A skillful thief is like Santa Claus — you never see him, but he sees you. These criminals track your daily habits and can tell if you’ve left the house for a week-long vacation or if you’re simply out for a few hours running errands. Many homeowners don’t realize that there are certain red flags for thieves that make their homes a prime target.
These red flags especially pop up during the holidays. Even owners that are typically careful about home security throw caution to the wind as they get caught up in the holiday spirit.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes homeowners make that put their home at risk as they celebrate with friends and family.
Publicly Broadcasting Holiday Travel Plans on Social Media
Do you know everyone on your Facebook friends list? Are your tweets and Instagram posts visible to the public? If people you don’t know can see that you’re currently enjoying Thanksgiving in the Bahamas, your empty home is a target for a break-in.
Assuming Thieves Aren’t Smart
Everyone hides their spare key under a flower pot beside the door. This is the first place a burglar will check for easy access to your home. Also, regular light timers aren’t convincing. No thief is going to be fooled into believing that you manually turn on your living room lamp at exactly 7:03 every single night.
Leaving Expensive Items (or Their Packaging) in Plain Sight
Did you just get a new laptop, expensive gadget, or jewelry for Christmas? Leaving the bags and boxes outside — or the item itself near a window — is a sure red flag for thieves. This advertises, “We have the best stuff here!” If they’re large, leave the packages out of sight until you can take them directly to the dump or recycling center. If you simply can’t wait to get rid of them, tear them up and put them inside garbage bags to disguise them. And never leave valuables in plain sight within your home.
5 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe Year-Round
Whether it’s during the holidays or less festive times of the year, there are simple steps you can take to discourage thieves from targeting your home.
1. Hide Your Valuables
When burglars break into a home, it’s a dice toss. They might not know exactly what’s inside, but they target specific homes in hopes of finding something valuable. When you leave items in plain sight, you remove all doubt that you have something a thief wants. Don’t leave laptops, jewelry, and other valuables in places where they can be easily spotted if a thief is peering through the windows and casing your home.
2. Don’t Broadcast Travel Plans on Social Media
While everyone loves to share vacation photos and experiences, thieves peruse social media to look for empty homes. Your best bet is to talk about your vacation and post photos once you return. If the temptation is simply too great, ratchet down your privacy settings so that the only people who know you’re out of town are people you actually know.
3. Use Keyless Entry
If you need to allow friends, family members, or pet sitters into your home while you’re away, don’t hide a key anywhere. In fact, take the key out of the equation entirely. Convert your locks to keyless entry points that require a code to get in. Not only is this more secure, but it will allow you to let someone in if there is an emergency while you’re away — simply give them the code via a phone call or text message. This automation goes beyond locks, as well. Automation technology from Z-Wave devices offer an easy way to remotely control lights, thermostats, video systems, and more.
4. Leave Lights On
Thieves will look for dark areas that provide more privacy while they gain entry to your home. That way, neighbors and passersby won’t notice that anything is amiss. Leave exterior lights on all around the outside of your home. Leave some inside lights on, too. If you use a timer for your inside lights, purchase one with a variable algorithm that turns it on and off unexpectedly. You can also purchase lights that can be controlled via your home security system and smartphone. From remotely controlling your home to geofencing to video verification, there are many great ways customized residential security solutions can give you more than just peace of mind.
5. Have a Complete Home Security System
This last one is a biggie. In addition to scanning your home and removing any potential red flags for thieves, the single most important thing you can do to discourage burglars is to have a comprehensive home security system.
What does this mean? A proper home security system is one that has been designed and installed by professionals. They’ll do an in-home consultation to ensure that all potential entry points are taken into consideration in the overall design. It will contain features such as alarms on entry doors, glass break sensors for windows and sliding glass doors, and motion sensors.
A comprehensive home security system will have an audible alarm and will be linked to a monitoring service. While the system is a deterrent, it’s important that it draw attention and summon the authorities in the event that someone does break in. Your home security system is the final level in keeping your home safe, both inside and out.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.