Protecting your Home from Thieves
There is nothing more painful than walking into your home and finding most of your prized possessions are missing. Not only is there a lost feeling like you can’t believe someone would do this to you, but there is that insecure feeling that you are not safe in your own home to follow. Keep in mind that someone was in your house when you weren’t there, (or in some bold cases while you were there sleeping or in the bathroom.) They may have broken the door or window causing damage, and they certainly went through your belongings to grab what they could. The worst is to find all your large items missing such as furniture and electronics.
A professional thief is the hardest to protect against, luckily most of us are not the targets of these kinds of thieves. (Professional criminals will know how to get what they want and not get caught as they plan more than an amateur.) Instead it is the amateurs that are the most common type of thieves. These are the ones that tend to shoplift at stores, taking items, they either need or can sell for a quick buck. This is essentially the same thing they are doing in your home. The items they are taking from you are going to be sold, as quickly as possible so they can make a quick dollar. Larger items are harder to get rid of as they are more noticeable, both in getting them out of the house and for sales.
There are ways to deter the thieves from getting into your house, and others that protect your items. It’s important to know which is going to work the best for you, and whether you can afford the option before you start thinking about it.
The best protection you can get for your home is an alarm system. While these are not foolproof, as a criminal could still get in and out, they are more likely to be caught with an alarm in place. Alarm systems are a deterrent and are there so you can catch the criminal in the act, alert the police and catch the criminal. Most thieves will not target a house that has a known alarm system in place. (A known system is one that can be seen or is noticed on the property, usually with a sticker on the door, window or mailbox.) There are two types of alarm systems to consider, as they each can benefit you in different ways.
Professional installation and monitoring:
A professional alarm is the best you can have, and it’s better be for the price. These can run between $500 and $5000 dollars to install and you also have a monthly fee, based on the services that you want. The more intense your cameras are (such as night vision, zoom lens, rotation, water proofing, 911 auto dial, etc..) the higher the price is going to be. The same can be said for 24-hour monitoring, versus notification if your alarm goes off for more than 30 seconds. Either way the services you get are routine, and maintenance is generally included as part of the package, so if a camera goes down it gets replaced or fixed for free. Many times, a cable provider has these services but some of the best companies include those like ADT which protect businesses and homes.
Do It Your Self:
Any system that you install and monitor yourself can have its problems. There are some pretty simple to use systems out there though and with current technology you can access them from your laptop, tablet and even your phone. This enables you to see through the cameras of your house, even when you are not there. A decent system with 4 cameras can run about $300 or more. You will have to install the cameras yourself, with instructions included. A wireless system is best if you have a router, otherwise you will need to run cables. A cable system is secure to a point, but the cables can be cut if they are within sight of someone who really wants in your home. The upside to a cable system though means you don’t need wireless technology and the system can run on a backup battery.
These systems also come with window stickers stating the property is protected by CCTV (required for many businesses that are recording people.)
A basic standard lock on the door comes equipped with the house, and while it is a deterrent, it’s not a very good one. A standard lock can be defeated by a lock pick if the thief knows how to use one, or by kicking the door in if they don’t. There are better locks that can be installed including a deadbolt which is more secure than a standard lock. A chain lock offers more protection and allows you to open the door a little and peak out without having to completely unlock the door. The chain is not that strong though so if you do open the door a criminal could easily kick in the chain. A slide bolt, like a deadbolt lock is great and can only be used on the inside of the door with no way of unlocking it from the outside.
A kickplate installed on the bottom of your door is a great addition, and added protection from those who try to kick in the doors. It’s basically a metal plate that protects the door from these types of attack. A security screen door is also a great addition as it is metal and you can leave the main door open to let in the cool air without letting in bugs, or letting the pets out.
As stated previously your neighborhood will make a difference in the crime rate and the ability for thieves to even get in. Don’t get too comfortable though, even a gated community is going to have crime as there could always be people on the inside that could steal from you. You may not even realize that anything is missing at first when this happens, and it could take longer to find out who the culprit was. The better the neighborhood though, the less inherit crime there is going to be.
While you can’t protect all your items from thieves you can insurance many of them so that you can at least get some money back for them, reducing the cost of replacements. If you rent the place it is a great idea to get renters insurance. You can also purchase generic insurance against theft with a limited amount of return for thefts, just make sure you read the fine print. For those with many valuables or old antiques it is recommended that you insure those items individually for better protection.