8 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor
November 1, 2016
Defend your home, 6 things burglars don't want you to know
January 15, 2016
Burglary is one of the biggest threats to our homes. Becoming a victim can leave a family feeling vulnerable and violated. Studies have shown that successful home burglars have much in common, preying on residents who mistakenly present invitations. Most citizens are surprised to find that majority of break-ins happen in broad daylight while everyone is at work or school. Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve selection criteria. Here are 6 things burglars don’t want you to realize.
1. Most burglars have met you before
Think twice about who you give your address to and who you allow to enter your home. “Appointment burglaries” are becoming a rising trend in home violations. Criminals are now using online resale as a way to scope out potential targets. Looking to sell your laptop, couch, or other item? Make sure you meet potential buyers in a public and highly trafficked area. Around the police station is a great option!
Keep an eye on service providers who come to your home. Burglary isn’t always the offender’s only job. Maids, carpet cleaners, landscapers, movers and handymen are all jobs that enable a potential thief to seize the opportunity to leave a window unlocked or look for other ways in. When the service is complete make sure you inspect around the home to insure all doors, windows and gates are locked and secure.
2. One man’s trash is a burglar’s treasure
Your trash can tell a lot about you and your family. A number of convicted burglars have admitted to driving around neighborhoods on trash day, especially after big gift giving holidays. The empty boxes on the curb let them know about the new TV, laptop or gadgets you just got. Its best to break down boxes and conceal them in trash bin (or hopefully you recycle!)
3. They do their research
Burglars often take recent activity into account when choosing targets. Are there newspapers piled up in the driveway? Is the yard looking overdue for a mow? Thieves will usually scope a home out for a day or two before making a move. Burglars have even been known to leave something insignificant around the property to see if the owner notices. That pizza flyer on your door step might have been put there by a potential intruder looking to see how long it takes you to move it. Keeping these items cleaned up shows you are home and alert.
Social media is another way burglars are now checking in on potential victims. That Facebook post about your upcoming weeklong Caribbean vacation is exciting to more than just you and your friends. Even if your profiles are private, you never know who might be on your friends list that isn’t really your friend after all. Play it safe and post your pictures and updates after you get home.
If you do go out of town; it’s a great idea set up a mechanical timer, that way light fixtures can turn on and off as if someone is home. A huge tip if you are away from home while there is snow on the ground: Have your neighbor drive through your drive way and walk up to the front door providing fresh tracks in the snow. A virgin snow drift in the driveway is a dead giveaway.
4. They get up close and personal
In addition to driving by, burglars might peek in windows to try to get a glimpse of what is inside. Keeping your windows locked and the blinds closed should be a no-brainer but many homes are robbed simply because the burglar noticed an unlocked window. If you have glass or decorative glass as part of your front entry way make sure you cannot see your alarm system control pad from the outside.
5. Burglars are easily deterred
The good news is that most criminals are looking for an easy target. Loud dogs, nosey neighbors and security cameras are the top 3 deterrents. Dogs are not only a physical threat but their barking can alert neighbors and give an exact time frame. If you are away for extending periods of time ask your neighbor to be a little more aware of your property during the time you are out. Security cameras are always ideal, but they can be expensive. A very real looking fake like this, is also a good option to make your home less appealing to criminals.
6. All locks are not created equal
While these tips will help make your home less appealing to possible burglars, it is still important to make sure your home is tough to access as well. Remember that burglars are easily deterred so even if they do make an attempt, a strong lock system can cause them lose interest. Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking attempts. A quality deadbolt lock will have a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used to shear off lock cylinder pins. A quality door knob-in-lock set will have a 'dead latch' mechanism to prevent slipping the lock with a shim or credit card.
Sliding glass doors are more vulnerable because they are usually secured by latches and not locks. Sliding doors are relatively easy to kick open from the outside as the latches are known to be inherently defective. This can be easily be prevented by inserting a wooden dowel or stick into the track thus preventing or limiting movement. Other blocking devices available are metal fold-down blocking devices called "charley bars" and various track-blockers that can be screwed down. The blocking devices described above solve half the equation. Older sliding glass doors can be lifted up and off their track and thereby defeat the latch mechanism. To prevent lifting, you need to keep the door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted. You can also install anti-lift devices such as a pin that extends through both the sliding and fixed portion of the door. There are also numerous locking and blocking devices available in any good quality hardware store that will prevent a sliding door from being lifted or forced horizontally. Place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch/operation identification is in place. Burglars dislike alarm systems and definitely big barking dogs.
Safes, no home should be without one. Since the prices of good home safes are falling, having a safe in your home is a wise investment. Home safes are designed to keep the smash and grab burglar, nosey kids, dishonest babysitter or housekeeper from gaining access to important documents and personal property. Home safes need to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving so they cannot be carried away.
Get together with your neighbors and discuss these tips to ensure your neighborhood is as safe as possible. With mindful diligence we can defend our homes and communities. For more information on how to protect your home, visit Home Security.