Home security is something most people ignore or avoid until something happens and then it’s too late. According to one of the most recent annual crime reports from the FBI, there was an estimated 327,374 robberies nationwide which accounted for an approximately $390 million in losses in 2015. While a home security system does act as a great deterrent to criminals and a mitigating factor in loss prevention, there are many other things you can do as well to help protect you and your belongings. So fear not, below we will look at ten easy steps you can take to limit your exposure to a potential burglary.
Did you just get a new Television? Maybe a new computer? Don’t just throw the box in the recycle or trash so anyone can see what may be in your home. Take the time to break down the box so it is unnoticeable and don’t put it in the trash or to the curb until, at the earliest, the night before it is due to be picked up.
Simple lighting can act as a great deterrent to theft. Making sure the outside of your home is adequately lit will help to reduce risk. Is there a dark spot in the corner of your backyard? Have a light fixture installed to help illuminate dark areas and make it so that no one can lurk around your home undetected. Also, adding timers or an automation system to your interior lights can help to give the illusion of someone being home even when you are out of town or away for the night. Automation systems offer superior protection due to the ability to set schedules like lighting from sun down to sun up, turn on lights randomly and control lighting from anywhere in the world.
Living in Buffalo we all know that when you see a driveway that hasn’t been shoveled or plowed that it’s most likely someone isn’t home. Are you leaving town for a couple week, or summering in Florida? Pay a plow service to clean your driveway while you’re away to give the appearance that it is being used regularly. If a plow service isn’t within your budget you can always look for someone in the neighborhood who would be willing to shovel for you at a lower rate. Bonus points if you can leave a car in the driveway while you’re gone to really make it look like someone is there.
Most people don’t think about this one, but offering bushes and trees for criminals to hide behind is a particularly inviting way to attract burglars. Keeping your shrubbery trimmed back helps to eliminate places where someone can sit undetected while they try to figure out how to open up one of your windows.
One of the more obvious steps, close your blinds before you leave so the potential criminal can’t just look in the window to determine what goodies you might have and if anyone is home. If you want to keep the shades open to allow light for plants or animals make sure to hide or cover up all valuables so that they can’t be seen in plain sight. Also, leaving blinds have closed can help to obscure an onlookers vision.
Do you have a key rack right by the front door? Do you have a mirror to check your hair before you walk out the door? Both of these can be very inviting to a burglar. When keys to cars and possibly the home are visible to a potential thief that could be all they need to break in and take your car for a joy ride. Criminals have been known to use mirrors to look around corners and help to assess if anyone is home. If you do have a mirror by your entryway make sure that it is positioned in such a way that someone from the outside can’t use it to peer inside your home, or hang drapes to obstruct their view.
Having a good relationship with your neighbors is always important, but it can be vital to your security as well. Four eyes is better than two, and having an extra set watching your home is never a bad thing. If you have a neighbor you trust communicate to them when you will be away and out of town so they can be extra vigilant and help to keep an eye on things.
Do you love the way trestle looks in your garden? Well a criminal loves it as well. It offers a point that they can climb for a peek inside or a way to reach a window that was previously inaccessible. Things like trestles, benches and garden decorations can offer points of entry that we should try to avoid.
If you’re doing this, Stop! Do you think that key under your mat is totally discreet or the fake rock key holder you have is unnoticeable? Well it’s not. All you’re doing is inviting the crook into your home and making it way too easy for them. Instead of hiding a key outside give a spare to a trusted neighbor or family member that can help you out in a pinch. Another solution to the age old key outside problem would be to get a lock with a pin pad on it or one that’s controllable with a smartphone or automation system.
Our last tip is one of the most obvious but also one of the most important. See something? Say something! Law enforcement can only do so much to protect our neighborhoods, we all need to take a more active role in watching out for ourselves and our neighbors. You know how they say raising kids takes a village? Well home security is the same way. Sure you can do it on your own, but it’s a lot easier when we all do our part to make sure our neighborhoods are safe and we report suspicious behavior.
Well there you have it! Ten easy steps that anyone can take to better protect yourself and your belongings. If you are interested in learning more about how to protect your home with a security system, please contact us today to set up an appointment to assess your risks and vulnerabilities. Remember Safety starts with you!