7 Tips to Protect Your Home While On Vacation
Whether you are preparing to visit family for the holidays or you are heading south to your second home for several months this winter, it is important to take some steps to keep your home secure while you are away. Here is a handy checklist of steps you may want to take before leaving on your next extended trip:
1. Hold Your Mail and Newspapers
Piles of newspapers and a full mailbox are a sure sign to potential intruders that you’re out of town. You can avoid this problem by heading to the Post Office. They will stop your mail and hold it as a courtesy anywhere from 3 to 30 days. Or you can simply go online to set this up at USPS.com. Just enter your address and your start and stop dates for this service. Additionally, your local newspaper will also be happy to stop your newspaper delivery for the time you are away.
2. Ask a Friend to Keep an Eye on Things While You’re Away
Ask someone you trust to stop by occasionally to remove sales fliers, Fedex delivery attempts, or yellow book deliveries. Besides mail, there are often miscellaneous items that can pile up at your door that may alert potential thieves you are not in town. As an extra precaution, let your friend know where your water main shut off is in case a pipe breaks. It certainly helps to winterize your home, especially before leaving on a long trip, to help prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing due to lack of insulation.
It’s also helpful to have someone that you can trust with a key and an alarm code, so they can help the police or guard service access your home in case of an attempted break in. Call us to update your alarm information with your friends name and phone number so that we may contact them in your absence while still keeping you updated as well. When necessary, a personal alarm code and password can be assigned for your friend, keeping your main code and password secure and only known by you.
Don’t have anyone you trust enough with your key? Use your smart home automation system so that you can unlock your doors and disarm your alarm for someone without having to entrust them with your key or an alarm code. When they arrive at your home, you can let them in at any time, from anywhere your are. Then you can lock up and reset your alarm system after they leave. Please call us and we can set this up for you before you leave town, if you are still unfamiliar with this service.
3. Keep That Driveway and Sidewalk Shoveled
Set timers on your lights to turn on for certain periods of time during the evenings. Oftentimes people think the easiest thing to do is leave their lights on while they are out of town. For an extended stay, however, keeping your lights glaringly on at all hours of the night will look out of place, not to mention what it can do to your electricity bill. A more prudent and economical solution is to set up timers on lights for regular intervals in the evening. For our customers, our smart home automation system can set your lights and thermostat to a timer system. You can even turn your lights on and off from a simple app on your phone. No matter where you are. If you forget to turn your thermostat down before you leave, there is no reason to panic. Simply turn the temp down on your smart home system from the airport, the Bahamas, or wherever you are.
4. Don’t Talk About Upcoming Trips On Social Media
It is common to want to share your excitement about your upcoming trip with your Facebook friends. But it is not always just your friends that are reading your posts. It is not uncommon for criminals to look online in the hopes of gaining more information about you or when your home may be left vacant. It is safest to wait until you are back home to post those exciting vacation pictures.
5. Unplug Electronics
To protect your electronics from power surges while you’re away, unplug all of your unnecessary electronics such as TV’s, computers, even toasters. Also, many people are unaware that these items pull electricity even while they are turned off. So by doing this, you could be saving some money as well.
6. Lock Your Doors and Windows
Do a thorough sweep of your home’s perimeter to be sure that all of your windows and doors are definitely locked. Remove that spare key you may have hidden outside as well. Turn off your garage door function before you leave to protect against thieves attempting to gain entry by using a universal remote to open your garage door.
We hope that this checklist will help you keep your home safe and secure while you are out of town this season. Find comfort in knowing that your home is not only well protected when your alarm is set, but that even just having a security system is a big deterrent to thieves. We wish you a safe and fun trip away this winter. Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by Lake Arrowhead Security.
Safety Tips for Students and Their Possessions
It’s important to make sure your child or teen has all the tips and tools he or she needs to be successful this year. As those helpful – and oftentimes required – educational tools continue to get more expensive, it is in your best interest to teach your children how to keep their property safe.
“With millions of iPads, smart phones and laptops now essential parts of everyday student life, efforts must be made to keep them secure,” says Rebecca Smith with Master Lock. “The new school year can be stressful enough without worrying about losing expensive electronics and other valuables.”
