Most of us consider our home our haven, the place we go to feel safe. My friend used to feel safe. However, she recently was victim to a burglary. Every year, over 2 million homes are violated by burglars. That’s a burglary every 15 seconds!
Many times, the victims are careful people who think they’re doing all the right things. But in reality, they’re making crucial mistakes that make them targets. I was burglarized three years ago and learned the hard way. So I researched and talked with others encountering similar consequences and also became part of my Neighborhood Watch program where I learned a multitude of things from our local police. Here are some of the “mistakes” we tend to make.
Mistake #1: Leaving the burglar alarm off when you’re running out for a few minutes. Nearly all house robbed had expensive alarm systems, yet more than half the time, the alarms weren’t turned on!
Sophisticated burglars watch neighborhoods and learned when residents go to work or run errands and how long they’re likely to be away. They’re ready to move the minute you leave. So do yourself a favor and set the alarm, even if you’re just running out for 15 minutes.
Mistake #2: Posting detailed alarm signs. When you post a sign which identifies the alarm company, you’ve just given the burglar the information he needs to disable the alarm. All the burglar has to do is buy a diagram of how that particular system is wired.
Buy a generic sign from a home supply store that simply says, “House Protected by Alarm System.” As long as it doesn’t give specific information, in can be a good deterrent.
Mistake #3: Hiding your valuables in the bedroom. It’s the first place burglars will look. I learned this one the hard way. The burglars checked the underwear drawers, under the mattress, the night stands, high closet shelves, pockets of jackets, blazers and coats in the closet, etc. And of course the house was a mess.
You can always keep money or jewelry you rarely wear in a safe-deposit box. Hide other valuables where burglars won’t look: in the garage, or above removable ceiling tiles, or in the freezer, or in fake soup cans made for this purpose.
Mistake #4: Hiding windows with landscaping. Tall bushes and shrubs allow burglars to jimmy windows without being seen. Also don’t count on thorny plants to prevent entry. Professional thieves wear gloves and 2 layers of clothes – and carry cutting tools to remove any thorny obstacles that may get in the way.
Mistake #5: Leaving the lights on all the time. This is no more of a deterrent than a dark house. It’s better to use timers when you’re away for a while or on vacation. This way lights will go on and off at different intervals.
Don’t allow yourself and your home to be a “target” for burglars to separate you from you electronics, jewelry, cash and other important items. Stay safe, be aware and when in doubt, call the police!