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