If you plan to make safety part of your back-to-school preparations this fall, the following tips will ensure your student, and his or her possessions, enjoy a safe, productive year.
1. Safety away from the desk. Middle school and high school mean your teen will be traveling around the building much more than they did in elementary school. This extra travel increases the risk of lost or stolen items. To protect these items, find out what locks are provided by the school and what you need to provide yourself. Then look for a padlock to keep your teen’s possessions safe. This easy to use lock, which features a set your own combination for easiest recall, provides a measure of safety for your teen and ensures their clothing and electronics remain right where they left them. You may also consider getting one for their gym locker as well so they can participate carefree.
2. Have a back-up plan. Being a student today means more than just protecting your physical possessions. There are plenty of digital files to be worried about as well. As your teen writes longer, more in-depth papers and reports, it’s important to develop a back-up system for these projects. A paper lost to a power outage or computer error could take hours to recreate. Teens can prevent this by saving their work in multiple locations, including at least one cloud-based system that can be accessed anywhere. Students should also save their online passwords and lock combinations there, assuring they’re never without a code they need.
3. Keep the combination secret. The best way for students to protect the items in their lockers is to make sure they are the only person who can access them. This means encouraging them to not share their locker combination with anyone else. Remind your child that even though sharing lockers with his or her best friend or girlfriend/boyfriend may sound like a great idea, it could lead to other unintended people having access to personal belongings inside, putting the contents at risk. And if your student will have a locker partner, make sure that both teens understand the risk of sharing their combinations with anyone outside of their locker partner.
4. Invest in the proper backpack. Not all backpacks are created equal. Your child’s backpack and its contents should amount to no more than 10-20 percent of their body weight. When shopping for a new backpack, select a pack with dual shoulder straps and instruct your child to wear both to dissuade thieves from trying to steal the pack. If your child’s backpack has only one strap, slinging it across the body protects it better than carrying it over one shoulder. A lightweight portable lock is perfect for warding off pickpockets and protecting your child’s possessions. Older students may not want a backpack at all so remind them that carrying one ensures they have all of their materials where they need them and they won’t leave anything behind to be lost or stolen.
Article provided by Masterlock.com
Here are this week’s top 5 security tips brought to you by Lake Arrowhead Patrol and Security:
1. Most residential burglaries are crimes of opportunity. The easier your house to enter and the more clues you leave regarding the contents, the more likely you are to be the victim of a burglary.
2.The first floor of a home is the most common entry point. Make sure you have reliable locks on these doors and windows.
3. Never leave tools in your yard such as ladders, screwdrivers, hammers, or pliers. These can be used against you!
4. To make your possessions less attractive, engrave and identifying mark on them. Thieves find it harder to sell marked merchandise.
5. inventory your home periodically (preferably with a video camera). Leave one copy of your inventory list in your home and a second copy in a safe location outside your home.
Your Garage, Gateway To Your Home
I used to wonder how friends of my teenage children managed to show up in my garage without being let in through the front door. Our home was purposely a gathering place for our children and their friends so we could supervise their activities. So how were they getting in? Well they let themself in by simply prying up my roll up garage door about 1 foot off the ground and then while one person held the door up, the friend would roll under. When I discovered this, I realized that my home was vulnerable as long as kids could use my garage door for unauthorized entry. What was there to stop someone who was intent on doing physical or economical damage from doing whatever they wanted once in my garage. It reminded me of my teenage years when my parents would pad lock our old fashion style, heavy wood, manual pull up door. I would simply pry up on the lower edge opposite of the pad lock and squeeze my young body through the small corner opening. All in all, entry into a closed and locked 2-car garage door was never a problem for me or the kids and you can surely believe burglars know this trick too.
Once in your garage with the door closed, burglars are free to ransack your garage and enter your home at their leisure. They can even use your own tools to break through the interior door to the house. As a bonus they are safe from prying eyes. They can take their time emptying your home and garage of all its valuables. The garage can even act as a staging area so they can back up their vehicle onto your driveway and load up. I know of one poor woman who had just bought a new car then went out of town. The burglars found this very convenient when they used her new SUV to cart her precious valuables away. Don’t count on them to lock up behind themselves, either . Depending on the age, often the younger neighborhood trouble-makers brag about their score to their friendsso they, too, can come take a peek at your wares.
