The cold, winter months are prime time for us Southwestern Ontarians to jet off on vacation. Your home insurance policy unfortunately doesn’t cover the stress and inconvenience of a break-in or the heartache of losing sentimental items. This means it’s an especially important time to go over the basics of home break-in prevention.
Burglars are opportunistic. They scout vacancies and look for situations where they can be fast, hidden, and forceful. With that in mind, you can deter a home break-in with a strategy aimed at slowing them down, making them visible, and strengthening entry points.
Most break-ins occur at the front door
With 34% of home break-ins taking place at the front door, fortifying this area should be a priority. Apartment Therapy’s checklist includes a few things you can easily do yourself, including installing a box strike plate and reinforced windowless door, and securing hinges. A fortified entry takes more time, difficulty, and strength to break through. Check that all other entry points are free from vulnerabilities and can’t be unlocked from the outside.
Security for any budget
In terms of security, monitored alarm systems provide the ultimate in peace of mind. But if that isn’t in your budget, placing an alarm system sticker in the window of an unmonitored home can be a budget-friendly deterrent. While you don’t get the actual security benefits of a system, a burglar may not want to take their chances.
Make it look like you’re home
Thieves target unoccupied homes. If you don’t have a house sitter, make sure you cover these bases:
- Have your mail held or collected by a neighbour you trust
- Have your interior and exterior lights on timers that mimic your regular schedule
- In the winter, ensure somebody is staying on top of snow maintenance. Snow piling up on your sidewalk, walkways, driveway, and cars are a telltale sign that you haven’t been around.
Don’t forget vacation home maintenance
Before you set off, don’t forget to program your thermostat to 14 degrees Celsius or warmer. Then, enlist the help of a trusted friend, family member, or neighbour to go inside your home and check in daily throughout your absence. They should make sure the heat is working and pipes aren’t frozen. Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home when you’re away. By preventing frozen pipes, you can prevent a call to your home insurance agent.