You may be anticipating doing some traveling over the upcoming holiday season. By taking just a few simple precautions, you can dramatically reduce your risk of a burglary. Most burglars look for:
- Something worth stealing;
- Easy access combined with low visibility; and
- A home that is unoccupied.
More residential burglaries occur during the day (often mid-day & mid-week) because homes tend to be vacant more often. Also over typical vacation periods, burglars look for signs that its owners have left for a period of time.
Make your home look occupied all the time. Use automatic timers on lights and on some form of music when away from home. Even leave on a TV. Lower the sound of your telephone rings and answering machine so it cannot be heard from the outside. Also never leave notes on your door that can tip off burglars
When you are away for more than a day….
- Have your telephone calls forwarded to your cell phone number.
- Rather than stopping your mail & newspaper – have a trusted neighbor or friend pick it up for you daily. They can also look for any packages that may have been delivered.
- Arrange for someone to put your garbage cans out at the street, and bring them back in.
Eliminate hiding places. Install motion detector lights around your house instead of just leaving lights on at night. Remove or cut back overgrown bushes and shrubs from around the house, especially under windows and next to doors. If you are planting shrubs, select ones with thorns to deter potential intruders from hiding there. (We affectionately call ours “the killer holly bushes”! Only a challenge when you are stringing Christmas lights. :))
- Do not hide spare keys outside of your home. Instead, give one to a trusted neighbor.
- Do not provide house keys to service people.
- A barking dog inside of your home is definitely a deterrent—in our case 2 ferocious dachshunds :). They will pick a silent home rather than confronting your pet.
- Secure your patio door with a pin-type lock, key lock, or a steel rod inserted into the door channel.
- Arm your house with an alarm system. Make sure it is very loud, and has glass breakage protection. It’s also a good idea to have motion detection inside if at all possible.
- Place the alarm company’s sign by the road, on your doors, (front, back, patio, etc.) and even small stickers on first floor windows.
- When moving to a new residence, be sure to have the locks changed.
- Consider organizing a neighborhood watch program. Have an informal cook out, potluck, or dessert party, so that your neighbors can get to know one another. (Every year we host a holiday bonfire and love the opportunity to get to meet and socialize with our neighbors.)
- One more thing: Be alert when you are home. Keep your doors locked when you may be napping or concentrating heavily, and always keep a phone close at hand. Live smart, not in fear.
Most of this is common sense and all we need are a few reminders. The goal is to make your house one of the least desirable targets of a burglary.