AARP Eye Center
If someone pulls into Terry Sember’s driveway or rings his doorbell, he relies on security cameras and a smart doorbell to identify the visitor. He can even provide access from afar to his Buffalo, New York, home with the code to his keyless entry system.
Sember, 52, started installing new home security features in 2020. He cites convenience as a major motivator for the upgrades but admits the devices also provide peace of mind.
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“We travel and it’s nice to be able to check in on the house while we’re away; the cameras also provide alerts … and can record video to look back if something does happen,” he says. “With the cameras, if the alarm company calls, I can quickly check to see if there really is a problem or if it’s a false alarm.”
The number of burglaries nationwide may have dropped 7.4 percent in 2020, but according to the latest FBI data, more than 6.4 million Americans were victims of property crimes, suffering total estimated losses of $17.5 billion. Added to the monetary loss, of course, is the fear and sense of violation a home intrusion leaves in its wake.
Whether you’re worried about break-ins or want to deter porch pirates, these seven strategies will help make your home more secure.
1. Fortify the locks
You make sure to turn the deadbolt when you leave the house and before you go to bed, but that might not be enough to secure your home. Louis Wood, owner of LAW Security, says you should examine the door jambs and replace any rotted wood: “It’s easy for a burglar to pry through rot.”
“The screws used to install doors are relatively short,” Wood says. “To strengthen your door hinges and all other hardware driven into your door frame, replace these screws with three-inch or longer screws that go past the frame and into the studs.”
2. Light up the night
Most criminals strike after hours. A 2021 study noted a “significant increase in robbery during darkness,” and found the act of installing enhanced lighting reduced crime by 21 percent. The reason? A well-lit exterior means that would-be burglars are exposed and easy to spot.