September is Realtor Safety Month and that got me thinking about how most of us don’t give enough thought to safety. Your home should be your refuge and the place where you feel safe. Having your home burglarized is a traumatic occurrence that we would all like to avoid. Here are a few simple things you can do to discourage break- ins and give you piece of mind.
Keep your shrubs and landscaping trimmed back by windows and doors. These areas are prime hiding places for would be burglars, so make sure access to windows and doors is unobstructed. Overgrown landscaping, un-mowed grass or un-shoveled walkways are all signs that the house is vacant. If you are going to be away for any length of time, make sure someone is maintaining your yard as well as bringing in mail and newspapers. A pile of newspapers on the front porch is a dead giveaway that no one is home. Install motion sensor lights which come on if anyone gets too close to your house. Having your home well-lit will deter thieves. If you are going to be traveling consider putting lights on timers so rooms are lit up at different times of the night.
On trash day, don’t advertise to thieves that you just got a new 60 inch TV or state of the art computer by leaving the boxes on your curb. Take the time to break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling bin. Also, don’t leave ladders outside and easily accessible to someone looking to break in. Burglars don’t usually carry their own ladders around but if you are nice enough to leave one in your backyard they will be happy to use it. Keep all ladders secured in the garage, shed or basement and keep your windows locked- upstairs windows too.
If you have a home security system that will be a deterrent to burglars, but only if you use it. Security systems that aren’t armed will do you no good. Make sure the alarm isn’t visible from an outside door or window so a burglar can see if it is armed. Also, don’t have a mirror across from the alarm that will reflect the image towards doors or windows. Make sure all of your doors and windows lock properly and securely. Consider deadbolts instead of pushbutton locks and steel doors rather than wood.
Don’t advertise your travel plans or daily schedule to the world on Facebook. Burglars love to read about your upcoming 2 week cruise or the long weekend trip you are planning on taking. Also, if you advertise things for sale on Craig’s List or EBay don’t let potential buyers come into your home to view the items. Meet them in a neutral location so thieves can’t get a firsthand look at the layout of your house and what other valuables you have that they might be interested in picking up later.
Lastly, if your house in currently on the market you need to take extra precautions because of the increased number of people coming into your home. Make sure you don’t leave valuables out in the open. Put away jewelry, money, guns and prescription medication. Don’t allow pictures showing expensive electronics or collections of valuables to be put on the internet. Follow these suggestions, use common sense and be aware of your surroundings and hopefully you will keep your property a burglar free zone.