Windows can provide easy access to burglars

Justin Stoltzfus

Your home's windows let in light and fresh air. But they also can let in burglars. Because they're easier to break open than a locked door, windows represent a weak point in a home in terms of security. Here's how to enhance the security of these more vulnerable areas of a home’s exterior.

Open to theft

Home insurance covers the damage that results from home break-ins as well as the cost of replacing stolen belongings. But a burglary can rob you of your lost time. You'll have to figure out what's missing, consult your home inventory, file a claim and go about replacing your belongings (some of which may not be replaceable). You also may have to pay a deductible before your coverage kicks in.

Despite the risks, windows often are left open or unlocked, according to Allstate, even by homeowners who take the time to lock their doors. Moreover, many homeowners will secure their ground-level windows but leave second-story windows open -- even though thieves can climb trees to gain access to the upper floors of a home.

Strengthening your defenses

The key to securing your windows is to create as many obstacles as possible for burglars.

  • Trim your trees: Trim branches that might provide access to the upper-story windows. The nonprofit Insurance Information Institute recommends removing all bushes and shrubs from near the windows. These provide hiding places for burglars so they can work on opening your breaking your window without being seen from the street.
  • Change your locks: Make sure window locks are modern and secure, updating antiquated locks and replacing broken, rusty or loose locks as necessary. The type of lock you use can make a big difference, according to Allstate. While flip locks might be easier to use, keyed locks provide more security.
  • Use window security film: Window films are heavy sheets of plastic that prevent windows from shattering, according to Allstate. Consider getting tinted film to prevent burglars from peering into your home and taking inventory of your valuables.
  • Get a window security screen: These look like the screens that keep insects out. But they are stronger and more difficult to cut with a knife.
  • Don't forget about basement windows: Thieves always are on the lookout for unsecured basement windows, according to security window bar company Mr. Goodbar. Basement windows often are obstructed by foliage and poorly lit, meaning thieves can take their time breaking in. Installing bars on these windows immediately tells burglars that your home isn't worth their time.
Don't tempt burglars: In addition to being a weak point for break-ins, windows provide a way for thieves to see what's in your home -- what you're doing, whether you're at home and what kind of expensive electronics you have. Keep your blinds and windows closed.
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