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15 Ways You Might Be Unknowingly Encouraging Burglars To Break Into Your Home

Posted: February 27, 2014

Keeping your home safe is a tricky endeavor. Help up your home security game by patching these fifteen security flaws, and declare checkmate on petty thieves.

1. Conspicuous Consumption

You’re proud of your possessions, and you should be. You work hard for your things and showing them off feels like a natural way to express your pride. But a constant stream of Amazon boxes and high-end online shopping shipments are a sure way that could make you a target. Consider talking to your mail carrier and organize a place to put packages while you’re at work.

2. Lack of Exterior Lighting

Home security doesn’t begin with a locked door; it begins when an intruder’s foot crosses the property line. Dark spaces are perfect approach paths for unscrupulous characters, so take the time to install some security lighting. A spotlight can be a great way to make people think twice about breaching your sanctuary.

3. Sliding Doors and Windows

While these aesthetically pleasing portals allow extra light into your home, they also invite thieves. Sliding doors often have flimsy locks that are easily circumvented, or weak glass that is easily smashed, making that attractive design choice an unnecessary liability. Toss a dowel rod or chunk of wood in the track so that even if the locking mechanism is circumvented, there’s no way the door is moving anywhere.

4. Leaving Out a Spare Key

Your teenage son or daughter will thank you for the consideration, but so will a thief. The classic “key in a fake rock” is practically a written invite to a burglar’s buffet. So before you consider leaving out a spare key “just in case”, consider the easy access you’re providing to the exact individuals you want to keep out.

5. Un-manicured Greenery

A row of decorative hedges serves two important purposes. 1) It creates an inviting entryway to your home and 2) it creates a darkened avenue for intrusion. The floodlights you install will have little effect if trees and shrubbery are casting convenient shadows, so consider pruning the landscaping a bit. Your azaleas may be the cost, but your safety is the reward.

6. Poor Vacation Planning

Going on vacation is an exciting opportunity, both for your family and for burglars. When scouting out houses, thieves look for stuffed mailboxes, absent residents, and darkened windows, all of which indicate that your home is open for business. Consider having a neighbor swing by and check on the property, or set timers on your lights in order to provide the illusion of presence. Deterrent is the first form of security, and very few criminals are willing to risk breaking into an occupied home.

7. Lack of a Security System

When keeping your home safe, it’s important to leverage all your assets. This could be neighbors, proper gardening, and the police. But with cops on call several miles away, it’s unlikely that a law-abiding passerby will report a break-in. A security system can help automate this whole process for you, using censors to detect intrusion and reporting the incident to the security company, who can contact the proper authorities. You’ll need allies in your fight against burglars, and a security system is your Bat Signal.

8. No Locked Windows

It’s easy to think of second story windows as “out of reach” to criminals. But if they aren’t going to knock on your door, they certainly aren’t going to worry about a little climbing. Second story windows are just as susceptible to entry as first-story windows, particularly if there’s a tree or roof nearby to permit entry. Don’t take the risk. Buy windows that lock, consider security system window sensors, and help protect your family in the process.

9. Clearly Visible Valuables

Heirlooms and flat-screen televisions are fun to display. After all, you purchased these items so that you could enjoy them. But picture windows and plasma screens are natural born enemies. Placing your valuables on display for passers-by is a surefire way to eliminate the guesswork involved in burglary. You want your home to be a safe, not a display case, so draw the shades and consider putting the good silver in the closet when not in use.

10. Lack of Neighborhood Watch

Your neighbors are your allies, but only if you enlist them. A neighborhood watch sign shows that your community is paying attention, and suspicious activity will not be tolerated. Once again, deterrent is generally your best weapon against burglars, and career criminals aren’t going to want to risk getting caught in an especially vigilant neighborhood.

11. Too Much Information Online

Criminals love the Internet. It’s made the prospect of burglary much easier, thanks to individuals willing to share far too much information about their homes and possessions on public forums. Your Facebook account is a great place to connect with loved ones, but be hesitant about publishing the layout of your home or pictures of your new electronics for the world to see. The last thing you should do is provide a scouting report for unsavory characters.

12. A Secluded Location

The advantage of a cul de sac is obvious: more eyes, more safety. Unfortunately, those who live in wooded or rural areas are not so lucky. The privilege of living in a secluded location carries with it an inherent vulnerability. So while you may enjoy your urban retreat, remember that your safety is predicated on exposure of potential intruders.

13. Old Locks

That fussy deadbolt or crusty chain may add charm to your home, but they also make you vulnerable to a strong kick or shoulder. The term “break in” exists for a reason: force is a tool for the petty thief. When criminals come to call, a crumbling lock will likely betray you, right when it matters most.

14. Attached Garages

It’s convenient to walk from the home to the car without braving the winter cold or summer heat. But direct access to your home, shielded only by a thin piece of sheet metal, is a gateway for determined criminals. Every portal of your home should possess a strong locking mechanism, and before you trust your garage door to keep out the riff raff, pick up an extra deadbolt for your attached garage.

15. Lowered Guard

The consistent thread through all of these vulnerabilities is simple: each one represents a lapse in judgment. Making efforts to help ensure your home secure is a proactive endeavor, and those coveting your Blu-ray player are waiting for you to let your guard down. Don’t give them the opportunity and maintain safety and security as top priorities in your home. The reward for your work is peace of mind, and no one can put a price on that. Security flaws listed here are green lights for sticky fingers, but each one has a simple and easy solution. Don’t become a statistic; take care of your home and your loved ones by patching the leaks, and you can rest assured that your possessions and psychological comfort will be yours for many years to come.