It’s no fun being paranoid or expecting the worst, but it makes sense to take basic precautions when protecting your home against criminals. There are basic steps you can take (and mistakes you can avoid) to offer your home and family better protection against a home break in. Most break ins don’t happen in the middle of the night while you are home asleep – they happen between 10 am and 3 pm while the kids are at school and you are at work, and they happen while you are out of town. A home break in happens every 15 seconds in the United States, but a few proactive measures can help you beat the odds.
- Don’t hide a key to your home under the welcome mat, or anywhere outside. Disney cartoons from the fifties and sixties make petty criminals out to be bumbling idiots, but the average criminal is savvier than you think. They will look under the birdhouse or a planter. Don’t give thieves easy entry to your home; leave a key with a neighbor or bury it somewhere you’ll remember in the backyard – not near the front door.
- Don’t settle for cheap or flimsy door/window locks. Criminals know how to bust through low-end locks quickly, and their goal is to be in and out of your home with the minimum of fuss. Invest in door and window locks that are tougher to break and give thieves a run for their money – it might stop them from running away with yours.
- Don’t help burglars hide in plain sight. Unkempt bushes or trees, large trash cans and unlit expanses of yard provide excellent cover for burglars to hide in. Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed, your trash cans in the garage and install motion sensor lights in the front, back and sides of your home.
- Maintain your security system annually at a minimum. If you are paying for a home security system and some aspect of the system is not working properly, you are throwing money away. If you have a security system in place, have it professionally tested once a year.
- Don’t leave a handy dandy ladder in the back or side yard. A ladder laying around in your yard is a flashing neon invitation to burglars. Some home heists are planned affairs, but many crimes of this nature happen because a person of criminal nature stumbles upon an easy opportunity to steal. A ladder is a great tool for thieves to access unlocked second story windows in your home. Don’t make it easy for them – put that ladder away in the garage or storage shed.
- Always lock your garage door. It is tempting to leave a side door of the garage unlocked, or the door from the garage into the house, but these are extra opportunities for thieves to enter. You probably never lock your overhead garage door – did you even know this door likely locks? It is easy for thieves to trigger your emergency open mechanism from the outside. Lock your overhead door if you’ll be absent from your home for any length of time, and consider investing in a Gaplock for extra security.
- If you’ll be away from home, the following steps are essential:
- Inform a trusted neighbor of your absence and ask them to keep an eye on the house.
- Refrain from posting your out of town plans on social media. Brag about the big trip AFTER you get back – not before you go.
- Don’t leave just a single light on – this won’t fool robbers. Invest a few bucks in digital timers to turn lights on in different areas of your home.
- Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail or newspaper. Burglars on the prowl for break-in opportunities know that a pile of newspapers or mail means an easy target.
Stay smart, stay a step ahead of the bad guys and stay safe. And if you are in need of a home security referral (or a general contractor, window cleaner, etc.), just ask. I’m happy to help.
The Meyers Group