17:00 PM

Put your mind at ease with home safety tips from American Family Insurance

MADISON, Wis. - As a homeowner, the thought of someone breaking into your house is one of the scariest prospects you face. After all, your home is not only one of your most valuable assets it also contains some of your most cherished items.

More frightening still is the fact that according to FBI statistics, a home is broken into once every 11 seconds. More than half of all break-ins occur during broad daylight, when many people are gone at school or work. While some break-ins will happen no matter what, some home robberies are made easier because of poor home security.

It doesn’t take an expensive security system to improve your home security. Following a few cost-effective, common-sense tips can greatly reduce your home’s chances of falling victim to a burglary.

Look like you’re home

Set your lights, television and radio on a timer. The more random activity going on in the house, the less likely burglars are to target it for a possible robbery. A good timer can be purchased at most electronics stores. Contact the post office and newspaper to have your delivery suspended. This way, mail won’t pile up – a dead giveaway no one is home. If you’re going to be out of town for several days, arrange for a neighbor, relative or friend to remove snow from your driveway and walks in the winter. In the summer, arrange for someone to mow your lawn if you’ll be gone for a week or longer.

Communication is key

Contact the police and tell them the dates for which you will be out of town. Many municipalities have a vacant house list of residences currently unoccupied. When patrolling, officers keep a closer eye on these addresses to make sure nothing out of the ordinary is going on.

Even if you’re just going to be gone for a short while at work or school, you can take several easy measures to secure your house.

Always lock doors and windows

It seems like common sense, but is often forgotten or overlooked. If you have an attached garage, don’t forget to lock the door between the inside of your garage and your living space.

Keep your landscaping tidy

Trim bushes and shrubs, especially near windows and doors, to reduce the number of places an intruder can gain access to the house unnoticed.

Let there be light

Install motion detector lights on the outside of your home, especially by exterior doors.

Keep it out of sight

Keep valuables and electronics like laptop computers, mp3 players and digital cameras out of clear sight. Thieves are more likely to break in if they can easily see valuables.

Get a home security system

And prominently display proof of the system with a sticker or lawn sign. Convicted robbers have said they have passed up several houses with visible proof of a security system before hitting a house without an alarm system.

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation’s third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 373rd on the Fortune 500 list. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam; Google+: plus.google.com/+amfam/; YouTube: www.youtube.com/amfam.

News media contact:
Sandra Spann
Media Relations
American Family Insurance
(608) 242-4100, ext. 32881
Twitter: @AmFamNews