In honor of National Crime Prevention Month, I’ll be posting tips and advice on how to protect your home and family, and increase your peace of mind. Some of the tips are from my point of view, as a long-time security professional, but others, like these from Hermosa Beach in southern California, are provided from a different perspective: that of the burglar. It’s up to you to decide which ones are relevant for your situation, but I’ll bet that every homeowner in the US can find a few of these that ring true. Time to tighten up our home security – and be safe! As in other posts of mine, the bold sections are the statements, followed by my commentary in non-bold type.
Of course I look familiar—I was here just last week cleaning your carpets. Sadly, contractors and other service providers can be tempted when they see something they like – such as a home with no alarm system.
Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier. And don’t forget the ruse burglars – who really are not workmen at all, but pretend to be, so they can distract you.
Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have. Cleaning up the yard is important: toys, bikes, ladders, and other tools or targets that give burglars information, or that burglars like to steal or use.
Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer on your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it. Same thing for grass not being cut, or other hints that nobody is home – or that nobody cares.
If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy. And burglars hate cellular monitoring, since it still works after they cut the phone line.
A good security company alarms the window over the sink, as well as second floor windows. Glassbreak sensors can cover lots of windows – and easily accessible second story windows are vulnerable.
It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella and you forget to lock your door. Understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather. You would be amazed how many burglaries do not require forced entry.
I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. This is surprisingly common – and the saddest part is that it can make us less trusting. But home and family come first!
Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms. This is true, if you want a place to hide valuables.
You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me. This is even true of gun safes. Put a wireless sensor on your safe, and bolt it down.
A loud television or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. Leave it on. Actually, a combination is best. And don’t forget lights you can control remotely.
Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook. Ruse burglaries are on the rise, especially in the Midwest.
The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors. If there is a local Neighborhood Watch, join it: if not, start one.
I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll go back to what he was doing. Call the police when you think you heard a window break. Again, glassbreak sensors cover lots of glass, and they work well.
I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it? I’ve posted on this before – and it still amazes me. Arm your alarm system!
I love peeking into windows, looking for signs that you’re home and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems. I call this "window shopping for later," when I pick my targets. Same thing goes for advertising your purchases by leaving the boxes out for the garbage man: break those boxes up, and close your blinds or curtains.
Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address. The risk of giving “TMI" on social media is widely documented, so most people already know about it: do you?
To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation. See the open door comment above. Close ‘em – and lock ‘em!
If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in. See above.
Of course, the best deterrent to burglary is a monitored home alarm system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive features. As the leader in wireless home security, FrontPoint specializes in the best protection: that’s why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat – and burglars don’t like us at all. We really must be doing a good job!
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