You may think you are taking all the necessary precautions to keep your home safe, but you may be unaware that you are making some simple mistakes. Here are some common missteps that may be putting your home at risk.
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Privacy Gates & Fences
While these may be put in place to preserve your privacy, they can actually provide cover and hiding spots for burglars. Intruders can benefit from the privacy provided and work on forcing entry into your home unseen.
While every house and property is unique, try to plan your fencing in a way that allows the main entryway to be visible from the street. Since doors are a common entry point for burglars, this can help to make it more difficult for criminals to gain access without being detected.
These are helpful if you have people checking in on your home or in the event you accidentally lock yourself out. However, most homeowners choose obvious spots for hiding keys, which burglars are keen to and will immediately check.
Generally it’s better to hide the house key further from the home in less obvious spots. And a disguised item, such as a rock, is only useful if hidden among similar items.
Your landscaping can make your home more or less friendly for intruders. If you have bushes or trees right up against the side of your home, they can provide cover in the same way that a fence might.
You don’t have to give up on your plants all together, but it is important to keep their placement in consideration. Choose low-height or thin-growing shrubbery immediately beside your home while keeping denser and taller plants further out.
Most homeowners install outdoor lighting for home security, whether they turn them on at the end of the day, or place a timer or light sensor so that they turn on automatically at night. These lights provides illumination for the yard, however, these can also create dense pockets of shadows that make for great hiding spots.
Motion sensor lights are a better alternative. They will provide outdoor lighting while shocking anyone who is prowling around your property. Motion sensor lights will also be used less often, resulting in lower electrical bills and longer lived light bulbs.
We often forget that windows work both ways, thus intruders can see inside our homes. This is precisely why we should never leave our valuables in plain sight. Especially on the ground floor, be mindful of things like jewelry that may be left out on dressers and possibly visible from the windows. Televisions may be hard to position out of view, so remember to pull the shades or blinds shut in the evening.
Packaging from an expensive item, such as a television or laptop, should not be set by the curb. This tells thieves that there is an expensive item in your home. Instead, take time to break down the box and cut it into smaller pieces to disguise what it once held.
Alarm systems are a smart tool, but be sure that your installers mount the control pad in a location that is not visible from a first floor window. Potential burglars may be able to see whether or not the alarm system is activated. This is especially true at night when the green or red status light is clearly visible in a darkened home.
Social media is a fun way to stay in touch with friends and share travel experiences, but it should be done after the trip.
Because social media is mostly a public platform, you don’t want to announce to the world that you’ll be out of town. Burglars can easily search common keywords (ex. trip, travel, vacation) to potentially find out when homes will be empty.
To avoid this, share your wonderful photos and stories about your trip after you return home. IF you must share, be sure you are sharing it privately so only your close friends and family can see.
Piled up mail and newspapers scream that homeowners are away, and this is visible to anyone who simply drives by your home. Before you leave, contact your local post office and/or newspaper to temporarily suspend service. Or you can ask a friend or neighbor to pick up any mail or newspapers while you’re away. Activity around the front of the home will help to make your home look occupied as well.
Most of these tips have addressed first-floor issues because it’s much more difficult to break-in through the second story. However, some homeowners may not know that they are providing simple and easy access to their second floor. Refrain from leaving your ladder in the yard where it can be easily seen and used by burglars. Instead, store it away in a garage or locked tool shed.
Assuming Daytime Is Safe
Break-ins are often associated with nighttime, but daytime break-ins are quite common. This is because burglars prefer an empty home, and during the day, most occupants are at school or work. With that said, the appropriate measures should be taken. Whenever you’re away from home, day or night, remember to turn your alarm systems on, keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and close and lock all doors and windows.
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