Reducing Your Criminal AppealWhile most of our blogs focus on how to make your home more appealing, we thought we’d take a few minutes to talk about making your home less desirable – at least for the criminal market.

Behind closed doors.Roughly 34 percent of the time, criminals enter homes by walking in through the front door. We’ve mentioned this before, but it definitely bears repeating: Invest in a good quality deadbolt lock and remember to lock it every time you leave your home – and even when your family is safe inside. Opt for a strong, solid-core that would be a challenge for anyone to try to kick in. How your contractor installs that door is equally important. Hinge bolts should always face inside (so a thief with a screwdriver can’t simply lift the door off its hinges.) When we install doors, we can use steel or wire mesh that’s hidden behind the door jams. Once you screw the lockset into this backing, using three-inch or longer screws, it’s as secure as a commercial-quality lock and frame. Don’t neglect your back and garage doors. These are key entry points that should share the same solid construction and security measures used for your front door.

Screening process. Windows are another favorite entry point for criminals, so make them as secure as possible. Opt for a solidly built window that has a strong lock and use it. Consider simple hidden safety measures like placing a wooden dowel along the inside track of horizontally opening windows. (You can paint it white to blend with the window frame.) There are a huge variety of window pins available for vertically opening windows for under $10. These simple devices are discreet and prevent anyone from opening your windows from the outside. Not only do screens allow you to get fresh air without bugs gaining entry to your home, they also provide another layer of protection that a criminal might not want to take the time to break through. If you have cats (or young children), ask us about durable and aesthetically pleasing options that are scratch and tear resistant.

Slide right in. That huge expanse of easily breakable glass in sliding doors is definitely an open invitation. While you might not be able to prevent a committed criminal from simply shattering the glass, you can make your doors more of a challenge for those seeking a stealthier entry. Opt for a solidly built model with a quality lock as opposed to an easy-to-defeat latch. During installation, if your contractor screws the stationary door panel into the track or frame, a criminal won’t be able to lift it out. As an extra touch, a wood dowel rod inserted inside the track will prevent someone from forcing the door open.

Raise the bar. Believe it or not, approximately 2% of burglars break into homes through the second floor. Make their job more difficult by closing and locking upstairs windows and balcony doors. Likewise, don’t scrimp on quality just because these entries are above ground level. Apply the same door and window standards we discussed on all levels of your home.  Do not leave ladders laying around outside your home; thieves these can use these to access your second floor.

Fences make good neighbors. The right fence can help deter criminals as well. A tall fence (5’ or higher) can present a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to a criminal who is intent on getting in and out of your home quickly carrying large, heavy objects. Make sure any fence gates can be locked and make it a practice to use those locks all the time.