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Every 15 seconds, somewhere in this country, a burglar breaks into a home. Even though home burglaries are one of the most common types of crimes in America, they’re also one of the easiest ones to prevent.

When home break-ins occur, they can have a significant impact on homeowners and their families. Besides losing personal property, you can also suffer emotionally and not feel safe in your own home.

The good news is most burglaries can be prevented.

Here are six basic steps you can take to ensure your property is protected, along with the importance of having the right homeowner’s insurance policy.

1. Invest in a Home Security System

One of the best ways to protect your property is to buy a home security system. These devices normally have several features, such as sensors at exterior doors, outdoor motion detectors, and an outdoor alarm to alert neighbors about an intrusion.

When selecting a product, be sure to choose one that is right for you. Then, after your security system has been installed, use it regularly.

2. Meet and Get Acquainted with Your Neighbors

Knowing who lives near you can help lower crime in your neighborhood overall.

Consider how knowing your neighbors can be helpful in having them keep an eye on your property while you’re away. Your neighbors may even agree to pick up and hold your mail until you return, as a pile of unchecked mail can alert a burglar that no one is home. Some neighbors can even help with pet care, watering plants, and other needs pertaining to a vacant home.

3. Organize a Neighborhood Watch Program

It’s a good idea to organize a neighborhood watch program, which can increase crime awareness and make people in your neighborhood more dedicated to stopping crime.

Furthermore, consider contacting your local police department to see if they can provide a lecture designed to help people detect intruders. Usually, law enforcement officers who conduct these meetings give out free pamphlets on tips for home safety and provide window stickers showing that people are participating in a neighborhood watch organization.

4. Install Lights Around Your Yard

Having a well-lit landscape at night can help in discouraging burglars from breaking into your house. Therefore, you need to make your property appear as if you’re awake and haven’t gone to bed by having lights stationed around your front yard as well as your backyard. For additional protection, use lights that include motion sensors.

5. Secure Your Doors

Make sure all doors are locked and especially lock the front door since 33 percent of all home burglaries occur by intruders getting through a front door. Inspect all door frames to ensure they are strong, and the door hinges are protected.

If your front door contains a mail slot, use a mail slot cover to prevent burglars from poking their hands through it so they can unlock the door. In addition, be sure the door that’s attached to your garage is locked, as this is a common way for robbers to obtain entry into a house.

6. Be Sure All Windows Are Locked

Because the latches that most window manufacturers put on windows don’t always keep out intruders and can be flimsy, have them replaced with strong locks that can make your home safer. There are also key-operated levers that are effective.

Although it’s easier for an intruder to get into a house through a first-story window, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to secure windows on a second story or lock basement windows.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Prune shrubs and trees. Sometimes, burglars will even climb a tree to smash a second-floor window, provided a tree’s branches are long enough.
  • Instead of leaving spare keys underneath a mat or flower pot, leave them with a neighbor whom you can trust, as most thieves look for spare keys under door mats and even know how to find them under fake rocks or in dirt.
  • When away from your home, do not post on social media that you’re on a trip. It’s better to let people think you are home, so wait until you get back to share vacation photos on Facebook and other social media outlets.

Another huge way to protect your property is by making sure you have the right homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, sometimes home intrusions occur as well as fires, hurricanes, and other types of weather disasters. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy covers your dwelling, other structures on your property, in addition to personal property and liability. Most insurance policies include specific coverage, rather than one policy fitting all clients.