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Be Burglar Blockers - What To Do If You've Been In Your Home For A While

This is similar to yesterday's post - and suggests we be burglar blockers - what to do if you've been in your home for a while.

First of all, if you have not read yesterday's post and suggestions, you might.  It is a good place to start no matter who you are.

Remember, burglars are opportunists and predators.  As such, they are very good at watching and planning and moving at the right time.  Theirs is usually a practiced technique.  One friend of mine is a Washington DC detective.  He says that burglars know more about our homes than we do!  He might be right. 

SO LET'S NOT MAKE IT EASIER FOR THEM!

1.  Two more reasons for an alarm system.  If there is a home invasion, and they happen frequently, alarm key pads have a special feature.  There are panic buttons.  Ours allows us to call the police, fire department, and emergency services - all at once or individually.  They are direct wired to call each service, at least on my system.

Also, if you are not home, there is still someone watching the house for fires!  A friend of mine had perfectly-functioning smoke detectors.  Their house caught on fire, a smoldering fire to start, and the detectors worked perfectly.  But nobody was home to hear them.  A monitored system would have notified the fire department.  Their house mostly burned down.

And the better systems call your alarm company and these emergency services if the phone lines are intentionally cut!

2.  If your front door does not have side lights, put in a peep hole.  This is particularly important if you live in an apartment building or condo.  Do not let anyone in who is unexpected, unless you know them!  And if your door bell rings late at night, ALWAYS answer the door to let them know somebody is home.  DO NOT open the door to a stranger.  And speak quietly as if you don't want to wake others.  If you are alone, you might even say that you don't want to wake up your house guests, even if there aren't any! 

NEVER LET A STRANGER IN "JUST TO USE THE PHONE."  THE BEST CASE FOR THEM IS FOR YOU TO ASK THEM TO MOVE AWAY FROM THE DOOR WHILE YOU PLACE THE PHONE OUTSIDE.  HAVE THEM LAY THE PHONE DOWN AND RING THE BELL WHEN THEY ARE DONE.  PICK UP THE PHONE AFTER THEY HAVE MOVED AWAY FROM THE DOOR.

3.  Record your answering machine message to say you cannot come to the phone right then, NOT that "nobody is home now."  Have the message use the word "WE," not I.

4.  Have a phone in every room!  But especially near your bed.  It takes about one second to dial 911.

5.  Keep your windows locked!  Even on upper floors!  Some window lock positions are visible with binoculars.  A burglar can see if the windows are locked or not!

6.  If you have ladders around your property, keep them locked!  Why make it easy to access the upper floors!  Or even the upper floors of your neighbor's house!  If it was determined that a burglar got into your neighbor's house using your ladder, well, good luck.

7.  When on vacation have neighbors take care of your property.  They can pick up the mail, paper and fliers.  Park a car in your driveway.  If they have a key they can change drape and blind positions.  Your lamps should be on timers to go on and off at different times and on every floor.  The last light to go off should be your bedroom.  Burglars all know which is the master bedroom window.

Unplug the garage door opener and put a lock in the track.  Some burglars have electronic devices to pick the code on the key pad outside!  (Most have a lock feature, to protect you at night, but you have to remember to turn it off for when you get home!)

8.  High fences block a view of your house.  Burglars love places to hide, so trim back bushes and shrubs.  Some people plant roses in front of lower windows!

9.  Unless you have a 1200 pound safe, don't keep your very valuables all in one place.  There are various manufacturers of hiding places such as hollowed books, jelly jars, oil cans, soda cans, shaving cream cans, and the like.  They look just like the real thing!  Remember, typically the burglar is in your house only for minutes, and would not want to go around shaking everything in your bathroom, kitchen or garage. 

A wall safe in a common spot, like the master bedroom closet, which contains fake, but real-looking, jewelry might make a burglar in a hurry think he has found the mother lode, grab it all and leave the house.

IF YOU HAVE A LARGE SAFE, LOCK AWAY YOUR COMPUTERS WHEN YOU GO AWAY.  BURGLARS LOVE COMPUTERS.  IDENTITY THEFT TAKES A VERY SHORT WHILE!  IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SAFE, LEAVE YOUR COMPUTERS WITH A TRUSTED NEIGHBOR.

10.  Don't conduct business at your front door with unknown "sales people" who are making their way through the neighborhood.  They will have "uniforms," clipboards, vans and hats with logos, whatever, and look bona fide.  Certainly don't let them in!  What better way to case your household dynamic, or the neighborhood, than out in the open!  Should they show up later, pull into your driveway, bump your front door lock and go in, nobody would give them a second look.  Be sure you trust service people, or service companies, who come into your house.  If they aren't well known, or known to you, don't use them.

11.  Remember, remember - lots of light.  Motion sensors are great!  Burglars will never wear white!

My recommendation:  research this!  Find things that might apply to your personal circumstance.  Be smart!  You probably cannot do enough to protect yourself and your family.  So do everything you can!

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW.  HOW MANY BURGLARIES HAVE YOU TURNED AWAY BY HAVING DONE SOME OF THESE THINGS PRIOR TO NOW!?

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 37 commentsJay Markanich • September 17 2011 05:30AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. Very good information. I think that far too many folks because they live in "Safe" neighborhoods are lulled into a false sense of security...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) almost 7 years ago

Precisely why burglars and home invaders target those neighborhoods Michael!  Predation of the unaware!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Great advice, Jay.  Suggested.  Oh, and there is another benefit for alarm monitoring/monitoring motion.  I had a customer who was away and got a call from her alarm place because there was "motion" detected."  It turned out she had a major flood and pieces of the ceiling were falling off and activated the detectors. 

