Whom better than a burglar knows what a great way to find a victim is? Edith Cowan University in Australia interviewed 69 burglars. One of their favorite methods of finding a target is to search social media for vacation updates.
You can extrapolate that it wouldn’t be a bright idea to reveal travel plans on your voicemail. Only close family and friends should know; this excludes casual neighbors. Here are more tips:
Don’t buy the biggest house on the block. The biggest, fanciest house on the block really gets a burglar’s attention. Skip it when home shopping.
Home security systems
The vast majority of burglars will not bother with a home that has an alarm. Put the alarm company’s stickers on your windows and their sign in your yard.
Use services like Total Connect by Honeywell to control your home from wherever you are. Get video updates of any activity on your front door or cars. You can unlock and disarm your system all from your phone.
Use a safe for pricey items. Put jewelry in a plastic bag from Walmart, then put it on your vanity. What thief will look inside, thinking it’s new hairspray or a pack of bobby pins?
Close your curtains
It’s a myth that closed curtains in broad daylight are an invitation to burglars. Thieves don’t just break into any home. They want to make sure their efforts are worth it. How can they know this if they can’t see into your house?
But if you want the curtains/shades open for light to come in or to expose a nice view, at least close them when it begins getting dusky. A burglar cases possible targets by looking inside, and it’s very easy for them to see through a bare window at night when your lights are on. Not only can they see what’s worth breaking in for, but they’ll be able to see if the residents can be easily overpowered.
Looks are everything
Accumulations of mail and newspapers will get a burglar’s attention. So will unmowed lawns and a perpetually barren driveway. Put a delivery stop on mail and newspapers, and ask neighbors to park their cars in your lot. Use automatic timers for indoors that set off lights and TVs. Mute the ringer volume on your phone.
Lock your front door!
A 2008 State Farm Insurance study revealed that under 50 percent of 1,000 respondents locked their front doors. It takes the average thief 60 seconds to break in, but only a few seconds for you to lock each portal to your home. Burglars don’t like hard work. Add extra security with a deadbolt.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, interestingly, says that 40 percent of home burgles are not forced entries. Burglars are literally waltzing right into homes via an unlocked door or window. Lock up, even when you’re home, even during the day. Many burglaries occur during the day.
Keep the garage door closed
Even when you’re home. Install a device that will automatically close the garage door after a specific amount of time open. Prior to traveling, disable the door’s opener or lock the door if it rolls up.
Don’t leave the boxes that expensive items came in, visible on your curb for trash pickup. Disassemble as much as possible and conceal.
Don’t aid burglars
Keep plant growth away from entry points so that burglars can’t conceal themselves when they’re trying to break in. If you absolutely must have shrubbery near entry points due to aesthetic appeal, then choose thorny plants to repel a thief.
Know your neighbors
Not many burglars will get past a Mrs. Kravitz-type neighbor. A stranger will stand out to neighbors who know each other. Get a Neighborhood Watch program going.
Get a dog
A dog’s incessant barking will drive many burglars away.
Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert to SecurityOptions.com discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.