No one wants to focus on the scary things that can happen in life, but the prudent do take time to prepare just in case. Burglary is listed under property crimes in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR). In 2015 there was a 2.8 percent drop in property crimes overall, but just the monetary losses added up to a whopping $14.3 billion! The losses were for material things, and there is no way to calculate the psychological and emotional losses related to fear and vulnerability. Here are a few tips of how to make your family and home a hard target for burglars.

Understand the Criminal Mindset

The goal of a burglary is for the criminals to get in and out without being seen or recognized and to net things of maximum value that can be easily turned into cash. Another goal of some burglars is to find prescription drugs that can be used or sold. Popular items are cash, drugs, jewelry, and small high-value electronic items. Do not tell anyone, including family members who spread information, about prescription drugs being in the house. Jewelry should be locked in a hidden safe. Packaging for expensive items should be torn up and hidden in black plastic garbage bags. Think of how many new computer and TV boxes you have seen in your own neighborhood.

Locks and Fortifications

Make sure that your windows and doors are locked. Consider reinforcing potential entry points. Window films are available to make glass more resistant to shattering. All entry doors should have deadbolts connecting to strike plates secured with long screws that penetrate into the framing of the house. Hidden access doors, such as basement or side entrances, should be reinforced with a kick-proof door device available at most home supply centers.

Home Security Systems

The residential security systems, like SleepWell, of today are incredibly advanced compared to their predecessor types. Plus, they provide round-the-clock monitoring provided by a professional burglar and fire alarm monitoring agency that can send help even if you are not home or are unable to call for help on your own. Did you know that most burglaries occur when no one is home and are over in less than three minutes? Thankfully, some security systems today can be controlled by and also alert your smartphone. Plus, today’s indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras can take advantage of your existing home Internet connection to allow you to securely view what they see from your smartphone or other Internet-enabled device.

Build a Safe Room

This does not have to be like you see in the movies. It just needs to be a place to retreat to if an intruder makes entry while family members are at home. Many choose to fortify a bedroom or bathroom. Minimal fortifications include replacing a hollow core interior door with one made of solid wood or metal-clad. The door is reinforced with a deadbolt, and surrounding wall surfaces have an underlayment of 1/2 inch plywood. A working cell phone is kept in the safe room at all times. There is no limit to what can be done to create a safe room, but every home should have some version of one. The goal is to provide separation while help is on the way.

Burglaries can often be crimes of opportunity, and they are often committed by people you know. Family members, neighbors, and friends of your children are actually more likely to be the burglars that target your home than a complete stranger. Taking precautions to make your home a hard target helps those with a criminal intent choose to pick another place to burglarize. Having the deterrent of an alarm system and fortifications to resist entry further dissuade criminals from targeting your home for a burglary attempt.