- Lock everything. Lock your house, lock your car, lock your shed and outbuildings, lock the gate. Don't hide a key. Criminals know where to look, they will find any key you hide. If you frequently lock yourself out, leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor.
- Anything outside and not locked up might as well have a sign on it that says "Free stuff!" Bicycles, kid toys, lawn and garden equipment, even your porch furniture- if it is not secure it can and will be stolen.
- Turn your outside lights on at night. Use solar lights and/or motion detectors if you don't want a big electric bill. You don't want to make it easy for them. Don't get me wrong, criminals work at all hours. Burglars will come break into your house in the middle of the day on a weekday, if they're reasonably sure you're at work. Just don't provide them with the cover of darkness.
- On the same note, don't have lots dense of shrubbery that make it hard to see your house. Especially your doors and windows. Trim everything so it's either very low, or has no leaves to hide behind for at least 3 feet above the ground. Side note, this is also can function as "clearing a field of fire" for if you need to defend your home. If you don't know what that means, look it up. It's important. Dense shrubbery with thorns is an exception, see: http://suburbanprepper.blogspot.com/2012/11/security-unfriendly-plants.html
- Don't advertise that you have nice things inside your house. I'd noticed that some people position their Christmas tree so it can be seen from the street through their windows. That is stupid. So is having your TV, computer, or other expensive possessions where they can be easily seen from outside your house. If you refuse to get burglar bars, at least close your curtains. This goes for cars, too. Take your tools and widgets inside. Don't forget to take your garage door opener! You don't want the thief to come back later and let themselves into your house through the garage. Also, please tell me you don't leave your purse or packages in the car, ever.
- Take a look at houses that have over-the-top holiday displays. You may see "Holiday spirit", but criminals see "They have money to burn." If you can afford the electric bill for your Winter Wonderland, you probably have something inside worth stealing. They'll also steal your inflatable Santa. I'm not saying to be a Scrooge and do nothing, even I have a modest string of lights. Just don't be dumb about it.
- Same thing goes for leaving boxes out on the curb. That box for your new TV just tells burglars that you have something good to steal. If you can't fit them in the trashcan take them to the dump, take them to recycle, burn them as kindling, something.
- Use noisemakers. They make battery powered pool alarms that have a keypad, and a siren that'll make your ears ring. Keep in mind that these do no good unless someone is actually LISTENING for the alarm. I use a couple around my house and have set them off accidentally once or twice. Nobody even blinked.
- If you can't be home to receive packages and mail, find some way to secure them. There are locking mailboxes and vaults for packages, but they're not cheap. Maybe have packages delivered to your work, or a neighbor who will be home. Thieves will steal the packages off your porch and the Christmas cards out of your mailbox. If you're going away, have the post office hold your mail. They'll do it for free, all you have to do is go to the post office and fill out a form.
- Finally, don't tell me how nice your neighborhood is, or how it's so rural that "Nobody around here locks their doors", or how watchful your neighbors are, or how good your police force is. Criminals have cars, and they drive around looking for suckers like that. Your neighbor may have to go to the store, or otherwise have their own business to mind. The son of that nice couple you've known for years may be a convicted burglar. Finally, 99.9% of the time, cops respond to crimes that have already happened. It's your responsibility to secure your possessions.
27 November 2012
Safety & security: Theft prevention
Tis' the season- for burglaries. The holidays are here and the criminals have shopping to do, but unfortunately they're going to do theirs by breaking into your house or car. I kid you not, they'll break into your house and steal the presents out from under your tree. Your local police department can probably tell you that thefts and burglaries usually spike around the holidays, but what with the economy you can expect there are going to be even more than usual.