10 tips to help keep you and your family safe and secure.

Did you know that a burglary happens every 16 seconds in the U.S., according to the FBI?

If you just bought a new house, you are probably thinking about all the ways to make it feel more like home, from decorating the walls to discovering your new favorite pizza place. This is also an important time to think about home security. The changes you make to your home and property now can help protect you for years to come.

As you settle in, consider these 10 tips to help keep you and your family, and your possessions, safe and secure.

  1. Change or re-key the locks. While you are at it, consider replacing the door and the strike plate. Many break-ins occur through the front door or back door.
  2. Landscape with safety in mind. As you take a walk around your property, look for areas that could be potential hiding spots for thieves, who prize the privacy they provide. Now is a good time to clear away overgrown areas.
  3. Talk with your local police department. Police departments may offer to come and inspect your home and property and provide suggestions to increase home security. They can also offer insight on past break-in trends in your area.
  4. Get to know your neighbors. Take the time to meet people on your street and encourage them to watch out for any suspicious activity when you are not home.
  5. Lighting matters. Lighting can set the right ambiance inside your home, but outdoor lighting can be the difference between your home being targeted – or not – by thieves. Motion-sensitive fixtures can help add security and provide light when needed.
  6. Avoid advertising that shopping spree. Moving into a new house often means frequent purchases. Thieves look for newly delivered boxes on your front porch, a method called porch pirating, so consider having them delivered elsewhere or requiring a signature for delivery. Thieves may also look at clues provided by your trash or recycling, which may indicate the new computer or flat-screen television inside.
  7. Set a safety routine. Make sure you establish a routine where you regularly lock all doors, shut windows and turn on your alarm system every time you leave your home. Avoid leaving spare keys outside, under a planter or welcome mat, as thieves know most of the potential hiding places.
  8. Manage visibility. Make sure you can see who is at your front door without opening it. Avoid placing valuables where they will be visible from the street, and do not place your home alarm panel in a place where people can see you arming it from the outside.
  9. Protect your outdoor valuables. Burglars also target sheds, garages and other outdoor buildings. Secure your grill, lawn mower, bicycles and other outdoor gear.
  10. Create a plan for when you are away. Hold your mail, stop your papers, and ask a friend or neighbor to remove flyers from your property. Arrange for snow removal and lawn mowing so you do not advertise when you are away from your new home.

Sources: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/crime-clock; www.travelers.com