Personal Theft Rises: 10 Ways to Prevent It

Recently, crime rates for 2014 were released by the FBI, and personal theft was a huge issue. According to the findings, more than 70 percent of property crimes were larceny, and many people were left vulnerable. These statistics aren’t much higher than previous years, but people should still be cautious.

An important thing to realize is that approximately 30 percent of home burglaries involve an unlocked door or window. People are being careless and thieves are taking full advantage. There are far more burglaries in residential areas than commercial areas, and only residents can change things.

10 Ways to Prevent Personal Theft

Given these statistics that show your home may be at risk for theft, you should take a few preventative steps.

  1. Make It Look Like You’re Home When You’re Not

Thieves know the signs of an empty house. They’ll look for things like piled up newspapers, flyers on your door handle, lights, noise from inside, and other signs of activity. Make it look like you’re home by suspending your newspaper and mail service, having a neighbor remove flyers, and leaving a light on when you’re gone.

  1. Update Your Home’s Lock

Whether you’ve lost a key or your door locks are getting old, it’s always a good idea to occasionally update them. Aim for the highest quality locks with anti-theft protection.

  1. Start a Neighborhood Watch

Your neighbors are probably just as concerned about home security as you are, and most neighborhoods would benefit from a neighborhood watch program.

  1. Install an Alarm System or Put up a Sign

If you can afford it, have an alarm system installed. At the very least, put up a sign in your front yard or window that says your home is protected by a security system. Even if there’s no alarm actually installed, burglars are 10 times less likely to enter your home if you have a sign.

  1. Secure the Garage

Garage doors are another common entry point for burglars. Many people forget to lock their garage doors, both inside and outside, which grants easy access to your home.

  1. Keep Valuables Away from Windows

This may not completely detract burglars from your home, but it can help. If you place your jewelry box, flat screen television, or wallet by the window at any point, it’s like lighting a beacon that will attract theft. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a great mantra to follow for home protection.

  1. Put Away Ladders

Many people are great about locking windows and doors on the first floor, but neglect the second floor because they think no one will be able to reach that high. However, if you leave a ladder or other climbable tool in your yard, it provides easy access for unwanted houseguests.

  1. Lock Everything Before Bed

Always do a full-house sweep before you retire for the night. Even if you’re sure you locked your windows and doors earlier, check again. You never know if someone else unlocked them or you simply forgot, and you can never be too careful.

  1. Install Motion-Sensing Lights

There’s no better deterrent than a bright flood beam bathing your yard in light when a thief triggers the motion sensor.

  1. Turn on the Radio

Sound coming from inside the house will scare skittish burglars away. This sends the message that someone is home and awake, even if you’ve already gone to sleep or you’re out of town.

With such high theft rates across the nation, no one can be too careful. Taking some of these simple, but important precautions could mean the difference between being a helpless victim and a happy resident.