If you and the guy who wants to steal your television sat down to shoot the breeze, what would you ask him?
The chance to pick a burglar’s brain could certainly give you some ideas for home security upgrades, but it’s not a very common opportunity. So, we created some fictional burglar monologues (based on real research). Listen up, because over two million burglaries occur each year in the United States (one every 15 seconds)! Here are a few things your neighborhood thief doesn’t want you to know.
If you’re already convinced that your home could use some extra security, here are seven effective ways to protect your house:
1. Ladders Are Awesome
Every time I see a ladder hiding behind a shed or leaning against a house, my heart does a little jig. Do you know how easy it is to crawl through a second-story window with a ladder? Plus, you probably aren’t stressed about locking your second-story window when your front door is dead-bolted.
Takeaway: Keep all of your windows and doors locked tight when you’re out of the house, and hide the ladder in your garage or in a shed when it’s not in use!
2. Your Trash Reads Like a Catalog
Where did your brand-new flat screen’s box go? That’s right – it went in the trash. So I can dig through your trash and find out exactly what’s in your house. It’s easy as pie to know which homes to hit up – especially around the holidays!
Takeaway: Never leave boxes of expensive items on the curb. If possible, take them directly to a trash center.
3. Newspaper Piles Are a Dead Giveaway
Who lets newspapers pile up and their mailbox overflow? People on vacay, that’s who. A house that’s obviously empty is a house I’m going to think pretty seriously about robbing.
Takeaway: Before you leave for vacation, call the post office and ask to them to hold your mail during the dates that you’re away. You’ll be able to pick it up when you’re back in town. If you enjoy cracking open a newspaper in the morning and have The Times delivered every day, call the paper and have it halted while you’re gone.
4. Untrimmed Bushes and Dark Areas Are Perfect Hiding Spots
The more overgrown your bushes are, the more likely I’ll want to hide in them – especially if they’re near windows! No motion detectors to set off exterior lights? Even better! That way, I can case your home and you won’t notice me.
Takeaway: Make sure your bushes and trees are neatly trimmed so they don’t double as hiding spots! It may also be worth installing outdoor motion detector lights near exterior doors and windows for some added security.
5. Nothing Beats an Alarm System With a View
Whether it’s through a window or from a reflection, I really love being able to see your alarm system. That way, I can tell if it’s armed and know exactly what I’m getting myself into. You’d be surprised how many mirrors have helped me out!
Takeaway: If your alarm system is visible through a window, make sure you use blinds or shades to cover it up when you leave or go to sleep. If it’s noticeable in a mirror’s reflection, move that mirror!
6. Burglars Use Facebook, Too
When you brag about your awesome trip to Cancun on Facebook, I may not like your status, but I definitely like the fact that I know your house is empty!
Takeaway: It’s tempting to post images of your amazing trip in real time, or update your status about how much fun you’re having in a foreign country, but it’s safer to wait until after you’ve returned home.
7. Dark Houses Attract Bad People
If a house’s lights are off for several days in a row, it’s a dead giveaway that people aren’t home. I like to give it a few days just in case, but if no lights come on, I get ready to roll!
Takeaway: To make your house seem lived in, install a timer in some rooms that will turn lights on and off during different times of the day. Burglars know that it’s common to leave lights on, so they will be more cautious if they see changing lights. If you need to buy a timer, we like this 7-day random vacation timer by GE (it’s less than $20).
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