Keeping your home secure and safe isn't just about burglar alarms and locked doors. There is a lot going outside your home that can entice a burglar to break in to your home, or that can give them extra help. Usually when a burglar decides to rob a home, the home has to meet a few simple criteria:
- There is something inside worth stealing
- It's not too difficult to break in and enter without being seen
- It will be easy to leave and get away undetected
The reason why crime deterrents, including alarm systems and surveillance cameras, work inside the home is because they draw attention to the crime and make it difficult for burglars to get away anonymously. But most homeowners don't realize that there are features and items outside your home which can give burglars some assistance. Here are a few of the most common home security mistakes most of us make:
Don't Leave Valuables Outdoors. Barbecue grills, bicycles, lawn mowers, and baby strollers are often left on porches or in yards. It's easy for a thief to hop on a bicycle and ride away in seconds. Many burglaries occur during the day, and no one would think twice about a person walking down the street pushing a stroller, which could contain stolen property instead of a baby.
Put Away Your Tools. Many homeowners leave tools in unsecured sheds and garages, or even leaning outside a house. A burglar can grab a shovel and use it to smash a window, or quickly climb a ladder and rob your home via a second floor window. Always make sure that you store tools and ladders inside secure storage areas.
Stay Anonymous. Don't put your name on your mailbox or on a decorative plaque by the front door. It gives creative burglars the ability to search for your private information on the internet. Some burglars use tricks such as dressing up as utility workers in order to gain access to check pipes inside your home. If a burglar knowns your name, you'll let your guard down and be more trusting.
Watch Your Trash. When you buy a new TV or computer, the large box usually sits next to your home or at the curb for a while, waiting for the trash collectors to take it. You may not realize it, but this is basically an advertisement to thieves, letting them know what is new items are inside your home. Keep big boxes indoors until the garbage or recycling truck is on your block, or cut the box apart, turn it inside out, and fold it flat to keep the outside of the box hidden from view.
Keep Your Car Secure Too. Homeowners frequently leave valuables in their cars, such as iPods, video games, cash, and computers. Cars are much easier to break into than homes, and few people pay attention to car alarms in dense cities. More importantly, few people know that a common burglar trick is to break into the car, press the button on the garage door opener, and walk right into the home. Always lock the door between your garage and house with a secure lock, and make has an alarm system sensor.
Burglars will always look for new ways to break in, but you can keep yourself from becoming a victim if you are as diligent about home security outside your home as you are inside. The decision to rob your home is made when the burglars are outside, so you want burglars to think that your home is difficult to enter and exit, and that there is nothing worth stealing inside. The key to staying safe is to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. With just a little effort, your can be successful.
Joseph Carney is a home security expert for LifeShield Home Security. He has worked as a security consultant for small businesses and schools for 12 years. In his free time, he writes about crime, home security, and technology to teach people how to stay safe and secure, no matter where they live.