TOP MISTAKES THAT MAKE HOMEWONERS PRIME TARGETS FOR BURGLARS
Most of us consider our homes our haven, the place we go to feel safe. But every year, over 2 millions homes are violated by burglars. That’s a burglary every 15 seconds!
Many times, the victims are careful people who think they are doing all the right things. But in reality, they’re making crucial mistakes that make them targets.
To get the real scoop on how to protect your home, we asked the best of all sources- a reformed burglar. This former burglar stole over $70 million worth of jewelry during his career, and spent 11 years in prison for doing so. Here’s what he has to say about the mistakes people make most often…
Leaving the burglar alarm off when you’re running out for a few minutes. Nearly all the households we robbed had expensive alarm systems- and more than half the time, the alarms weren’t turned on!
Sophisticated burglars watch neighborhoods and learn when residents go to work or run errands, and how long they are likely to be away. They’re ready to move the minute you leave. So do yourself a favor and set the alarm, even if you’re just running out for 15 minutes.
The best alarms offer multiple layers of protection- motion sensors, light sensors, etc. You might also want to get a zone alarm system that has room-by-room controls. We often broke into people’s bedrooms while they were home having dinner. With a zone alarm, you can leave the bedroom alarm on while you’re spending time in another room.
Posting detailed alarm signs. When you post a sign that identifies the alarm company, you’ve just given the burglar the information he needs to disable the alarm. All the burglar has to do is buy a diagram of how that particular system is wired.
Better: Buy a generic sign from a home supply store that simply says, “This House is Protected By an Alarm System.” As long as it doesn’t give specific information, it can be a good deterrent.
Hiding valuables in the bedroom. It’s the first place burglars look. We used to spend 15 minutes or less in each house that we robbed. More than half that time was spent in the bedroom, checking the usual hiding places- the underwear drawer, under the mattress, high closet shelves, etc.
Keep money or jewelry you rarely wear in a safe-deposit box. Hide other valuables in places where burglars don’t think to look- in the garage, for example, or above removable ceiling tiles. Or hide valuables in the freezer or in fake soup cans made for this purpose.
Don’t hide all your valuables in one place. A burglar is less likely to get everything if you put items in different places.
Getting a big dog. A 100-pound Rottweiler or German shepherd might look scary, but burglars know better. Most big breeds, unless they are trained as guard dogs, aren’t barkers. What you want are “yappers”, small dogs that make a lot of noise. Breeds such as Chihuahuas are better deterrents than large dogs.
Hiding windows with landscaping. Tall bushes and shrubs allow burglars to jimmy windows without being seen. Keep all bushes trimmed to below window level.
Also, don’t count on thorny plants to prevent entry. Professional thieves routinely wear gloves and two layers of clothes- and carry cutting tools to remove any thorny obstacles that may get in their way.
Leaving the lights on. A light that stays on all the time is no more of a deterrent than a dark house. In fact, it helps burglars see better when they’re inside.
Better: Use timers that turn lights on and off in different parts of the house at different intervals. Electronics and home-improvement stores sell motion detectors that turn on lights or appliances if someone enters the house. They cost about $20.
Having newspaper and mail delivery stopped when you go away. You may trust your mail and newspaper carriers, but the fact is that you don’t know who else is getting the information. We used to get tips all the time about homeowners going on vacation. So keep your plans quiet. Have a neighbor or close friend pick up your paper or mail. Ask them to drop by at different times of the day. The more activity burglars see, the less likely they are to target your house.
Source: Bottom Line, Winter 2010.
To keep your valuables safe, Closet Factory offers a wide variety of digital box and wall safes for your home. Call (303) 690-6901 for an appointment through January 31st and receive 15% off your safe!