What to do?
You can engage the internal locks on your roll up (most people ignore these).
You can add a second padlock to your pull up door.
Get a monitored security alarm and put a motion detector in the garage. When activated, it will set off your alarm… AND IT’S LOUD!!! But unless you are nearby you won’t hear it nor respond (nor would it be safe to do so).
SO NOW WHAT?
At Lake Arrowhead Patrol & Security Services we offer Patrol services as well as perform Guard Response to security alarms. When a call comes in the Patrolman simultaneously receives a text in the field and heads over to your home while we call to verify occupancy of the property. He carries a key to your home so that he can perform a thorough inspection of both the inside of the home as well as a complete search of the surrounding property. With your key, the Patrolman is able to open the door for the fire department, police, water or even your mother-in-law if she should forget her key. We will respond to your alarm, call the sheriff when necessary, and keep you fully abreast of the situation.
It’s very simple to thoroughly protect your home. Between your efforts and our state of the art equipment and professional Patrolmen, your home becomes undesirable to thieves and burglars.
Call Lisa Daly at (909) 337-2023 now to make an appointment for your free security assessment before your home is targeted!
LAYERS OF DEFENSE (for your residential property)
♠Get to know your neighborhood law enforcement officer.
♦Introduce yourself to immediate neighbors, exchanging phone numbers and email addresses. Join your “Neighborhood Watch”.
♠Add Exterior Motion Lights to the eaves of your roof to illuminate your yard, doors and windows.
♦Put 1/2″ or 5/8″ dowel sticks in your window tracks to prevent thieves from opening them (when inhabiting the residence, make sure you don’t block your fire escape route).
♠Install Sliding Glass Door pins, available at most hardware stores. A power drill is handy for this installation.
♦For exterior doors with glass panes, install a double cylinder dead bolt and add a saucer hook to the bottom door trim so that the key is available in case of fire or replace the door with a solid one.
♠Have an alarm installed and monitored.
♦Hire a Private Patrol service if you are a part time resident, travel or live alone.
♠Get a dog or purchase a motion sensor cd player with the recording of barking guard dogs.
♦Using timers, randomly turn on/off a television, lights and radios, throughout the day and night, to simulate the look of someone home.
♠To speak with someone about having a free in-home security consultation, call our office @ (909) 337-2023 or see our website for this and other security tips @ lakearrowheadpatrol.com/security
I CAN TELL… YOU’RE NOT THERE.
During a nice Sunday afternoon drive around the woods, my husband noted how easily it was to tell the full-time from the part-time residents. He noted at least 8 ways he could tell “You’re Not There”.
1) Leave a chain across the driveway.
2) Solicitations, such as, flyers, business cards and newspapers are visible on the property.
3) The Porch lite is always “on”.
4) Fallen oak leaves are left undisturbed on the driveway or parking deck. The yard is unkept making the house look abandoned.
5) Only vehicles on the property are all-wheel drive vehicles’ with dirty windshield & body.
6) No interior house light in the evening.
7) No sounds of life such as music, television, kids or barking dogs.
8) Old, weathered Security signs or No Security sign.
Don’t be a target. Take a few simple steps to make your home appears ‘lived-in’.
@Hire a landscaper to perform seasonal yard maintenance such as trimming branches away from the house, and raking leaves after the Fall season concludes.
@Make use of inexpensive interior timers. Hook up a few lights and a radio to make someone look at home.
@Ask different neighbors to keep an eye on your vacation home. Ask one to remove the solicitations and another to park their car on your driveway. If a few full-time neighbors have your phone number, they are more likely to call you in case of urgent matters. Every layer of protection helps. If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch, call the office and we will be happy to give out information or help facilitate its organization. (909) 337-2023.
