According to Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement, over 582,000 criminals were convicted of property crimes such as theft, burglary, and vandalism in 2014--and those are just the ones that got caught! Florida ranked #3 for property crimes in 2012 according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. To help avoid becoming part of the statistics, here are three things you can do to tell criminals, “you better think twice, pal” and prevent yourself from becoming a burglary victim.

1.  Technology Shows Criminals You Mean Business

Home monitoring systems have come a long way. These networked systems now include exterior cameras, motion sensor lights, and all the components to dress your home up like a fortress. These are items criminals look for as they evaluate which home to target. Although a monitored burglar alarm isn’t free, don’t forget that several Florida homeowners insurance companies offer a discount for this type of protection. Some more advanced alarms even monitor: fires, flooding, and power outages. 

2.  Isn’t it all about how we look on the outside?

Well, not exactly. But when it comes to protecting your home, the big answer is "‘Yes!” The signs and stickers that alarm companies provide you can make a difference. Be sure to use these and ask the service representative to give you extra. These little markings scream “back off,” so be sure to display them at every opening into your home. Don’t assume the burglar is always going to see the front of your house. They love rear entryways, too. As burglars case your street (or your backyard), just looking for the oblivious homeowners, these prominently displayed signs and stickers could convince them to keep on walking. According to a study conducted at the University for North Carolina, 83 percent of the burglars said they would try to find out if the home had a security alarm before attempting to break in.

A “Beware of Dog” sign will also be a deterrent, especially if you actually have the dog.  But, even if you don’t have a dog, the sign is something to consider. Of course, a happy puppy image won't work while a tough dog outline sure could do the trick.

By the way, if you have a dog, check your Florida home insurance policy to see if your dog is covered by dog liability. Many companies exclude guard dog breeds such as German Shepherds or Rottweilers, but it is the barking not the size that scares off the criminals. Indeed, a yappy little dog can make enough noise to ward off a potential thief. 

3.  Don’t Let Criminals Window Shop

Your home isn’t a retail store. Covering your windows with blinds or curtains can prevent burglars from evaluating whether or not it’s worth the effort. It's better to get full-coverage draperies. We know translucent curtains are pretty, but they don’t fully protect your home.

With the right window coverings, burglars won’t know about your fancy multi-purpose, super-stretch home fitness center or your 80’s vintage boom box and classic rock cassette collection. Doesn’t everyone want these things? As an added bonus, blinds and curtains will also reduce your energy costs by keeping your home cooler.

Looking for more home theft prevention tips? View our downloadable theft prevention guide.