Many people don’t realize the difference between a burglary and a home invasion. A burglary is what occurs when someone breaks in while you’re not home and steals your possessions. A home invasion, on the other hand, takes place while you and possibly your family are home. You can prevent both.

Know the Neighborhood

Whether you’ve lived there for years or just moved in, getting to know your neighborhood is a critical first step to protecting your home. Pay attention to suspicious vehicles, strangers walking the sidewalks or just standing around, and even those things that could be normal but seem out of place. If you see a new landscaping company at the neighbor’s or something else out of place, check it out.

Rekey Your Locks

Unless you’re the first person to own the home, former residents may still have keys. Those former residents may have also given keys to family, friends, and employees such as housekeeping crews or babysitters, and countless others. When you move in, it’s a good idea to have all your locks rekeyed so that you can be sure that the only people with keys to your home are you, your family, and those you choose. Companies like A Carolina Locksmith can change your locks for you.

Plant Thorny Bushes around Windows

Not only are these a good deterrent to criminals, but if someone is bold enough to try to bypass them anyway, they may leave behind DNA evidence as the thorns scratch them and draw blood. They may also leave scraps of fabric from their clothing as evidence.

Use the Peephole

Never open the door to someone without peering through the peephole to identify them first. If you can’t identify them, don’t open the door. If you can’t see anyone, it’s particularly important that you don’t answer.

Have a Well-lit Home

Make sure that your home’s entrances are well-lit. Most criminals don’t want to be seen, so a well-lit exterior may be enough to deter them. It also allows you to see what’s going on outside, if you hear noises or there’s a knock at the door late at night.

Don’t hesitate to consider security systems and loud, large dogs as protection, too. There are many ways you can protect your home and family, from simple and cheap to complicated and expensive. Consider your needs and the things you’re protecting to decide how far you need to go.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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