If you've recently suffered the unpleasant experience of a burglary or home invasion, you're likely feeling rattled and shaken at the thought of a stranger going through your home and personal belongings uninvited. You may also be concerned about the burglar's ability to access your home in the future -- particularly if certain obvious valuables were overlooked during the initial burglary and you suspect the same individual may be back for a second try. Unfortunately, your risk of a subsequent burglary is often higher in the few weeks or months following an initial burglary. Here is how you can protect your home and family during this potentially vulnerable time.
Re-key your locks
This is by far the most important step any homeowner can take after a burglary -- or even after losing a set of keys.
After a burglary or home invasion, many homeowners will simply remove their existing door lock and purchase a new locking doorknob at a hardware or home-supply store. However, these types of mass-produced locking doorknobs often operate with the same key -- a would-be burglar only has to identify the specific brand and model of your doorknob (often printed on the knob itself) in order to purchase a key allowing instant access.
On the other hand, when a lock is re-keyed, it is given a completely unique pattern that is much more difficult to access -- either using a "dummy" key or a lock-picking set. If the burglar was initially able to access your home by picking your door lock, this simple step may be sufficient to prevent future burglaries.
Change your patterns
With the exception of random, spur-of-the-moment burglaries, most burglaries involve a fair amount of preparation and planning. Would-be burglars may spend a few days watching your home and tracking the movement in and out. If the burglar observes that you leave at 8:00 a.m. and return at 5:30 p.m. every weekday, the odds are strong that he or she will be provided with an uninterrupted 9 or more hours to pillage your home.
Changing up these patterns to the extent you're able to do so may thwart your potential burglar and send him or her packing for a home with more predictable patterns. Come home for an impromptu lunch break, or ask a neighbor or friend to look in on your home during the day. You may consider taking a vacation day from work occasionally and making yourself visible by walking around your neighborhood or working in your yard. If your work hours are fairly flexible, simply moving around your starting and ending times may be enough to let burglars know your home is a bad target. For more information, talk to a professional like Carlsbad Village Lock & Key.