1. Neighbors Identify your neighbors and form a neighborhood watch because power in numbers is a great thing. If you can’t form a neighborhood watch then identify neighbors with a clear sight to your house. Some can even notify the authorities before your alarm company can. (if you even have an alarm) having a nosy neighbor is not always a bad thing
2. Locks I’m not going to tell you to lock your doors and windows and shut your garage door, but did you ever consider the access to the second story window you have right above your garage? The one with the flower trellis leading up to it? Fortify your windows by reinforcing the locks and removing easy access to them. If it is hard to open or get to a burglar will not consider it. Helps for teenagers as well.
3. Lights Keep your lights on. Seriously, I know it may sound like a crazy waste of electricity, but find an efficient bulb and an outside light and leave it on during the night if you are not there. It illuminates dark hiding places. Some even go so far to leave a radio on while on vacation, the TV, or record your pet barking and set it up to a motion sensor to have it bark every time someone walks within a hundred feet….ok that last one may be going too far but seriously….consider it.
4. Routine Keep em’ guessing with routines. Routines might take only a couple of days for a burglar to figure out if they are casing your neighborhood. If possible leave at different times. Come home at different times. Make it a point if you live close to come home for lunch and vary your lunch time. Leave a different light in a different room on during different days. Don’t do it too much or a pattern will develop and you can be easily figured out. If they don’t know when you might be home or not, then they probably won’t pick your house.
5. Mail Don’t write your full name on your mail box. Let’s be honest here…the mail person only cares about the address, not who lives there. If you write your name on your mailbox then strangers have your full name and address and that can be a key component if someone wants to steal your identity. Also try to expect what is being mailed to you. Know the bill dates, track magazines, write the days down that you receive them. This way you can be better prepared if you suspect mail theft. And do the neighborly thing and deliver your neighbors mail that was put in your box by mistake…it won’t hurt, I promise.
6. Strangers Don’t answer your door to strangers….seriously. We were all told this at one point in our childhood but practice this advice in your adult life as well. This should be practiced for any reason. I don’t care if it’s a little girl with pig tails selling Girl Scout cookies don’t open your door to strangers. Often time criminals will case your house by selling bogus products or get you to write them a check for a “subscription” Congratulations; you just willingly gave your bank account information to a complete stranger or given them a quick peek inside your house to determine if you have goods worth stealing.
7. Vacation If you plan on being away from your house for more than a day or so have a trusted family member or friend visit your home at random times. Have them switch on and off different lights, water your flowers, wave to your neighbors, pick up your newspapers and take them inside (number one sign you are not there are papers piling up at your door step) anything they can do to create the illusion that no one stands a chance at being alone in your house.
8. Fake outs Put up a sign that says “Smile, you’re on video”, “beware of dog” or “No Trespassing” Some people go so far to put up Security Company signs to create the allusion that they have a fancy security system protecting their home. I recommend that if you are going to go that far then get an actual security system. We are all cautious of the driver with a “baby on board” sticker aren’t we? Same concept can be applied to home security.
9. A Safe If you can afford it then buy a safe. Safes come in all different types. Some home safes are surprisingly affordable and have capabilities of protecting your valuables from fire as well as burglary. Some people express a complete peace of mind knowing that a burglar will have to work very hard to steal their prized possessions.
10. Security System Purchase a home security system. If money is not an issue for you then leave it up to the professionals. Most alarm systems are monitored and come with all kinds of sensors. They will easily alert the authorities for you depending on your contract.