You've spent thousands of dollars on landscaping, sunk countless hours into boosting your curb appeal, and painted your home to make it all it can be. Good work. It looks fabulous. Now we're going to tell you how to make it less attractive—to potential burglars, at least.
Here are 11 tips from Baltimore police and security experts on how to convince burglars that you're just too risky to rob:
- Lock up
Obvious, right? Yeah, but what about when you're in the house? Get obsessive about it. A third of burglaries occur without forced entry, through unlocked entryways or windows. And if you're upstairs or out back gardening, the thief will be in and out with your stuff in no time.
- Guard the Garage
Make sure the doors and windows to attached garages are secured, especially if your garage has a door (which should always be locked) leading inside your home.
- Keep it clear
Plant prickly bushes along fences and near windows, but "keep the windows and doors clear," says Baltimore City police officer Trae Lewis, so neighbors' views of entry points aren't obscured.
- Alarm it
Nothing says "go away" quite like an alarm-system yard sign. Monitored systems notify the police, and the siren will drive away all but the most determined intruder. Today's snazzy systems can even be remotely armed by smart phone or computer.
- Mind your trash
Don't advertise your high-end buys by tossing the wrappings in plain view on trash day.
- Add obstacles
Window guards or burglary-rated glazing on windows that are adjacent to doors also adds a layer of protection. Oh, and, yes, it's true—burglars hate noisy dogs.
- Look busy
Give off an "I'm home" vibe with timers on lights and a TV or radio when you're away. And avoid having mail, newspapers, or packages pile up.
- Bolster your weak spots
Add extra security measures—like supplemental locks and bars—to doors and windows. Exterior doors should have cylinder-type dead bolts and solid strike plates with three-inch screws to help prevent kick-ins.
- Zip it on Facebook
Don't post your every move on social media sites, says Robert Moll, sales manager for security company Protection 1, or announce travel plans in the presence of strangers.
- Don't help out
Don't hide a key in your yard—no, not even under the garden statue. Seriously. "Astute burglars know all the good hiding spots," says Moll.
- Watch for weirdness
Be on the lookout for anyone who seems suspicious. Burglars may pose as salespeople to check your home for valuables, easy access, or unlocked doors.