For more Security Tips, visit http://lakearrowheadpatrol.com/tips-from-lake…rowhead-patrol/
LOCAL VS NATIONAL ALARM COMPANIES
Living in a resort community I’m often asked, which is better, a local business or a national chain? A very good question which has a very good answer…Local, if you’re comparing Lake Arrowhead Patrol & Security Services, Inc to any national alarm company. Why? I can think of a whole list of reasons:
- We do it all. Lake Arrowhead Patrol & Security Services offers Monitoring, Alarm Sales, Patrol, House checks, House prep, and many more Concierge Services.We are a family-owned business, in continuous operation since 1928 and have maintained an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. How many national chains can compete with that history?
- We are a family-owned business, in continuous operation since 1928 and have maintained an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. How many national chains can compete with that history?
- We have a local office, conveniently located across the street from Jensen’s, where you can come in and have all your concerns addressed. Do you know where the closest National chain offices are located? Is there an office where you are welcome to check out a demo room or talk to employees? Several of our employees have been employed with us for over 20+ years; many more have been with us for more than a decade. We’ll even offer you a good cup of coffee while you peruse the different demos and options available from Honeywell, DSC or GE.
- We install, service and maintain your equipment. With national chains, service repair technicians are available down the hill, not locally. So, how do you get a broken alarm repaired or a trouble light resolved? In many cases, you can’t.
- How long do you want to wait “on hold” when you call your alarm company? We pick up by the second ring. You will speak to one of our employees regardless of the time, day or night.
- We test your alarm routinely which means you don’t have to worry. Do the national chains test at all?
- Our monitoring center, NMC, is UL approved and located in Aliso Viejo, California with a twin center in Texas, ready to take over should we experience a catastrophic event.
- We are your eyes and ears when you are away from your mountain home. Our patrol vehicles drive the streets and highways of our community, making our presence known to “would be” thieves. Most national chains don’t even offer Patrol.
- Our patrolmen will come to your home in the middle of the night, if necessary, to assist with a trouble light or a beeping that you can’t identify. Would a national chain provide this personal service?
- We can assist with appointments with contractors. We will disarm and unlock the door for the housekeeper, delivery truck, carpet cleaner, etc and come back to lock and re-arm your alarm without you having to drive up here. Think hard about this one. Who else anywhere, gives this kind of world-class customer service?
When you’re ready to protect those that matter most, consider Lake Arrowhead Patrol & Security Services, THE ORIGINAL since 1928, located across the street from Jensen’s in Blue Jay, California. We do it all from installation of high tech surveillance cameras to easy-to-operate alarm systems to home automation. Our Patrol services include drive by Patrols, House Checks and House Preparations. Our reputation for prompt, knowledgeable, and courteous customer service precedes us. Our BBB A+ rating and UL approved Central Monitoring Station set us apart from the rest. Call us at (909) 337-2023 when you are ready for exceptional excellence in security AND service .
How much crime isreally up here?
We are often asked about crime on the mountain, especially when meeting with new clients. Truth is, it’s relatively light compared to many places, which is what I always tell folks. What we do see, from time to time, are properties that have sat unoccupied for long periods of time, becoming easier targets for burglars. Our typical burglar is young and looking for a quick source of drug money. Often they vandalize a home, causing considerable damage, while looking for easy things to pawn. If you are not up here for weeks at a time, find someone to grab the door tags off your door and to scoop up those errant newspapers so kindly left for you. Never leave your trashcans out, once emptied, and try to get your snow removed, routinely, in your driveway. These are all obvious signs to a would be intruder that your home is vacant. We have several more crime tips on our website at www.lakearrowheadpatrol.com.
For accurate crime data in your neighborhood, go to www.crimemapping.com and type in your address. You can get email alerts and stay connected to what has been reported to the local Sheriff’s Dept for your immediate neighborhood.
MORE SECURITY INFORMATION
These days, just about everyone has a relative or acquaintance who has been burglarized.
In fact, statistics indicate that three out of four U.S. homes will be burglarized in the next 20 years. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the average property loss in a burglary exceeds $1,000, not to mention the damage from vandalism.
