Our homes are our castles, safe havens from the boisterous world “out there.” Too often, without realizing it, we set ourselves up to attract a burglar and destroy the feeling of safety we have worked so hard to establish. It’s not so much what we don’t do, as what we do that may actually attract attention. Although it may not feel common in Nevada County, everyone has the same chance of a burglar invading their home. If you do the following, you might find yourself on the radar of a burglar.
1. Leave your home doors, windows, and storage sheds unlocked. This seems like a no-brainer and for most of us it is — as far as the front door is concerned. Have you thought about the back door, or are you trusting that the fence provides a security buffer? What about any sliding doors or side doors around the house? Unfortunately, many people in Nevada County are guilty of leaving all their doors unlocked (myself included). The best way to prevent a burglar entering your home? Make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave. If you notice that you aren’t using one door as much, go ahead and keep it locked. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Leave your car unlocked. Again, this is a popular thing among Nevada County residents. Many people think that having their car parked in front of their home or in their driveway means that their car won’t be robbed. This is not the case. Too often I have heard stories of friends who had their laptops, wallets, or coats stolen from their car. They should’ve been safe because their car was parked in front of their home, right? Making sure that your car is locked whenever you leave it makes it more inconvenient for a potential burglar. Also, be sure to always bring in your belongings from the car. A locked car won’t always be a deterrent for a desperate burglar. If you absolutely have to leave your wallet in the car, make sure it’s tucked away somewhere that is not visible to anyone who walks by your car. Toss it in the trunk, hide it in the glove box, or tuck it underneath a seat. Being preventative means that you’re chances of getting robbed are dramatically decreased.
3. Leave a key under the flower pot (or anywhere else). This is probably the most common way for a burglar to gain access to your home. Burglars know the common places to look, so that fake rock you put on the front porch is not going to fool them. Instead of hiding a key, go to your local hardware store and purchase a lock-box with a combination. Attach it to your back door and you have a safe place for your key.
4. Turn off all the lights when you leave for a night or a vacation. Here is where some smart home technology might potentially help deter a burglar. If lights are going on and off at random, it is hard to tell if there is someone home. Most burglars won’t take the chance, unless of course you turn off all the lights. You can also have neighbors or friends regularly stop by the house to check on everything. Make sure that they turn on all the lights and hang out for a little bit. That way the home looks occupied and no one will be any wiser that you aren’t home.
5. Post details about your upcoming vacation. This next one sounds kind of silly, but it’s also important to note. Signs on your door or gate announcing you are not home for two weeks because you are hiking the Andes will foil all of your best efforts at home security. The same is true for social media posts. Doing a countdown to your upcoming vacation is not an exceptionally good idea. Save your photos of your vacation for when you return. Also, although we get excited for our vacations too, try not to broadcast them verbally either. You never know who might be listening to you talk to the cashier about how excited you are to go on vacation.
6. Leave boxes of expensive items at the curb. This is not limited to Christmas. Big purchases of expensive items happen during the year, and you can easily advertise this fact by simply placing the empty box at the curb for collection. If possible, have packages shipped to your work place or have neighbors who are home watch for any packages. Also, if you can pickup an item from the store, go ahead and have it sent to the store. It’s a little inconvenient to have to go to the store to pick up what you want, but you’ll be saved the heartache of having that new, expensive item stolen off your front porch.
7. Have a beautiful, well manicured yard with excellent curb appeal or an unkempt, neglected yard with poor curb appeal. Here’s one you didn’t expect. Curb appeal is great, but can also attract attention whether its good or bad. For example, if your yard looks like it hasn’t been mowed in a few months, burglars will think that your home is rarely occupied. You also should be careful to make sure you don’t go to the other side of the spectrum and have a home that looks super neat and clean all the time. Either way, make sure you include lights and security systems in your landscaping. According to international security providers, a potential burglar can spot a good security system, too.
8. Leave expensive toys outside overnight. Don’t let your children’s expensive toys say, “Come on In!” to a potential thief. Make sure that your children store their toys inside the garage or shed when they are done playing outside.
You work hard to make your home a beautiful retreat. Make it safe, too.