First time home owners are not the only people breaking into the housing market. Housebreakers of a different kind are capitalizing on the security shortcomings of home owners to make their mark on crime.
The ever-growing fault list of homeowners is paving the way for a lucrative career on the dark side. Thieves are in their element, especially when compliant homeowners make it easy for them to execute their offence.
What is it about locking sliding doors and windows that sends people into the defiant “I’m not going to be a prisoner in my own home” mode? The flip side of this rational is, “Let’s leave windows and sliding doors open slightly but make sure they’re secured to keep the criminal element out!”
The modern day thief thinks of a neighborhood as a warehouse of sorts with inventories offering a wide array of merchandise from jewelry to big screen televisions. Don’t get caught up in the, “It will never happen to me” mindset.
You only have to turn on the local news to discover the effects of this type of thinking. Local victims depicting in great detail the horrors of waking up and discovering a prowler in the throws of executing their brazen crime.
Stick with the broadcast long enough and you’ll inevitably find out the intruder entered through an open door or window. Break and enters are serious business and we as home owners need to deal with the situation in a serious manor.
Glass bubbles don’t exist in today’s world where crime is on the increase. Our police departments are doing their best with the resources they have. The rest is up to us to help keep crime stats down.
Crime prevention starts in the home, so set up family meetings and address the importance of good home security. The basis is working with what you have. I’m not suggesting you purchase hundreds of dollars worth of home security products right away. But if you have locks on your doors and windows, use them! A lock is a terrible thing to waste, especially when it’s the only thing preventing you from becoming another crime statistic.
I’m always amazed how many people leave their window coverings open at night. Take the opportunity away from opportunists by closing your blinds at dusk. Giving burglars a street view of your personal inventory doesn’t make sense.
Purchase one or two light timers and alter the times to come on and off at various times of the evening, even when at home. Giving the illusion of movement in your home is a great way to thwart intruders.
If you’re one of those people who don’t leave exterior lights on at night, take heed, exterior lighting should make an appearance once in a while during the night. Remember light timers are not just used to give the illusion of occupancy, a smart homeowner will use them to simulate several residents living in the home.
Home security is essentially about common sense. If we execute common sense ideas we are almost certain to prevent the “bad guys” from breaking into the housing market!
Safety at home while vacationing
Keeping the “bad guys’ away while on vacation involves more common sense than expense. Maintaining living habits on the home front while away is crucial if you want to keep burglars’ at bay.
Lighting habits are very important. Although it is not necessary to keep a light on in every room of your home, keeping lights on in the rooms that your family usually occupies is a must. Set up a light timer (available at major hardware stores).
If you have outside motion lighting, make sure it is installed high enough so that the bulbs can’t be unscrewed. Doors and windows should be properly secured before leaving on vacation. This includes basement windows, garage windows and even screen doors.
All exterior doors (including the inside garage door) should have deadbolt locks with one-inch throws and reinforced strike plates (the part on the frame that excepts the bolt). Don’t forget to secure sliding glass doors and windows with auxiliary locks or a piece of wood in the track to prevent an intruder from forcing the door or window open. Install 2″ screws in the top track to prevent a thief from lifting the door or window completely out of the track.
Make sure you unplug the electric overhead door opener. This will disable the unit and prevent anyone tampering with the frequencies to gain entry. If you have a manual overhead garage door make sure you wedge 2×4’s between the top of the door and the ceiling of the garage, so it can’t be opened from the outside.
If you trust your neighbors, let them know the dates when you’ll be away and leave them a number where you can be reached in case of emergency. Notifying all your neighbors is not necessary, one or two will do. Leaving a key with a trusted neighbor, relative or even a friend might be an option. Make certain whoever has access to your home will know what to do in case of an emergency.
Have this trusted person pick up your mail and newspapers daily. Do not suspend mail and newspaper deliveries as a “bad guy” might pick up on the interruption of service. It’s important to also have a friend maintain the watering of the garden and the cutting of the lawns.
Before leaving on that much needed vacation make sure you leave your blinds or curtains partially open. Call forward your home phone to a cell phone or another family member’s residence. Turn phone ringer down to low or off.
Trim Shrubbery near your home entrance and walkways. Have your neighbor park their car in your driveway from time to time to make it look like someone’s home. Hide your garbage cans in the garage or basement. On garbage day, have your neighbor put their garbage out on your property for pick-up.
Lock up any ladders, tools or other objects that can aid in a break-in. And why not display a “Beware of Dog” sign or Alarm company sign on your property. It goes without saying if you have an alarm system, you should test the system and make sure your home is armed before leaving on vacation.
Check with your home insurance company and review your policy obligations before leaving on vacation and don’t forget to take a home video of all your home furnishings and valuables and keep it off premises.