To help you prevent your home from becoming a burglary target, you need to understand how a burglar thinks. If you know what “makes them tick,” you have a much better chance of avoiding a problem.
Police and other security experts agree that burglars prefer two particular conditions:
(1) An Invitation and
(2) A fast, easy, undetected entry, and exit.
You would never put up a sign in your yard that says, “Burglars Welcome.” That would be ridiculous! But, that is exactly what you are doing if you make ANY of the following 14 mistakes:
1. Your yard is messy. Do you leave toys, tools, or other items lying around the yard? If so, this is an open invitation for thieves. Could you not do it?
2. One of the major causes of car theft is a key being left in the car. Even if your car is parked in your own driveway, always remove the keys. Here is an actual example I saw in the newspaper recently. A man drove his car from his garage onto the driveway to wash it. He forgot to take the keys out. When he finished washing the car, he went inside for lunch. About an hour later, when he came out to his car—–you guessed it—-it was GONE! Some neighborhood kids took it for a “joy ride” just for some fun. However, the point is clear. No matter where your car is parked, always make sure that you take the key out!
3. You can easily protect your home by ensuring no dark or concealed areas.
4. Believe it or not, some people actually will leave a window open when leaving their home. Especially in today’s world, even if you only plan to go to the corner store, make sure that all entries to your home are closed and locked.
5. You never want to leave a note on an exterior door for a deliveryman telling him where you have gone. Have you ever made this mistake?
6. Do you really think that a burglar doesn’t know that your house keys are on top of the door jam, under the mat, or somewhere close to the door of your home? If you need to give your home access while you are away, either give the key to a neighbor or buy a “lockbox” from Home Depot or Walmart. But never leave your keys just sitting around to be found!
7. Don’t use your answering machine as an invitation to be robbed. Messages on answering machines saying that you are away are like saying, “OK, you can come to take what you want from my house now.” Never change your message. Just be aware that most answering machines let you listen to your messages from a remote phone by entering a personal security code.
8. This is a true story! A family in California went on a weekend trip and left their garage door open by mistake. When they returned Sunday night, many of their valuables were nowhere to be found! The Police and their insurance company had little sympathy for them. Don’t let this happen to you!
9. Sliding glass doors without any additional locks, such as a wooden pole placed in the track or a key lock at the top of the frame, are a favorite entry point of choice for burglars. Make sure you have an additional lock of some kind.
10. Burglars love to see homes that have no lights on—night after night! That’s an indication to them that your home could be an easy target for theft. The solution can be as simple and inexpensive as getting a “timer” to turn your lights on and off.
11. Having a privacy fence can be a double-edged sword. Not only does it keep neighbors from seeing what’s happening in your yard, but it also prevents neighbors and Police from seeing if there is a problem—like burglars! Ensure that your yard is well lighted or has lights with motion sensors if you have a privacy fence.
12. Flimsy door locks or latches can be a big problem. If your locks need repair or replacement, do it immediately. You will save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run.
13. If your home has a basement, be sure that all windows are properly locked. Homeowners sometimes overlook these basement window locks.
14. if you will be away for more than a few days, it’s a good idea to cancel your newspaper and mail deliveries. Ask a neighbor to pick them up for you if you don’t want to have both the mail and newspaper deliveries interrupted. The best sign to a burglar that a house is unoccupied is a stack of newspapers thrown on the driveway.
Once a burglar sees an “invitation” for your home, the next thing they look for is a quick, easy, and undetected way out. Human nature being what it is, they will always take the path of least resistance.
Here is a shortlist of favorites for burglars that you should avoid:
1. Large shrubs in front of a window.
2. A dark area somewhere around your home.
3. Exterior doors leading to a pool. Many times people forget to lock these doors.
4. Exterior doors without a deadbolt lock can also be easy targets.
From our family to your family—may your home always be safe.