Home Security Strategy and Recommendations

Home security is becoming more of a concern as the U.S. economy continues to struggle. In fact, I’ve seen a recent report that a property crime occurs (resulting in about $1000 of stolen goods each time) every 3 seconds, on average, in this country! As a result, I’ve decided to publish this article regarding steps one can take to minimize the chances of being victimized by home burglaries.

The most common items to be stolen during home burglaries are: cash, cameras, computers, electronic equipment, and jewelry. The two things thieves fear most are: taking too much time to complete the crime and, of course, being seen. Consequently, there are many things one can do to protect your home from burglaries.

First of all, many local law enforcement agencies will provide a free inspection of your property to look for potential trouble spots and provide you with advice as to what steps can be taken to improve the overall security of your property. My first common-sense advice is to avoid doing things that will tip-off the thief that you are no longer at home, such as:

1. closing the drapes ONLY when you are not home,

2. turning on the “burglar light” (e.g., the small light over the kitchen sink) before leaving,

3. having no garbage cans out on collection day, or an empty can sitting at the curb,

4. turning off the lawn sprinkler,

5. closing up the house tight as a drum, in the hot summer months, without the a/c running,

6. shutting the garage door, if you often leave it open,

7. picking up all the kid’s toys, etc.

All of these measures are free and can be very helpful. In addition, one of the most effective deterrents is a dog and it does not even need to be seen, only heard. In fact, I’ve often told my friends that if they don’t want the cost and work required to keep a dog, all they really need to do is buy several large (approximately 3 feet long) rawhide bones, scuff them up a bit, and place them around the house in clear sight! Or you can at least place a “Beware of Dog” sign on your fence and maybe even put a dog house in the backyard, even if you don’t have a dog. However, I don’t recommend purchasing one of those ‘electronic dogs’ that bark non-stop if an intruder trips a relay, since most experienced burglars are familiar with these devices and won’t be scared off.

Electronic devices that usually are effective are infrared detectors that sense body heat, or motion detectors that sense movement. In fact, the most effective electronic devices are burglar horns that fill the air with a deafening sound, or powerful lights that flood the area with light. However, these last two approaches are not very popular for obvious reasons.

All of these measures can be very helpful. In addition, it can be useful to install surveillance equipment in key locations. This provides insurance in case the security measures mentioned above do not prevent a break-in. If this should happen, the evidence captured via the surveillance equipment can be critical for the capture of the bandit and quick recovery of all stolen goods!