Keeping Your Home SafeNov 25, 2012 05:02PM ● By Jessica Linhart
Be aware of who is in your neighborhood. Vehicles driving around at night without lights, unfamiliar cars parked and occupied at unusual hours, strangers going door-to-door or loitering around houses where residents may not be home—these are all signs that a burglar could be working your neighborhood. Burglars and other criminals often strike neighborhoods where residents keep to themselves. Getting to know your neighbors and implementing a Neighborhood Watch programs can deter crime in your area.
- Take precautions when you leave your home. The risk of a break-in is greatest when a homeowner is away. Sgt. Erin Dumont of Omaha’s Crime Prevention Unit says, “Daytime break-ins seem to be the most active.” Dumont also has some tips on keeping your home secure while you are away:
- Make it appear as if someone is home by leaving a TV and light on (or have them on timers, if you’re worried about your electrical bill).
- If you are away for an extended period, let your neighbors know; ask them to pick up your mail, newspapers, or even mow and shovel snow.
- Avoid announcing your vacations on Facebook and social media sites. If you have kids, make sure you know what they’re posting, too.
- A car break-in can lead to a home break-in. Be cautious while you are out; thieves can snatch a garage door opener and registration, which may have your address on it, making your home their next target.
- Don’t make it easy for burglars. Leaving a window open for fresh air is an invitation to a burglar. Always make sure to lock all windows and doors before you leave. Never allow strangers in your home to use the telephone or bathroom. Don’t leave valuable items outside, like bicycles. Leaving a spare key out or “hidden” will make it almost effortless for someone to have access to your house; instead, leave it with a neighbor you trust.
- Protect your home at night. Keep your blinds closed. You don’t want to let burglars get a peek inside at any of your valuables. Simple things like a barking dog, a security system sign in the yard, or a pair of men’s shoes by the front door is sometimes enough to discourage a break-in. The panic button on your car keys can act as an alarm. Keep them by your bedside, and press the button if you hear suspicious noise outside or someone trying to break-in. A well-lit neighborhood can deter criminal activity. Ask neighbors to keep their exterior lights on at night and consider installing motion-sensing lights to illuminate exterior walls.