The landscape of home safety has undergone a remarkable transformation over the years, leading to a significant decrease in burglaries. This change is largely attributed to the widespread adoption of home security systems and heightened awareness among homeowners. Let’s delve into the details and understand what’s driving this positive trend.
A Look at the Numbers
The statistics are telling: In 1994, American households experienced between 2.3 and over 6 million burglaries, according to FBI data and other sources. Fast forward to 2021, and the number has plummeted to 619,811 reported burglaries. This represents an incredible decrease of 74% to 90%, depending on the data source from 1994. It’s clear that something significant has shifted in the realm of home security.
The Role of Home Security Systems
Despite the overall decrease, burglaries still accounted for $3 billion in losses in 2019. Surprisingly, only 28% of Americans use a security system to protect their property. However, research supports the effectiveness of these systems. A 2017 study published in Crime Science linked the increased use of security systems to declining burglary rates in England and Wales. Furthermore, a 2018 survey of convicted burglars revealed that over 60% would bypass a home if it was obviously protected by security equipment.
Proactive Measures Over Reactive Responses
Adopting a proactive approach to home security is vital. It’s about making safety a lifestyle, rather than a reaction to unfortunate events. While it’s impossible to guarantee total immunity from burglaries, there are several steps homeowners can take to significantly reduce the risk.
Social Media Caution
Be mindful of what you share on social media. Regular activity, especially posts about going out or vacation pictures, can inadvertently signal to burglars that your home is unoccupied. Avoid tagging your location or sharing vacation photos in real-time.
Insurance and Safekeeping
Having renters or homeowners insurance is crucial for protecting your valuables. For irreplaceable items, consider a home safe that is either too heavy to be easily stolen or bolted down.
Landscaping for Safety
Your yard’s appearance can impact your home’s security. Regularly trimmed shrubs and trees eliminate potential hiding spots. If you’re away, arrange for your lawn to be maintained to avoid the appearance of an empty house.
Installing a Security System
Modern home security systems are more affordable than ever. Many DIY systems start at around $200, with monthly monitoring plans as low as $10. Statistics show that most burglars tend to avoid houses with visible security systems.
Standard locks on doors may not offer the best protection. Upgrading to high-security locks is a simple yet effective way to enhance your home’s security.
Addressing Weak Points
Identify and reinforce any vulnerable spots around your home, such as sliding glass doors or poorly lit pathways. Additional locks or motion-detecting lights can provide extra layers of security.
If you’re renting, you might be at a higher risk for burglary. Discuss any security concerns with your landlord and inquire about upgrading locks or installing compact security systems.
Installing security cameras, particularly video doorbell cameras, can be an effective deterrent against burglaries. These devices not only record potential intruders but also signal to them that they’re being watched.
Video doorbell cameras create an obvious signal that a home is protected. Many of the top home security companies are including video doorbells in their basic packages. Homeowners can also add additional outdoor and indoor cameras for added security.
Video verification is increasingly becoming more popular. Home security monitoring companies can visually verify an intruder and notify police, prompting a faster response. Many homeowners insurance companies promote the use of video surveillance as a deterrent, in addition to many offering home security system discounts (vary by insurer).
Don’t Delay Security Measures
A common mistake is waiting until after a burglary to invest in home security. It’s easy to think it won’t happen to you, but the truth is that burglaries can occur anywhere. Taking action now to protect your home, valuables, and loved ones is crucial.
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The decrease in burglaries is a testament to the effectiveness of modern home security measures. While no system can offer complete protection, a combination of technological advancements and smarter practices significantly reduces the risk. Home security isn’t just about installing alarms and cameras; it’s about adopting a comprehensive approach to safety, from being cautious on social media to upgrading physical security measures. By taking these steps, homeowners can contribute to continuing the downward trend in burglaries, making our communities safer for everyone.