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 7 years ago

Thank you for the great tips. I will also check out the other post. Suggested.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Wow, that's cool Debbie!  I am big on alarm systems, looking at yesterday and today's posts.  I have never heard about motion sensors seeing the falling ceiling!

Those who have dogs can't set theirs while away during the day.  But probably don't need to if the windows and doors are protected.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Thank you Gita.  The two posts together are very helpful, I think.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay.  I think you covered it all.  Great post, thanks.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) almost 7 years ago

Jay you are right this is a great post!  Lots of good tips!  I am going to use for a reblog!

Posted by Debbie Walsh, Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036 (Shahar Management) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Ken.  I am done with these for a while.  Two is enough!

Thank you Debra.  Did you miss yesterday's post?  Thanks for the reblog!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay:

Good advice.  You can never be too careful.  All you suggestions are important to remember and do.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) almost 7 years ago

I hope you can use them Evelyn.  And research some things that might be applicable for your situation.  These are interesting sites:

http://www.safemart.com/
http://www.whfsecurity.com/

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the points cjgeo.  Why do you people do this?  Nobody is going to click on you.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago
I read yesterday's post and yours today, too. This will be a great reblog!
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) almost 7 years ago

Jay fantastic tips for safety. A little precaution goes a long way. I have to tell you i did not have aphone near my bed and just finished moving one to my night stand. have a great weekend.

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) almost 7 years ago

This is a great list and I am going to repost it so that everyone can see it!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay, You have compiled a very worthy and important and comprehensive, safety list.               

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Cheryl.  Glad it's useful and relevant for you!

Scott - you never know when you might need it!

Barbara-Jo - thanks and it's just as important where you are as here, California or Alaska!

Thanks Sandy.  Glad you looked at both of them!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay - You are making my head spin.  There are a lot of good ideas here, and people should consider.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 7 years ago

Great post Jay.  In these times of economic difficulty, even areas that people thought were crime proof have seen increases in burglaries.

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) almost 7 years ago

I guess I'm a bit sorry and a bit happy that's the case Christine!  And hopefully, again, things you can use.

Howard and Susan - I have not looked at the statistics, but when we are the casualty the statistic is an overwhelming one.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Anothe great articl, and a follow up too. We all know we should practice these measures, but how many of us do it.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 7 years ago

I don't know Robert.  Apparently not enough as burglaries are up!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

You're making me tired just thinking about all that stuff.  I'm going to have my German Shepherd, Stanley, read this blog... I leave the household security up to him :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 7 years ago

You can do a lot these days with with your iPhone (or similar device) as well.  From receiving alarms to remote monitoring and remote control.  Reuben could even check up on his german shepherd, Stanley, via webcam if he wished.

Posted by Peter Preston-Thomas (Real Ottawa) almost 7 years ago

Reuben - yes, it might give him some motivation!  Dogs are really only security when people are home.  When you are away, they can be compromised easily, but I won't say how here.

Peter - all that!  Lighting can be changed on and off too.  What better deterrent than for a burglar to be in the yard and the lights come on inside!  Or outside!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Am I paranoid???

YES!!

Am I leery when folks knock on my doore unexpectedly?   Yes.  Are strangers going to be invited in?? 

NO!!

One nice thing about living in the country on a gravel road is that the crime rate for burglars is low.  That doesn't mean we should be stupid.  At least lock the dang doors.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Don't discount the possibility of being watched or followed Lenn.  Not trying to scare you.  The police say that awareness is the first step in personal safety.  Be very aware.  That will be the subject of my next post.

How about you put this on your front door:  http://www.zazzle.com/trap_shooting_joke_card-137884934082998707

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I am very aware of autos and foot traffic in my area. 

I would never do anything to reveal that there might be guns in my home.  That's just an invitation for break-ins looking for my guns.

This is another reason I like local vendors for repairs, maintenance, etc.  I don't shop price.  I shop location.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

All good practice.  I might disagree about the weapons.  Nobody watching you in a bank would suspect that you are capable with weapons.  Finding that out later would be a serious deterrent as they don't know what you own or where it might be.

But you are right, awareness is super important.  So are the local, known vendors.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Or you could answer the door with your 12 gauge, lol.  I have had a couple late night knocks in the last ten years that caused me to bring my H&K to the door.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) almost 7 years ago

And I bet that got a lot of attention Justin!

Las Vegas used to be the car jacking capital of the world.  Then they passed a concealed carry law.  A car jacker was shot in the face by an old lady and car jackings went down to nearly zero.

Your visit to the door had the same effect, if those visitors were trying to harm you!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago
Jay, it always helps to have a resident house sitter.when you leave town. I've got two, plus the dog.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

That works too Pat!  But the house still needs protection and burglar avoidance.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay, had come across your post from reblogs before but never visited until today Debra Walsh reblog....I like your series on burglar prevention....and your other post too, hence, new subcriber...looking forward to reading and reblogging more of your post.

Posted by Hrisco & Associates, -"When Experience Matters - The Agent You Need!" (Hrisco & Associates | eXp Realty, LLC.) almost 7 years ago

Thanks John.  I get reblogged a lot.  My posts are very eclectic, covering lots of subjects and with a funny character here and there.  You might like the Billy Jays series. 

But all intend to be instructive.  Stop by again!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, I would add lights to this list. A well lit house is a detterant. Condiser using timers, because the 'on and off' not only saves electricity, but also makes it look like someone is home.

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) about 6 years ago

Thanks Donald.  Lights are mentioned in #11 and timers in #7.  Glad you stopped by to see an oldie but a goodie!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

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