5 Common Home Security Mistakes and How to Prevent Them

If you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, you might not be unduly concerned about the possibility of a break-in. But home invasions robberies are not exclusive to areas with houses that sport bars on the windows; they can happen anywhere. And the structure that is unprotected is a lot more likely to become a target. That said, there are plenty of ways to secure your home against the criminal element. You just have to understand where you’re currently making security mistakes and how you can prevent them. In truth a little common sense is usually all it takes, especially when paired with the right products and services for home security. Here are a few mistakes you might be making.

  1. Unsecured doors and windows. Your doors and windows are designed to be opened, but leaving them open or unlocked puts you in a vulnerable position. Of course, a determined burglar will find a way in, but you don’t want to make it any easier for him. So keep your doors and windows closed and locked when you’re not home or when the family is sleeping. That includes any potential points of ingress on upper floors. If you think an intruder won’t go for the ladder in your shed and pop in through a second-floor window, you’re mistaken.
  2. Hide-a-key. Many families have a little insurance policy against locking themselves out of the house; a hide-a-key. This is the first thing that many burglars look for. Why jimmy the lock or break a window when they can walk right in the front door with the key? If locking yourself out is an ongoing issue, give your neighbor a key or think about installing a keypad on one door. Sure, you might forget the code, but all you have to do is call someone who knows it in order to gain entrance.
  3. Announcing your travel plans. Whether you tell everyone you know that you’ll be out of town, you let your newspapers and mail pile up while you’re away, or you post vacation pics on Facebook and Instagram during your trip, you might as well just declare open season on your home and its contents by shouting to the world that the structure is vacant. Instead, plan accordingly. Tell only necessary people that you’ll be away (boss, teachers, close family and friends), arrange for your papers and mail to be temporarily held in your absence, and do not, for any reason, post anything about your trip on your social media accounts until after you return. No matter how careful you think you are, your online “friends” can find ways to figure out where you live.
  4. Advertising new items. If your curbside trash includes a box for a brand new flat screen TV, laptop, or game console, you’ve basically just let anyone driving by know that there are valuable goods in your home. Instead, break up the packaging and put it in trash bags to conceal new purchases.
  5. No security system. Your system could feature a wide range of components, including motion sensor flood lights, home security alarms, and even surveillance cameras. But if you have nothing at all you’re making a burglar’s job a lot easier. So think about installing at least flood lights to scare off would-be burglars. And if you really want to secure your home, install a smart home alarm system that links up to lighting, thermostat, the garage door, and other electronics in your home. Thanks to wireless technology you can now control these systems remotely via your smartphone or tablet, providing a handy way to arm the alarm when you leave the house or make it look like you’re home while you’re away on vacation.

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