Home Security from the Horse’s Mouth
There’s a small percentage of professional thieves who have turned their “hand”… umm… expertise into lucrative consulting gigs. After all, who better to advise property owners about beefing up home security than the very people who counted on those weak spots to make a living?
We all think that if we take care of a few basics like keeping our homes locked when we go out and installing an alarm system, we’re covered. But is it possible that we’re just creating a false sense of home security, leaving our homes and families vulnerable? Let’s take a look at some advice dished out by these well-known, erstwhile criminals and see how we measure up.
Don’t be a Bigmouth
Don’t tell the world what you’re doing. Sure, you’re excited about that dream holiday or justifiably proud of the gorgeous necklace your husband gave you for your birthday. But broadcasting it on social media can be like advertising in the Hometown Crooks Classifieds, compromising your home security.
The sharing done by you or your family via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media can have unpleasant side effects. What you share today can make you a target tomorrow and kids and teenagers especially, should be reminded that there’s no privacy in social media. In fact it’s all advertising.
As it is, we tend to tell all and sundry that we’re going on a cruise, or skiing in Tahoe or to Vegas for that big convention. “Stop treating strangers like they’re you’re best friend,” says a retired professional thief with nearly 30 years’ experience.
He goes on to say that crooks have snitches everywhere; some of his best tip-offs came from house painters, bank tellers, manicurists, hairdressers and so on.
Where’s the Mother Lode
If you’ve spent anytime doing the research about home security, you’ll know that thieves target the master bedroom first. And, if the master bedroom is the room where most self-respecting burglars go first, what room is most likely to be passed over or ignored?
Thieves tend to sidestep kitchens and kids rooms but why? There are just too many places to hide things. Remember that most crooks try to be in and out of their target within three to eight minutes. With such a tight time-frame, there’s no benefit in spending valuable moments searching through the contents of an average pantry.
There’s a reason thieves head for the master suite, because that’s where most people stash their guns, cash and other valuables. One ex-burglar said he keeps his safe in the kitchen because that’s the one place thieves don’t go.
So go ahead and hide your treasures inside the Cocoa Pops box and the granola jar or in the bin of Kitty Krunch. It’s the last place burglars will look.
Your Garage and Math?
Does every house on your street have a garage? How about every house in your neighborhood? So how many garages would that be? Hundreds or maybe even thousands? OK and every garage has at least one door – or maybe two – and most of these doors operate with remote control openers. So how many different companies make remote control garage door openers?
When your development was built, how many different brands would the contractor – who built dozens of these houses – have bought? Most of these remote controls will allow you to change the default code to a custom code of your own but have you done so? Not too good for home security. Change your code as soon as you can after installation – or even right now.
Those savvy crooks that drive around with an arsenal of remote controls (all different brands) are counting on all those homeowners who forgot to set new codes – why not be different?
Rethink that Attack Dog
Forget that ferocious, 165 pound bundle of pure muscle with teeth like a tiger. What you really want is a highly-strung, noisy little dog with a penetrating bark. Few things get the neighbors attention like a barking dog. Professional criminals will avoid a house with that kind of hazard.
Little yappy dogs are a huge deterrent; they just don’t stop barking and can be heard by their owners or the neighbors. Smaller dogs like Bichons, Chihuahuas and French Poodles send thieves scurrying off to the next house on their list and the side benefits are they’re cheaper to feed and easier to look after.
The Power of Video Surveillance
The worst case scenario for a career crook is a starring role, on tape, inside your home. What better way to find himself playing an important part on the local evening news.
Video surveillance works because thieves can’t find the cameras and don’t have the time or the talent to deactivate them. Then there’s always the possibility that the footage is being recorded off-site.
Advertising that your home has video surveillance installed will send most thieves running to the next target once again. Make sure that any alarm signs, stickers and placards you display state that there is video surveillance equipment installed on the property.
Have you got a home security alarm system installed? It’s the best deterrent. But according to the professionals, the most common home security mistakes are not setting the alarm and forgetting to lock doors and windows.