Moving is a lot of things — it’s exciting, tedious, and exhausting all at once. It’s easy to become absorbed in packing, unpacking, and organizing while neglecting home security measures or forgetting about them entirely.
According to the FBI, burglaries (that is a breaking and entering that doesn’t involve the use of force against a human being — if force was used, that would be robbery) account for 16.1% of property crimes in the United States, resulting in around 1,120,000 burglaries across the country a year.
Burglars are always looking for the most opportune moments to strike, and the moving process often provides significant lapses in home security. So what can you do to protect both your new and old home while you move? Below, we’ll cover some important steps.
Use a Home Security System — It’ll Pay for Itself
Only about 30% of homes in the United States have security systems, according to The New York Times. That’s a shame because these systems aren’t just a reactionary measure. They proactively prevent break-ins as well. When interviewed, around 60% of burglars said they would pass protected homes in favor of those without security systems. A study from Rutgers University found that these systems reduce crime in entire neighborhoods. In towns where police can take 30-45 minutes or longer to arrive, that makes these systems critical.
Depending on the circumstances of your move, your home may already have a home security system installed (simply requiring activation). Many home sellers who wish to upgrade their system at a new location or switch to another service will leave them behind. In this case, it’s as simple as calling the security company to activate the system. Many providers will offer discounts for pre-existing systems as well — as well as lower rates based on further security measures you’ve taken.
If the home doesn’t come with a security system, there are plenty of options to choose from. As a bonus, a security system can often eventually pay for itself thanks to the insurance savings they provide.
Tend to the Doors
A startling 34% of burglars are simply able to stroll through their target’s front door. Another 22% enter through the back door, and 4% enter through the garage door. That means that a combined total of 60% of burglars enter through a simple doorway. They’re your most important protection against intrusion.
Upon taking possession of your new home, check the status of the doors. There are a few things you should look for to determine if they should be replaced:
- Material: What material is the door made of? Some materials are easier to break through than others.
- Construction: How solid is the door? Is it flimsy? Does it feel like it’s going to give way in a small breeze, or will it stay shut after a rhinoceros impact?
- Hinges: The strength of the door doesn’t matter if it can simply be taken off its hinges — check their strength and general condition.
- Slots: Are there mail slots or pet doors that would allow an intruder to gain access to your home or stick something through the doorway?
Next, it’s important to remember your locks. You’ll need brand new ones. Despite being a critical security measure, this step is often overlooked. If your home has been owned before, you have no idea how many people still have a copy of the key. Previous owners may have made copies for babysitters, family, friends, and more.
Deadbolt locks are the most effective. If you’re prone to forgetting to lock your doors, consider a smart lock. These devices not only lock on a schedule, but they’ll also sync with your phone and allow you to check the lock status from anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi connection. You can also lock and unlock the door with your phone, meaning you don’t need to give your pet sitter a key while you’re on vacation.
Don’t Forget About Windows
Windows are the second-most accessed vulnerability used by burglars (23% use a first-floor window, while 2% use the second-story window).
Make sure you have strong window locks. Many built-in locks and latches are too flimsy or even outright breakable. New, stronger locks or key-operated levers are more effective.
If you went with a security system, consider adding glass break detectors or sensors. A break detector will recognize the sound of glass breaking and trigger your alarm (if you have an Alexa-enabled device, it has this feature built-in). Meanwhile, a sensor monitors the window itself.
If you’re especially concerned about window security, add bars or grills to make them 100% inaccessible.
Develop Safety Habits
A number of simple personal habits can enormously increase your home safety. Here are just a few:
- Clean and Tidy Spaces: Burglars see dark and untidy locations as opportunities, assuming that these spaces are poorly maintained or not often occupied. Making sure that your spaces are well-lit and clean can go a long way in making yourself difficult to burgle.
- Label Your Boxes with Rooms, Not Items: Many people organize their moving boxes by item type — one box for electronics, one for dishes, and a few for books. But doing this makes it easier for the quickly-scanning thief to identify valuable items. As an alternative, label your box by the room it belongs in.
- Keep Important Items with You: While you’re moving, it’s best to keep important documents and valuables on your person at all times. That way, you’re guaranteeing they won’t be stolen. Even if you keep your items in a safe at the new or old house, a safe can be stolen and cracked from another location.
- Only Unlock Some Doors: When moving items out of your old house or into your new house, only open the doors you’re using. Thieves have been known to slip in through unlocked back doors and garage doors while movers are present. By keeping these other points of entry locked, you’re controlling your access points.
- Know Your Neighbors: Neighborhoods often have a watch association, and communicating with your neighbors will allow you to stay apprised of suspicious activity. There are also apps such as Ring that allow you to view suspicious activity reported by people near you.
- Close Your Blinds: When your blinds are open, thieves can see inside your home and assess the valuables within view. Closing them at night is the best practice. You can also add window security film to make it more difficult to look from certain angles and even prickly bushes in front of first-floor windows.
Maintain Your Old Property as You Move
If your old home is still on the market when you move, it’s important to keep your property maintained. This means continuing to have the lawn mowed and possibly using smart plugs to turn lights on and off on a schedule. The key is to make the house look as occupied as possible. It’s a good idea to check in with old neighbors and ask them to keep an eye out for suspicious activity as well.
Contact SafeTouch Security today for a free quote on a security system for your new home.