your homeowners or renters’ insurance policy to cover valuables such as expensive jewelry, artwork or electronics,” Iden said.

For more information about homeowners and renters insurance, call your AAA insurance agent or insurance customer service, or visit

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