Enhancing the security of your residence is much easier that you think. Keep in mind that the time you spend now may save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
There are generally three different types of burglars: the professional, the semi-professional and the amateur. Although the average homeowner will probably not have to face a professional thief who focuses on extremely valuable items, you need to be aware of semi-professional and amateur burglars. Residential burglars are often male teenagers who live near your home. They are opportunists who look for easy targets. If the risk of detection is too high, the average burglar will not attempt to enter your home. Burglars know that the key to success is planning. The semi-professional burglar may scout a neighborhood for up to a week, while the amateur burglar will spend only a few hours “casing” a residence. After determining his target, the average burglar spends just a few minutes burglarizing it. Whether you leave your home for five minutes or five weeks, recognize that it’s vulnerable whenever it’s unoccupied. While you cannot be home all of the time, you can devise a home security program that works for you around the clock.
Current Security Measures
The first step in making your home secure is to evaluate your current security measures. Contact Lake Arrowhead Patrol & Security Services to arrange for a free security inspection. You can also ask your family and friends to pretend to be burglars and make their best attempts at entering your home.The objective of this exercise is to identify every vulnerable area of your home, so be thorough. If it is not difficult to find the key hidden under the flower pot, a burglar could locate it, too. Can you climb your oak tree and gain access to a second floor window? A limber thief could do the same. Darkness and shadows offer additional opportunities for burglars, so perform this exercise at night as well. Does your landscaping cover or cast a shadow on doors and windows? It could also conceal a thief at work. If you feel that your home is too bare without landscaping near your walls, consider growing low, thorny bushes near windows and doors. You also do not want to encourage burglars by making it obvious that you have valuables inside your residence. After your inspection, make a list of all potential trouble spots. Fortunately, there are simple, inexpensive solutions to most of your problems.
Your Home Design
Whether you are searching for a new home or have been living in the same house for many years, there are several things that you should know about your residence’s design and how it affects your security.
Two-story, single-family homes are usually not a burglar’s first choice. If the master bedroom (usually the first stop) is on the second floor, he could be trapped. But a two-story home does not guarantee your security. The first floor is the typical entry point, and you need reliable locks on all windows and doors. If you have a two-story home or live on a higher floor of an apartment or condominium building, easily climbed tree limbs or an unlocked fire escape could provide easy access for a burglar. Single-family homes in the middle of a block are much more likely to be burglarized than corner homes. Thieves tend to bypass corner houses because they are highly visible, making it more likely that they’ll be spotted. So, if you live in the middle of a block, invest in outdoor lighting that increases your home’s visibility and decreases a burglar’s chances of success. Most townhouses have common features, such as sliding glass doors and small, discreetly fenced back yards, which make them easier to burglarize. In an attempt to provide privacy for each unit, their design also provides privacy for a thief. If you live in a townhouse, reinforce your sliding glass doors and consider using a motion-sensitive light in order to protect the vulnerable rear area of your residence. Cul-de-sacs require special precautions as well. Police drive through these neighborhoods less frequently than others, and cul-de-sacs often have wooded areas nearby, which create an ideal hiding place for an escaping thief. No matter where you live, ground floor windows need secure locks. Also make sure that balcony, patio and fire exits are equipped with sturdy doors and secure locks.
Just as you performed a security check on your home, perform one on your neighborhood by exploring it. Is it well lighted? Does your community have a neighborhood watch program? Your neighbors play an important part in your overall burglary prevention program. When you are away, you trust that they will report any suspicious activity around your home. The security of their home is linked to the security of yours. If their home is not burglar-proof, then a burglar might spend more time evaluating your neighborhood. Burglars tend to avoid neighborhoods that are collectively security conscious. If your community doesn’t have a neighborhood watch program, consider establishing one. An aware neighborhood is a safer neighborhood. Neighborhood watch groups and similar programs are often established in response to a specific problem, such as a string of burglaries or drug activity. Communities may also have an informal program that develops as neighbors become friends. When an unfamiliar person is lurking about, these neighbors take notice. All neighborhoods benefit from announcing their vigilance with signs posted throughout the area or placed in the windows of homes. Criminals notice when neighbors look out for each other, and they may decide that your neighborhood is not worth the risk of detection. Remember that your community could also work against you. Those who live near you are in the best position to know your schedule and whether or not you have valuables in your home. While you can’t treat every neighbor with suspicion, do not provide the temptation or opportunity by announcing trips or vacations to everyone you encounter. Entrust that information only to close neighbors and friends.
