Top home security tips are some of the most widely read posts on this blog – and for good reason: according to the FBI, there is a burglary just about every 14 seconds in the US. As residential crime stats stay stubbornly high, and even increase in many jurisdictions, we all want to learn the best way to protect our homes and families. To make matters worse, summer carries the highest risk of a burglar breaking into your home. Doors and windo
ws may be left open, and lots of us travel in these months. Fortunately police are wise to this seasonal trend, and are posting great advice for homeowners all across the US, like this recent advisory from Lake Wales, Florida.
Patrick Quinn, with the Lake Wales Police Department, said police do not often catch a burglary in progress. Officers have increased patrols in the city, he said, including at night in a gasoline-powered four-wheel utility vehicle that is quieter than a patrol car. They have gotten the drop on some suspicious activity, but not all of it. "People need to help us help them," Quinn said. "You would not believe how often we work a burglary where a neighbor said they saw something, but we weren't called." Police would rather answer 50 suspicious complaints where no crime was committed than investigate one burglary, he said. To help people protect themselves, their families and their homes, the Police Department gave a seminar. If you didn't make it, that's OK. Police have made that information public so you can still help yourself.
First, Quinn suggests that you don't place your electronics packaging by the road until the day of trash collection. The less people know what's in your house, the better. Don't leave mail or newspapers piled up in the mail box or driveway, Quinn said. It tells people you aren't home. Instead, use a post office box to receive your mail and have newspaper delivery stopped when you are on vacation or have a friend or neighbor pick them up.
Light the outside of your home as brightly as you can, Quinn said, covering all sides of the house. Quinn said motion sensor lights are less expensive now than they once were and can be adjusted not to go off when a small animal or pet wanders by. Quinn also suggests using light timers inside the house to turn on lights or televisions while you are vacation, giving the appearance that you are home.
And don’t forget that FrontPoint’s home automation services allow you to control lights remotely, even from your smart phone with our free mobile app.
To secure your house, Quinn recommends using solid-core doors with heavy-duty locks -- a dead bolt with a throw bolt at lease 1-inch long and a four-screw strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame. Most sliding glass doors are secured by latches, not locks, which are easily overcome by lifting and sliding the door, Quinn said. He suggests installing a metal pin through the frame of the door or using a "Charley Bar" -- a metal bar that sits in the track or props against the door frame to keep it from sliding at all.
Again, home automation features can help here as well. With FrontPoint’s Ultimate level of monitoring, you can even lock and unlock your doors from your smart phone. We have this remote capability in our house – and we all love the convenience.
Place thorny shrubs in front of windows, Quinn said, and follow the 3- foot by 6-foot rule -- keep shrubs trimmed to 3 feet high and keep tree branches pruned above six feet off the ground. This is especially true near your door. This removes cover for a would-be robber or burglar to lurk beside your house or in your yard, Quinn said. And it prevents someone from slipping in behind you when you unlock and open your door, Quinn said.
Only leave windows open if you are home, Quinn said, and lock all windows when you're not home -- even upstairs, because a burglar could climb a ladder or tree limbs. Place stickers in windows to indicate your house has an alarm or has a large dog, Quinn said.
Don't use social networks that have check-in applications or don't use those functions. For example, Facebook allows you to place your location onto your Facebook profile as your status. This allows people to know you're not home. Twitter has the same function, as do other social media sites or applications, like FourSquare.
Most of all, be aware of your surroundings -- who is walking around your neighborhood and what goes on at your neighbor's house -- and report any suspicious activity to police by calling 911. Quinn said 911 calls are for suspicious activity that is in progress -- something that doesn't seem normal -- or life safety emergencies.
And Last, but Not Least…
Unlike most sets of police tips on home security, this one did not include a recommendation to have a home security system – and use it. But that’s okay, since most of the lists we see from police do have that important advice. And of course FrontPoint has its own list of Top 10 Home Security Tips.
FrontPoint is the recognized leader in wireless home security because we combine the most advanced home security and home automation services. Whether it’s more reliable cellular monitoring, notifications and remote arming, video features, or using apps to control lights, locks, and thermostats, FrontPoint has the solution. We provide systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat – that’s why FrontPoint is the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. You deserve to enjoy your summer, at home or when you travel, and FrontPoint can help. Here’s to a safe and secure summer!