There has always been a need to make sure your home is as “theft proof” as possible, but a recent uptick in home burglaries has focused more attention on why we should be proactive in protecting our homes as well as our valuables inside. I inquired with several police officers and some crime stopping resources to pool together ideas on how to discourage potential thieves.
1. “Open” invitation
Keep doors and windows locked, especially when you are away or at night. Many burglaries occur unnecessarily due to homes not being locked and secure; that also includes your car and garage door. Also, consider using security systems and audible alarms because they are especially effective in deterring intruders.
2. Light up your life
Keep plenty of outside lights on or have lights that will turn on with motion sensors in case someone decides to wander near. Most police sources will tell you that thieves love dark areas and use it to their advantage. Also, when away from your home for an extended time period (or even short), leave some lights on inside or have lights that turn on with timers, preferably at random times. Even a radio playing can give the appearance that someone is home.
3. Showing off the latest
Most of us have done it…bought a new big screen or surround sound system and delightfully immersed ourselves in how it works by inviting our friends over for the big game or the latest movie. The only thing we weren’t aware of is that we also announced the new purchase to the public by putting boxes front to be hauled off or recycled. Make sure you avoid letting thieves know about your new purchases.
4. Checking up on ya
When out of town, you can request a “Vacation Check” with the police department. This public service includes occasionally patrolling around your house to make sure there are no signs of activity or attempted entry. Trusted neighbors can also be a great help by keeping an eye out or parking a car in your driveway while you’re away. Another way neighbors can help is to pick up your mail so it doesn’t accumulate. You can also go online to www.usps.com and have your mail held by the local Post Office. They will deliver the accumulated mail to you once you return.
5. Wish you were here
The last tip includes all kinds of social media. Wait to post pictures or comments about your vacation until your return. Posting online while you’re away not only shares with your friends that you are having a great time traveling, but can also reach someone searching for the right opportunity to break into your home as well. At the very least, limit your sharing settings to certain groups and not to the public.
So, with the idea that theft around homes can happen anywhere, any place and anytime, hopefully these tips will help you be smarter than the ones that wish to find a fast and easy way to make a buck…the wrong way.