Your Home Perimeter
When a criminal looks at your home, what would attract or discourage him from burglarizing it? A well manicured lawn can be quite important in emphasizing that you pay close attention to your home. In the eyes of a burglar, an overgrown lawn suggests a vacancy and possible burglary target. Overgrown or extremely large trees or shrubs can hide burglary activity, especially around your home’s entry points. For security’s sake have them trimmed or moved. Also trim all tree limbs. The way they hug your home may be artful, but burglars don’t see them as art. They view them as ladders! Fences can be an effective part of your security, but they may be a liability in hiding a burglar’s activity. Tall, chain link fences provide security without sacrificing visibility. Dogs can also be a valuable asset to homeowners. Any dog that barks at strangers brings unwanted attention to a thief. Larger dogs can even discourage an intruder from entering your yard or home. Streetlights are another important crime deterrent for your neighborhood, but your personal residence should also be well lit. Porch lights and motion-sensitive lighting are recommended for most homes. With a motion-sensitive light, an intruder is bathed in light the instant he steps into your yard. Also consider photoelectric lighting, which automatically switches on at dusk and turns itself off at dawn so that you don’t need to constantly turn the porch lights on and off. In addition, low voltage outdoor lighting provides illumination in several areas around your home and yard. Timer on outdoor lamps, radios and televisions create the impression that someone is at home. They can be used to control lamps during the evening and radios and televisions during the day. However, do not set your timers to turn on every light in you home promptly at the same time each night. Burglars are sophisticated enough to recognize this as a sure signal that no one is home. Some timers have a built-in random pattern that slightly varies the daily ON/OFF time and suggests somebody is moving throughout your residence. You do not want to help a burglar break into your home, so watch what you leave in your yard. Be sure to put tools away after you are done. Your own ladders, screwdrivers, hammers or pliers can be used against you.
Home Entry Points
The average burglar has only two options for entering your residence: doors and windows. Examine your entry points and see how well they would stand up to a thief. Doors and windows can be fashionably secured with ornate, yet sturdy, door handles and locks. Quality lock sets can be a good way to add beauty and security.
Doors – Doors are an important part of a successful security program. Hollow-core doors are easily kicked in. For external doors and door frames, opt for solid wood or steel. Avoid leaving gaps around the door frame, as this provides leverage for removing the door from its frame. Hinges should be positioned on the inside of the door so that a thief with a screwdriver will be unable to remove the entire door. Sliding glass doors are a common entry point. Many of these doors can be lifted off their tracks. For maximum security, use vertical bolts. Also place a metal or solid wood rod on the inside track to hold the door closed. These measures will help prevent burglers from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track. Garage doors are another frequent entry point. The door that connects your garage to your home should have solid wood or solid-core construction. Secure it with a deadbolt lock. Don’t rely on the electric garage door opener as your only security measure. Also, when you are pulling out of your garage, take a few seconds to watch the door close completely. You do not want a thief to slip under the door before it closes and have easy access to your home. Back doors are a popular target because they are often hidden from the street and many homeowners leave them unlocked. It’s important to keep your back door well lighted and install a deadbolt. These doors should have a solid-core as well. If your doors have decorative sidelight panels on the side, beware! Burglers can smash these panels to open the door. If you have sidelight panels, make sure to use a break-resistant material or replace them. A burglar is usually too big to fit through a pet entrance, but children can be bribed to crawl in and open the door for him. Only install pet doors that can be securely locked when you are away from your home.
