To lock or not to lock—that is the question for many homeowners.
Whether you’re just dashing out to walk the dog and don’t bother locking up or you always secure your home no matter what, the debate on locking the door marches on. Some people are staunch door lockers while others are carefree about home security. So, which camp are you in?
I live in a city of millions where it’s fairly normal to lock the door every single time you leave. But when I’m at our second home in upstate New York, the doors are never locked when we head out for dinner, go swimming in the lake, or tuck in for the night. It’s only when we’re home in the city that we consistently turn the deadbolt.
“It’s 50-50 when it comes to whether clients are security-conscious,” says Damian Hall, a real estate agent with Blackstream Christie’s International in Greenville, SC.
He says that folks in cities are more aware of home safety than those in rural settings, adding that his small-town grandparents have never locked their doors.
Liz Rossetti, a homeowner in Hamilton, MA, is fairly lax during the day, leaving her door open much of the time. But at night—and when her family goes out of town—she locks the deadbolt.
But what Rossetti and many other homeowners probably don’t realize is that most burglaries occur during the day.
According to a Nationwide Insurance study, 25% of people always leave the front door unlocked, and many lock the door only at night. But most burglaries happen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., right when most of us are at work, out running errands, or picking up the kids from school. What’s more, nearly 50% of burglars “break in” by simply walking through the front door.
To keep your house safe and to protect the people and things inside, here are some security measures to take, regardless of where you live.
Secure your garage
You might think the garage is an afterthought when it comes to home access, but break-ins happen here, too. According to the study, 1 in 10 burglaries occurs when the garage is left unlocked.
So always secure your garage door—and don’t forget about the door that leads from the garage into your house.
Lock first-floor windows
Thieves are a crafty bunch, which means a locked front door won’t deter some of them. About a quarter of robberies are the result of a break-in via a first-floor window. If your windows are accessible in any way (and even if you think they’re not), lock these up every single time you’re not in the room.
Turn on your security system
Mark Hughes of Hartford, CT, admits that having a home alarm won’t always prevent a crime, but “it becomes a security blanket and might make thieves get out of the house quicker—it’s something you can do that makes you feel a little more secure.”
But the key to having this extra layer of protection is turning it on. And not everyone bothers with this step. Shocker!
In fact, 20% of homeowners with security systems don’t turn them on during the day, leaving them open to potential theft.
No alarm at your house? The report urges folks to at least install exterior lighting where you can, as well as lights on motion sensors to deter a would-be thief from trying your front door at night.
“With the advancement in tech now, there’s really no excuse for not having at least a basic level of security,” says Hall. Too often he’s had clients put in a security system after an incident and, of course, they wished they’d done it sooner.