While many of us already lock our doors and have friendly neighbors collect our mail during vacations, there’s always a bit more we can do to protect our homes. Here are some handy tips to ensure your home remains a safe haven all year round.

1. Upgrade Those Locks!
When picking locks for your front and back doors, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) suggests three key things: strength, durability, and key control. Aim for locks that resist tampering and have a durability rating of Grade 2 or higher. And hey, those high-security keys that can’t be duplicated easily? They’re a great choice! Just a heads up: even the best locks need replacing. A Grade 2 lock used frequently might need a change in about five years.

2. Be Discreet with Your Purchases
Got a shiny new TV or the latest laptop? It’s exciting, but let’s not advertise it. Discarded boxes from high-end items can be a beacon for potential burglars. A pro tip from BobVila.com: break down those boxes so they fit snugly inside your trash or recycling bin. And remember, that fancy grill or bike? Best not left out in the open.

3. Safeguard Your Valuables
Whether it’s your grandmother’s necklace or that sleek smart speaker, it’s wise to keep them secure. HomeAdvisor recommends using a lockbox or safe when you’re away. And if your big-screen TV is easily visible from outside, maybe a little furniture rearranging is in order. Documenting your valuables can also be super helpful in case of any mishaps.

4. Light Up and Trim Down
A well-lit home is less inviting to burglars. SafeHome.org suggests outdoor lighting and trimming any overgrown shrubs that might provide hiding spots. Motion-sensor lights and timers can also give the illusion that someone’s home, even if you’re miles away.

5. Mix Up Your Routine
If you’re a creature of habit, consider shaking things up a bit. Leaving and returning home at varied times can keep potential burglars guessing.

6. Team Up with Neighbors
There’s strength in numbers! Organizing or joining a neighborhood watch can be a fantastic way to keep an eye out for each other. Communities that actively report suspicious activities often enjoy lower crime rates.

Remember, while burglaries can happen, a few extra steps can make a world of difference. Let’s keep our homes safe and sound!