Locks – When you move into a new house, apartment or condominium, change all of the locks immediately. Because keys have a tendency to multiply, you don’t know who will have access to your home if you do not change the locks. Anyone with a moderate amount of skill and desire can pick a common spring-latch lock with a flexible piece of plastic. As a result, deadbolt locks are a necessary investment. Doors with single-cylinder deadbolt locks are opened on the outside with a key and on the inside with a turn of the hand. Double-cylinder deadbolts require a key on either side if the door. If you have windows near your door, install a double-cylinder deadbolt lock because burglars could smash the glass and unlock a single-cylinder deadbolt from the inside. Look for a deadbolt with a 1″ throw and a reinforced strike plate with 3″ screws. The extended throw makes it extremely difficult for an intruder to dislodge the lock from the frame. The longer screws attach the strike plate deeply into the framework of the home, making it harder to break into your residence.
Windows – One of the most common entry points for burglars is a ground level window at the rear side of a home. That’s why you should use the same security measures on your windows as you would on your doors. Screen on windows do not guarantee the security of the window. While they may slow a burglar’s progress, they are easily cut or removed. Window locks are an inexpensive way to keep intruders out. On double-hung windows (which side up and down), center locks are only effective when the window is completely closed. Locks on the corners or mounted on the sides will allow you to secure windows in a partially open position.
Replace the handle catches on casement windows with keyed locking handles and remove the crank when it is not in use. Keep the key away from the windows, but make sure that it’s easily accessible in case of an emergency. Louvered windows, which open outward like awnings, can be very difficult to secure. Consider replacing them with safer double-hung windows. Remember that none of these measures will help you if you leave your doors and windows unlocked. It only takes a few minutes for a thief to rob you of your most valued possessions. Always lock your doors, no matter how soon you plan to return.
To make your possessions less attractive, more easily identifiable and harder to sell: Engrave an identifying mark (NOT your social security or driver’s license number) on valuables. Thieves find it harder to sell marked merchandise. You can borrow an engraving pen free of charge from Lake Arrowhead Patrol & Security Services. Don’t flaunt your belongings. Leave burglars guessing at what they will find and where to find them. The more valuables inside your home, the more persistant burglars tend to be. When you make large purchases, do not leave the empty boxes on the curb. Break them down and place them on the bottom of your trash pile on the day of pickup. You never know what you have until it’s gone, so take an inventory of your possessions now. Don’t rely on a panicked memory to give police or insurance agents a description. A written inventory is satisfactory, but other methods of documentation, such as video taping or still photographs, are also effective. Make two copies of your inventory, keeping one copy in your home and another in a safe location outside of the home. It will do you no good if the burglar inadvertantly takes the inventory along with him. Should a thief enter your home, he will probably be in a hurry to leave. Chances are, he will not take the time to evaluate his loot. If you provide a few decoys, he might not look deeper to discover your real treasures. Keep inexpensive jewelry in the jewelry box on your dresser and put your irreplaceable pearls in a plain paper box. A thief might take the obvious jewelry box and overlook the real one. An inexpensive safe in the master bedroom could serve as a decoy. A burglar will assume that your valuables are inside and probably won’t spend time trying to open it in your home. Instead, he’ll just take it with him. In case he opens the safe immediately, make him think that he hit the jackpot. Fill it with convincing fake jewelry and important looking papers.
A Secure State of Mind
Be aware of things you might be doing to invite burglars to your home, and start implementing practices that will make your home less attractive to thieves. Do not put notes on your door detailing your schedule. Do not leave messages on your telephone answering machine noting when you will return home. Do not leave repairmen or deliverymen in your home unsupervised. They could easily slip away with your belongings or return later to burglarize your residence. Take a good look at anybody going door to door in your neighborhood. He could be attempting to determine who is home during certain times of the day. If you and your neighbors gain a clear look at a thief or he senses that persons in the neighborhood are watching, he may decide that committing a burglary is too risky. Talk to your children about home security. Explain your security precautions and emphasize the role they play in keeping your home secure. Ask them to remember always to lock the door and keep a careful watch on their keys. Show them where the keys to internal locks are located in case they have to exit your home quickly.
11 THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU
1. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
2. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
3. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
4. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.) If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.
5. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
6. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
7. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
8. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.
9. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
10. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.
And the MOST OBVIOUS :
11. I’m not complaining, but why would you install an alarm system and leave your house without setting it?