Burglary can be a devastating crime. Once you become the victim of a burglary, or other kind of property crime, you might not feel safe in your home again for a long time, if ever. This is just one of the main reasons why you should be proactive in your approach to home security rather than reactive. By planning ahead, you can ensure that if you ever do become a victim of a burglary, the aftermath will be much easier to handle.

1. Have your home security system installed by a professional. Sure, you might be competent enough to install an alarm system on your own, but if anything goes wrong, you won't be second guessing yourself. A professional will ensure that your alarm system is installed properly so that it will work correctly when you need it to.

2. Test your home security system regularly. You can contact your monitoring center to let them know you will be testing your system so that they don't send out the police during your test. You will also want to test your smoke detectors every six months to make sure they will work when you need them to.

3. Plan an evacuation route and agree to meet at a single location once everyone is out of the house in the event of an emergency.

4. Install your valuables in a fireproof safe so that they are difficult to get to. Do not hide them in your dresser or under the mattress. Even the freezer is getting to be commonplace. The burglars are aware of all of these hiding places and will look there first.

5. Always make sure your windows and doors are closed and locked. Most burglaries occur because a criminal sees an open door or window and takes the opportunity to break in.

6. Keep your landscaping trimmed so that your front door and windows can be seen by neighbors. This will discourage criminals from breaking into your house because they won't have a place to hide while they break in.

7. Never hide a spare key outside of your house. Burglars know where to look for these keys and once they have one, they can simply waltz right in and take what they want. Instead, give a spare key to a trusted neighbor in case of a lockout.

8. Install security lighting around your property to discourage criminals from breaking in. Again, they don't want to be seen, so they will choose dark properties over well-lit ones any day.

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