If a burglar is looking to break into your home, it might be easier for them to enter than you think. Some access points are obvious, but there are also several surprisingly easy points of entry that burglars can use to infiltrate your residence.
Here are six common home entry points that we recommend home owners double check to make sure they’re secure:
- Doors: Burglars often gain entry through unsecured doors, using screwdrivers or crowbars to break through, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Doors without locks, like garage doors, are often easy targets as well. Consider investing in a sensor or security camera so you can be notified immediately when your garage door opens. Doors in general can be kicked open, so you might also consider installing kick-resistant doors. Finally, remember to lock your doors, and keep in mind that knob locks are easily opened using credit cards, so you should have deadbolt locks.
- Sliding doors: Along with unsecured standard doors, unsecured sliding doors are a common entry point for thieves to gain access to a home, according to COPS. Installing heavy rods in sliding glass door tracks help prevent these types of doors from opening. You can also have a professional install mechanisms to prevent tampering, as well as screws to keep frames and doors securely in place.
- Windows: Windows can easily be broken by burglars with rocks or other heavy objects. Some windows—such as those leading to a basement—are often left unlocked, making it even easier for burglars to break in. Make sure to lock your windows, and keep your yard free of heavy rocks and bricks. Secure your windows further by installing break-resistant glass or mechanisms to decrease gaps between the window and its track.
- Large shrubbery: Any large, ornamental shrubbery you might have in front of your home could be seen as a perfect hiding place for burglars. Potential thieves might also use tall trees to enter second-story windows. To avoid inadvertently creating cover for burglars, strive to keep tree limbs away from windows and plants no higher than the bottom of your first-floor window sills.
- Dog Doors: Entrances designed specifically for your pets can be a sneaky little way burglars to either enter homes or to access to the door lock, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). NACHI advises not having a dog door, but if you must have one, it should be as small as possible and installed far enough from the door’s lock. Think about installing an electric dog door, which only opens when the pet’s collar (equipped with a signaling device) comes near the door. Not only does this type of door keep burglars at bay, but it also keeps stray animals out.
- AC Units: When a window is open and unsecured—such as when an air conditioner unit is installed—it is more susceptible to entry by burglars, according to SF Gate. Make the unit more difficult to remove by installing an air conditioner bracket to the outside of the unit, which supports the unit and attaches it to the home. A sliding window lock should also be placed on each side of the window frame to help prevent burglars from sliding the window open. Lastly, consider installing a window sensor alarm that will alert you if someone is trying to use the window as an entry point.
Take a walk around your home and think about the ways that a burglar might try to get in. Treat every opening to your home as a potential target for burglars. Does your home have other unsecured entry points that aren’t on this list?