Since you were a kid, you’ve probably had adults (your parents and other homeowners) talking to you about special things to do to your home in order to make sure that burglars leave it alone.
Chances are, though, if a burglar is experienced, none of these basic safeguards will do much for you. For example, leaving the TV on during the day is somewhat clever, but if the burglar checks all of the rooms in your house (and doesn’t just look at the living room), he’ll realize that you’re not actually home.
(In his mind, he might give you a pat on the back, but your valuables are now, of course, his.)
Here are some special things that as a homeowner, you should be thinking about. Only a home security system will completely protect your house, but keeping these facts in mind can sometimes deter burglars before they even try to get inside.
You should be polite to the contractors working on your house. Be cordial, offer a bathroom, bring them lemonade, etc. You’ll get a better job done and feel better about yourself at the same time.
But after they’re gone, you have to make sure that your home is exactly as it was before.
The new hire might sneak off to the side, pretending to be on his phone, and unlock one of your windows. Then, he’ll wait two weeks and come back. Surprise… if you haven’t re-locked it (homeowners rarely check if their windows are locked), he’s in.
Even if a contractor seems like the nicest guy to ever live, once he leaves, you should imagine that he was literally looking for ways to break into your house the entire time he was here.
Give your house a sweep once they leave. You never know.
One of the classic tips is having one of your neighbors pick up your daily newspaper – and it’s a great tip. If a burglar sees a pile of newspapers, you’re clearly on vacation and not in your house.
But, if a burglar just suspects that you’re on vacation (maybe your newspapers aren’t there, but all of the other signs are), he will often plant more than just newspapers. He’ll drop a bunch of flyers near your front and back doors. As a homeowner, if you saw a pile of annoying flyers when you walked out of your house, would you pick them up and throw them out inside?
You would. And he knows that. When you have a neighbor pick up your newspaper, ask that he does some basic looking around your house for flyers and such. It’s a bit more hassle for him, but a lot more security for you.
Meteorologists love to get people hyped up for storms – they tell people to stay inside, stock up on food, etc.
But think about it – if you live in a colder climate, how many times have you actually stayed in your house for days on end? Sure, you might have stayed inside during the span of the storm, but after it was done, you probably walked outside to grab coffee or do some shoveling.
If it snows, ask your neighbors to create footprints to and from your front door. It doesn’t have to be excessive… just don’t make it clear that you’re obviously not home with a pristine sheet of white snow.
You may think that because it’s cold and raining, a burglar is going to stay inside warm and cozy. Unfortunately, he’s not. Cold, treacherous weather is by far the best weather for robbing someone’s house.
After all, it’s dark when the weather is bad, and it being dark means that no one sees the burglar creep to and from your house.
Burglars are a meticulous breed of people. They’re not going to come in, race around, check the obvious hiding spots, and then leave. They’re going to be turning over everything in your house… ripping up couch cushions, dumping out drawers, etc. After all, they don’t rob dozens of houses a day – they want their reward from each one to be the greatest.
So when you’re hiding your valuables, don’t stick with a small safe or a sock drawer. They’re checking the drawer, and if they can’t get the safe open through brute force alone, they’re going to take it with them. Instead, go with somewhere that they’d never think to check – deep in one of the wall vents, etc.
Of course, this is something to think about for when the burglar gets inside, if he does. The four tips above that should keep you safe, and remember to always arm your home security system when you leave, even if it’s for just a couple of minutes. Good luck!