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How to burglar-proof your home

An unguarded house is an invitation to burglary. Here are tips to make your home less attractive to burglars during your absence. 

Simulate your presence and exercise restraint

Ask a neighbour or someone you trust to clear flyers off the front porch, park their car in your driveway periodically and put your recycling or garbage bin out on collection days. Temporarily pause your mail and newspaper deliveries. Hire a company or an individual to ensure home maintenance is completed (like snow removal in winter or lawnmowing in summer).  

Remotely delete your messages once you listen to them or use a call-forward service. The automated message saying you have a full mailbox is a strong clue that you’re away. Inform as few people as necessary about your departure plans. Ask them to be discreet about it. Don’t announce the date of your next trip or vacation in a public place or to people you don’t know well. Finally, resist the temptation to share your travels and photos on social media until after you return home. 

Light up your house and install a smart doorbell

Woman using a phone to enter home
Pavlina Popovska | iStock

Outside, consider installing motion-sensor lights with timers and arrange them so that all dark areas will be well lit. Inside, opt for smart lights which you can control from anywhere, at any time. “Proper lighting will help deter undesirables. Would-be thieves certainly don’t want to be on display,” says Francis Paré, Director of Residential Sales at GardaWorld. And schedule the timers at hours when you would normally turn lights on and off. You can also use models with multiple programs so that the lamps switch on and off by themselves at different times every evening. This way, your house will appear inhabited. The key is never to leave the lights on all the time because that’s a clear signal that nobody’s home.  

A smart doorbell increases your home security. “Thanks to its built-in camera and microphone, you can see who’s at the door and talk to them in real-time on your smartphone, no matter where you are,” says Paré. But the camera isn’t activated just because someone rings. You can also remotely monitor who’s coming and going at the front door anytime. And since everything is filmed and recorded, you can easily identify anyone who might, for example, grab a package left at your door. 

Secure your doors and windows

Reinforce all exterior doors with a deadbolt at least an inch long. Since sliding doors and windows are especially vulnerable, Paré suggests fitting a security bar or a metal or wooden rod in the lower track to prevent them being opened. Add anti-lift locks to prevent the doors and windows from being lifted off the tracks and out of the frame. As for casement windows, remove the crank handle and store it out of sight. And don’t overlook the garage door: If it’s linked to an automatic opening system, then disconnect the system. Since the garage door could be opened manually, Paré recommends padlocking it from the inside. Clear the exterior of doors and windows. Move away from the house any items that could be used to climb to a window and break in – like the ladder, the trash bin or garden furniture. Trim shrubs and hedges that hide the house from view.  

Woman entering pin to lock the door
Hispanolistic | iStock

Install an alarm system and get a safe “If the alarm goes off, the central monitoring station will quickly take appropriate action like dispatching police, emergency or security patrol to the house,” says Paré. The safe will protect your valuables and important documents against theft, fire and flood. Just make sure it’s too bulky and heavy to be carried away. 

Make sure to inform your insurer if you’ve installed an alarm system. It could reduce your insurance premium, especially if the system is connected to a central monitoring station. But keep in mind some home insurance policies have rules where claims can be denied if your property is unoccupied for an extended amount of time (typically 30 days). So make sure to check in with your insurer before leaving your home unoccupied.

If you want more information on protecting your home, get a quote online or speak to one of our Licensed CAA Insurance Agents by calling 1-888-545-7254. CAA Members save 10%1 on CAA Home Insurance2

1 To qualify for the discount you must be a current CAA Member in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by membership expiry date).  

2Property Insurance is underwritten by CAA Insurance Company. 

®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association. 

Certain conditions, limitations and underwriting guidelines apply.  

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