No doubt about it: Your home is sacred. In this day and age, however, theft is an ongoing concern. Here are some tips to thwart would-be thieves.
1. Have nosey neighbours. Sure, they can be annoying but they can also be the eyes and ears of your neighbourhood. Live in areas where there is street life: a senior who likes to spend days on the porch, the routine gardener, kids playing hockey. If you're in an apartment or condominium, one with a concierge is preferable. The more observers are around, the less likely a thief will target the neighbourhood.
2.Get a deadbolt. This is a great first line of defense that makes breaking a door down that much more of a headache. Ideally, your deadbolt lock should be installed as soon as you move in. Otherwise, you don't know how many copies of your keys are in circulation.
3. Common sense caution. Do a mental checklist every time you leave the house, even if it's just going to be for a few minutes. Are all the doors and windows locked? Is the alarm system on? Also, make sure items such as bikes and motorcycles are properly stored in garages or otherwise locked. Don't leave them in your backyard without some kind of deterrent.
4. Avoid installing patio doors if possible. Otherwise access to your home is just a glass-cutter away.
5. Don't brag. You may be dying to tell EVERYONE about your new entertainment system with all the latest doodads. Resist the temptation. Ditto on talking about going away on your fabulous vacation. You don't know who's listening with more than a passing interest.
6. Create impediments at the points of entry to your home. Lock your screen doors as well as your main doors. Install shatterproof glass. Put bars over the window wells of your basement windows. There are many wrought iron versions that are wonderfully decorative that will add a European flair to your home.
7. Get an alarm system. There's nothing like a sticker on the door reading, "STOP! ALARM IS ACTIVATED!" to make a would-be thief say "Hmm..."
8. Don't forget the garage and shed. Be diligent about locking them too.
9. Get a peephole installed in your door. If you don't recognize the visitor or feel remotely uncomfortable, ask who it is and ask to see identification. If they start giving you the runaround, don't continue the conversation. Call the police.
10. Make sure to turn all outdoor lights off in the morning or even better, have a timer do it automatically. Lights on during the day can indicate to a thief that no one is home.
11. If you're going to be away for any length of time take some common sense precautions: Have your mail stopped or removed from your mail box daily, put timers on indoor and outdoor lights, notify your alarm company of your absence as well as a trusted neighbour.