How do burglars know which homes to target? Sometimes you need to think like a burglar to safeguard your home and property. Here are some things you should know to prevent a break-in.
ONE – Ladders left in plain sight and unsecured second-story windows leave your home vulnerable to upstairs entry. Store ladders out of sight, in a locked shed or garage. Make sure your upstairs windows are closed, locked, or part of your home’s security system.
TWO – Break down boxes and conceal them in trash or recycling bins. Big-ticket item boxes left on the curb tell the burglars who scout the neighborhood what’s new in your home.
THREE – Trim the bushes and shrubs that hide windows and doors. Overgrown gardens in front of entry points provide cover for those who are breaking in. Keep your entries visible from the street, and consider installing motion-sensor lights; bright lights might foil a robbery.
FOUR – Be sure to lock windows and deadbolt doors when you are out. A steel-wrapped door with no windows within reach of the inside handle is best.
FIVE – Arm your alarm system even when you go to the store. Be careful not to position a mirror so that the system can be seen in the reflection from the door or windows.
SIX – When you’re away, hire someone you trust to mow your grass and pick up newspapers and mail. Put lights on timers to simulate that someone’s home. Don’t close up all the blinds and shades. If you leave a car in the driveway, take the garage door opener out of it or at least put it out of sight. Ask a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway. For those who live where snow falls, arrange to have a neighbor (or their kids) to walk around your yard and up to the door in fresh snow; you might even ask someone to shovel a narrow path to the door.
**Another idea for when you’re gone: Fake TV is a small gadget that glows and flashes like a television set. For about $34 and using the same amount of energy as a nightlight, it will appear that someone is watching a show; a built-in sensor and timer can provide the time for “viewing” that you choose.
**An idea that may provide added security when you’re home: Take your car’s remote into your bedroom at night. Incase of a suspected break-in, push the “panic” button to alert neighbors and the suspect.
SEVEN – An easy-to-carry safe is not any protection. Invest in a wall safe or rent a safe-deposit box at a bank for anything too valuable to leave at home.
EIGHT – Be careful what you post on social media while you’re away. Burglars are not always strangers to those you call your friends. Post your photos and comments when you return.
NINE – Geo-tracking apps on social media might just advertise your home’s vulnerability. To safeguard your valuables, be careful about geo-tagging.
TEN – Selling laptops and other valuables with an on-line ad may be a good idea, but it’s not wise to give your address. For anything you can carry, agree to meet in the parking lot of the local police station. It’s not likely that a criminal will agree to an exchange there. For anything large, don’t invite strangers into your home to view it; have someone help you get it out to the garage or driveway.