Keep Your Stuff!
Practical Burglary Prevention Tips
We have seen lists of crime prevention tips that were, frankly, a bit more than most of us are willing to bother with. Here are a few that will not impose a burden:
- Don’t leave obvious signs that the house is unoccupied.
Stop the mail and paper, or have a neighbor take it in. Arrange for lawn care
as needed. And don’t leave notes on the door! (“Dear thieves…”)
- Make your home look lived in. FakeTV does a great job of
this. A light on a timer helps, too– we recommend both, although in all honesty
the FakeTV is more convincing, because it looks “alive.”
- Get to know your neighbors. This will give you a more pleasant,
well connected life, as well as making a burglary less likely.
- Keep your vacation status off public social networking pages.
Some burglars use these sites to identify “safe” targets. You may
be unable to resist telling your buddies you are having a wonderful time far from
home, but at least keep this off the public pages.
- Make your home hard to get into. You need good locks.
Your hidden outdoor key is probably not as cleverly hidden as you think it is. Better
to leave a key with the neighbors. Let them know you will be gone, and have
them keep an eye out during your absence. If you have an alarm system, by
all means use it. Amazingly, many people forget to set the alarm. Conversely,
do not think that an alarm system makes you invulnerable. Burglars can still
cause you a great deal of misery in a smash-and-grab robbery, leaving before
the police can respond. Park a car in the driveway, but be sure to take out
the garage door opener first.
- Remove obvious temptations. Take a walk around your property
and make sure you cannot see any easily pawned valuables through uncovered windows.
Are there any ladders left out, or particularly easy or well-concealed access points?
- Prepare for the worst. If your computer were stolen, what
might the consequences be? For most of us, this would be dire indeed.
So, back-up and password protect. Make a quick run through around the house
with a video recorder, talking aloud about the the valuables. This could save a
lot of hassle with the insurance company if you should need to file a claim.
- Strike the right balance. Only you can make the trade-off
between security measures and the burdens they impose. You may wish to place
irreplaceable items in a secure location, such as a fireproof safe.
This can include expensive jewelry, family photos, and financial records.
Your insurance policy is up to date, right? Also, label your possessions with
your name. An engraver is best, but a Sharpie is a lot better than nothing.
We feel bad for everyone that has had the misfortune of being burglarized. But, we’re are not just sending thieves over to the next house. If an entire neighborhood becomes aware of crime prevention, it gets that reputation among criminals. That is why we strongly recommend you start or join a neighborhood watch program.
Don’t Be That Guy!
The good news is that only one out every forty-two homes will be burglarized in any given year. The bad news, and this is intended to jump-start you into a bit of action, is that for that home the effects of the intrusion are often devastating. The average burglary costs $1750, and a whole lot of peace of mind. Ask anyone who has had a break-in; they never look at their home quite the same again.
Security is a mind-set, and need not be a great burden. Fortunately, your security measures do not need to be perfect. Most crime is opportunistic, and if the guy down the street failed to take a few simple precautions, his house (poor chap!) is more likely to draw the attention of the thief than yours. And frankly, there are no measures that can stop the most determined criminals. So, just take a few simple steps to improve your odds and peace of mind.