10 Super Clever Ways to Protect Your First Home From Crafty Burglars
It's difficult to catch burglars in the act, and especially after the fact. Protect your first home and family by making safety a habit. Whether you just moved in to a brand new home or have been living in the same place for quite some time, here are 10 tips for safeguarding your humble abode against intruders.
Lock Your Locks
They won't do their job unless you use them. Lock your locks, and that goes for more than just the front door. Any windows, gates, side doors and garages that have locks need to stay locked at all times. Use dead bolts when you can, and replace locks when needed because like most things, they deteriorate with age.
Don't make a break-in easy for intruders. Lock your car even when it's in the garage. A locked car won't necessarily keep a burglar out, but when locked up with a car alarm active, it will most likely deter potential burglars.
Don't Hide Keys
Nothing screams “Easily break into my house!” more than a poorly hidden key outside your home. Whether your obvious "key spot" is under the mat, above the door frame or in a fake rock in the garden – just don't risk it. Burglars are pros, and they know all the tricks. Plus, chances are, if you know the burglar, they've seen you in plain daylight not-so-subtly hiding it. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor instead.
Install an Alarm System
A security system – whether video surveillance or motion detectors – provides peace of mind and added protection against burglars or intruders. Some alarm systems, such as Lifeshield.com home security, offer four layers of back-up protection through Internet, phone, battery and cellular technology. Nothing will keep out a determined intruder, but an audible alarm can frighten them away and give you a time advantage.
Illuminate Escape Routes
Keep the outside of your house well-lit, giving maximum visibility to trusted neighbors or drive by surveillance. Light is a major deterrent to intruders, and motion-sensor lights can do the job while keeping your electric bill down. Illumination makes your home less of a target.
Don't Advertise Absence
If you are going to be away, don't share the news until you are back. That includes keeping your teens and children from spreading the word as well. Don't forget that any Information posted online via social networking about when you will be gone also makes your home vulnerable.
Arrange for your newspapers and mail to be put on hold or picked up by a neighbor, and keep trash bins from looking deserted. Arrange for yard work to be done if you are planning to be gone a while. An non shoveled driveway or non mowed lawn is a clear sign to burglars that your home is not occupied.
Eliminate potential hiding places. Trim foliage so burglars have no where to hide as they look for an entrance into your home. Trim tree branches 7 feet off the ground, and prune shrubs to under 3 feet from the ground.
This doesn't mean let your home fall to shambles, but a flashy home with big-purchase packaging out next to the trash bins is pure advertising for burglars that you have expensive stuff they want. Dispose of TV or other pricey items packaging discreetly, and be aware of the message you are portraying. If you have a nice home, advertise your safety awareness instead with obvious video surveillance, alarm systems and maybe even a few big protection dogs.
Hire a House Sitter
Unoccupied homes are an easy target. Ask a friend or family member to stay in your home while you are gone. This is particularly convenient if the reason you are away is a publicized event, such as a funeral or wedding.
Get Organized with Neighborhood Watch
Don't be idle. Get to know your neighbors, and confront a situation that seems suspicious. If you see someone walking around your neighbor's house and they don't look like they belong, take note. If you notice unfamiliar cars cruising the street, or if a solicitor comes to your door and it feels illegitimate, call the police. Be safe, not sorry. Get organized and form a neighborhood watch in your community. An extra pair of eyes looking out for the safety of your homes and families will bring everyone closer and help prevent crime.
Request Vacation Home Checks
Many police departments offer a “Volunteers on Patrol” service and will monitor your home if you request a vacation home check. Patrol certified volunteers work at sheriff's stations and assist deputies in patrolling the community and helping keep your home safe. If you are going away on vacation, let police know.
This is a guest post from Jeffrey Obrien. Jeffrey blogs about food and entertainment. When he is not writing about the latest and greatest, he is hiking or fishing in Howard County, Iowa.