Mistakes. We all make them, right? Some mistakes like, overcooking dinner, forgetting to set your alarm clock, aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But home security mistakes are another story. Burglaries are more common than you think. One burglary happens every 15 seconds in this country, and a shocking 30 percent of burglaries don’t require the use of force. Which means there are home security mistakes that could make your home an easy target for burglars and intruders. The safety of your loved ones and the security of your belongings is at stake.
Security Mistake #15: The not so hidden key
Burglars love when homeowners “hide” their keys under the doormat, or in a fake rock or lawn ornament. Experienced burglars know exactly where to look to find your hidden key. Don’t leave a spare key in what is actually an obvious place.
Consider a system that offers key less entry, so you can give the nanny, cleaning person, or handyman access, without having a lot of spare keys floating around, or hidden by your door.
Security Mistake #14: Ladder Access
Take a look outside your home. Is there a ladder stored in plain sight? Is it in the backyard, leaning against the house? Is it in an unlocked shed? Or, has it been left outside, under the window you were fixing?
A ladder is a great tool for a burglar. Don’t leave ladders unsecured outside your home, lest you aid an intruder’s entrance to your home.
Security Mistake #13: Door and Window Lock
It seems obvious, but keeping doors and windows locked can go great lengths to keep your home secure. Remember the statistic, that 30 percent of burglaries happen without force, making unlocked doors and windows easy access for intruders.
Don’t just lock your doors and windows. Take safety a step further and make sure your door and window locks aren’t old and malfunctioning, or cheap or poorly made. Spend a few extra dollars on quality locks.
Security Mistake #12: Your Garage
Most garages are attached to your home, meaning once inside your garage, an intruder can also access your house if it’s unlocked. Prevent this by locking both your garage and the door that connects your garage to your house.
The first line of defense is making sure your garage doors remain locked at all times, no matter what. This includes while you’re home. But don’t stop there. Keep the door from your garage to your inner sanctum locked too.
Security Mistake #11: When the dog barks… or doesn’t
You’ve got a dog, which means burglars aren’t coming near your house, right? Wrong. Don’t rest easy thinking having a dog means your home is protected. After all, Fido does like to nap a lot, and he does leave the house with you for walks or car rides.
Your dog also might not bark at someone familiar, like a handyman or repairman who could take advantage by coming back later after making friends with your furry creature.
Security Mistake #10: Fake or Cheap Security Equipment
Sure, it might be cheap to go on the Internet and buy a fake surveillance camera or some home security signs. But burglars can spot fake security equipment from a mile away. And once they realize that your house isn’t secure, they’ll take it as an invitation to come on in.
You know the saying “You get what you pay for”, that’s certainly true for security systems. There are a lot of cheap options out there but why would you skimp on something as important as home security? You want top of the line equipment installed by a reputable and licensed security company.
Security Mistake #9: Hiding Places
Burglars love nothing more than back or side yards with plenty of shadows and places to hide. Tall shrubbery along your house, or dark areas of your yard, provide the perfect cover for a burglar to work in darkness or shielded from view.
Use motion detector lights along the perimeter of your home and garage, and cut back any overgrown landscaping.
Security Mistake #8: Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting is the perfect solution to not giving burglars a place to hide in your yard or outside your house. Set up a few well-placed motion detector lights, on garages and porches, and along the sides or back of your house.
Also make sure entrances to your home are well lit, and lit all night. Decorative lighting can play a role in safety by making walkways, paths, or your driveway well lit, leaving nowhere to hide.
Security Mistake #7: Don’t Advertise
Tomorrow is trash and recycling day. What do you do with the packaging from your new flat screen television, smart phone, or other electronics or expensive purchase?
Placing boxes at your curb for anyone to see is an advertisement showcasing exactly what shiny new toys are inside your home. Instead, flatten, cut up, and throw packaging away in trash bags (not the see-through kind).
Security Mistake #6: Don’t display items in the window
Just as you like to go window-shopping, so do burglars. Don’t leave expensive jewelry, electronics, or other items near windows. Go outside and peek in your windows. What items do you see that someone might want to steal?
Security Mistake #5: Smart Storage
Just as you don’t want to leave your valuables within view of your windows, don’t leave your security system next to a window or door. Doing so allows a burglar to look inside and see if your security system is armed and active.
Instead, keep your system in a cabinet, a room away from first-floor windows, or elsewhere out of view.
Security Mistake #4: Don’t forget about maintenance
You already have a security system in place, so pat yourself on the back. But don’t just forget about it. You’ll need to make sure to routinely maintain your system and its components. Make sure batteries are fresh, locks are functioning, and light bulbs haven’t burnt out.
Security Mistake #3: Social Media
Sure, you want to stay connected with friends and family. But know when to keep quiet on social media sites, like when you’re going on vacation or will be away for a day or few. Brag about the beach when you get back, not before, which announces to the world that your home is empty. Like us on Facebook!
Security Mistake #2: Leave more than a light on
When you are going away for a few days, don’t just turn out the lights and go. Put timers on various lights throughout your home, not just one light—and have them come on at different times of day. Give the idea that someone is there, even when nobody is.
With new home automation technology, you can set schedules on your security system that turns certain lights on at certain times.
Security Mistake #1: Stop the mail and newspaper
Nothing alerts a burglar like mail overflowing from the mailbox, or newspapers piled up in your driveway. Stop mail and newspaper delivery while you’re out of town, and enlist a neighbor to pick up any packages or other deliveries that may arrive while you’re gone.
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