We live in a materialistic world. The more nice “stuff” people accumulate, the bigger the target for burglars and thieves to try to take it away for quick cash. With the summer vacation season upon us and warmer weather tempting us outdoors, we may be unwittingly making ourselves easier targets. Here are a few things we can do to prevent being victims.
Lock the front door – When hosting a back-yard get together, the front door can often be left unlocked. Direct guests to enter via side of the house. If everyone is in the backyard, all the burglar has to do is listen for party noises and try the front door. If it’s unlocked, a quick entry and departure with valuables may take hours to be noticed.
Keep the lawn trimmed – If you are going to be away for a while, make arrangements for the lawn to be cut regularly. A shaggy lawn can be a sure give-away that nobody’s home. Stop newspaper service as well.
Have it checked regularly – Besides it being a requirement of your homeowners’ insurance, have someone check inside your home every two days to make sure there are no problems with plumbing, appliances, etc. Have them do a quick tour of the yard and pick up any trash that’s lying around. Clever burglars will scatter a bit of litter and check back in a few days to see if it’s been picked up. As well have the checker turn on different lights in the house, don’t leave the outside light on. It may look good at night but not so good during the day. Leave a radio on tuned to the news channel.
Vague voice mail message – It can be tempting to leave a message that you’re on vacation until a certain date. This gives burglars a clear window on when they can break in. All that really needs to be asked for is name and number, and perhaps time of call.
No social media news – More and more people are using the Internet social networking sites to keep in touch with friends. Announcing a vacation or posting updates while travelling can potentially drop useful information into the hands of thieves. You think the information is only going to your closest and dearest friends and it is. Then they share it with their friend and so on and so on.
Keep it locked up – A recent news article recounted an incident of a woman who was ticketed for leaving her car windows open on a hot day. She was told by police that she broke the law by leaving her vehicle unprotected. Not only that, it could have led thieves right to her home. If they get your vehicle documents (which many leave in their glove boxes) and the garage door opener, which is usually clipped to the sun visor, burglars can make very quick work of stripping a home of valuables.
Don’t get lured away – Beware of someone posing as a passerby or neighbor who says they noticed something on your roof or home exterior they want to show you. While you’re distracted, an accomplice can slip in and make off with some valuables. Thieves can also use the old lost dog trick or pose as a utility worker who wants to show you where they’ll be working. If you are stepping out, lock the door.
Close the garage – Garages can get very hot during the summer. It is a real temptation to leave the door open to cool things down. A wide open garage can be an invitation for a theft of opportunity. From the curb it could be as tempting as a “garage sale” only free. Install curtains or blinds on garage windows and keep them closed so thieves can’t check out the contents. Keep the garage people (man) door with direct access to your home locked. – M Dumond
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