Many people are either oblivious to the very real threat of home burglary or choose to believe that it will never happen to them or that their homes are somehow burglar-proof. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that home burglary is very real, and most homes are far more vulnerable than their owners would like to believe. Before your home becomes prey to burglary, check out and use these powerful tips gleaned from both convicted burglars and law enforcement officers. Make sure your valuables do not end up in someone else’s home.
Repairman and Maintenance Person Anomalies
One of the easiest ways for a robber to case a house is by gaining access with your permission. And while there are many honest repairmen and maintenance professionals out there, it pays to be wary. One easy and especially covert way for a potential burglar to gain access to your home is with a request to use your bathroom. Few people will deny a bathroom request, and it provides a great opportunity for a quick look at your house and, more importantly, to unlatch a window for future access. Tip: If you do let someone (like a lawn care worker) into your home, check the window locks after they leave.
These are a few of my favorite things…
If a burglar does gain access to your home, he will most likely make a beeline for the master bedroom, looking for small, easy-to-retrieve valuables. Jewelry, drugs (pharmaceutical or otherwise), money, guns, and small, expensive electronics are favorites. He wants to pilfer things that will bring him a fast turnaround. His favorite places to check? Your lingerie drawers, jewelry boxes, nightstand drawers, under the mattress, and medicine cabinets. After all, those are the most common spots for people to hide their valuables – every thief knows that! Tip: Hide valuables in less likely places: kids’ bedrooms, the attic, basement, and kitchen.
Not so Safe Safes
A common mistake is to buy a small safe, place your valuables inside and then think that you have purchased yourself some great peace of mind. While a safe may take more time to open than a burglar wants to spend inside your house, if it is small, he can simply grab it and take it with him. Many people recommend securing your safe to the floor with screws or bolts. This is helpful, but not invincible. Tip: Have a decoy safe. Screw it to the floor; toss some costume jewelry and worthless papers inside so it appears to be the real deal. Have your “real” safe with your real valuables stowed away in a less accessible place.
Keep it Clean
An overgrown lawn, high bushes, and low tree-branches are all invitations for a thief because they make it look like the owner may be absent in addition to providing cover for access. No matter how busy you are, it pays to keep your house and yard well-maintained. If you will be gone for a few days, make sure someone will step in to shovel snow off the walk, etc. Do not give the impression that you are not at home. Tip: Hire someone, if necessary, to make sure your yard is well-kept.
Before you leave your home, even for a short period of time, think about the things that would make it vulnerable. Periodically inspect your house, check windows often, think through the possible paths a burglar might take to gain access to your house, and take steps to prevent theft.