Are you making common mistakes that could leave your property or family vulnerable to theft or attack? Here are our top 10 home security mistakes you simply must avoid:
- Leaving Doors and Windows Unlocked
Security mistakes 101, lock the doors to your home! Almost all thieves can enter a home through an unlocked door or window. What is the point of having locks if they aren’t locked? Burglars walk around testing doorbells and door handles all day. 30% of all burglaries occur through an unlocked door or window. Stay in the habit of keeping your doors and windows locked, and you might avoid opportunistic thieves.
- Installing Cheap Locks
Cheap locks are just that. Cheap. This is arguably the most important of all security mistakes affecting burglaries every day. Keep in mind when you’re shopping around for security locks that over 33% of home burglaries occur through the front door. Hardware stores have a wide variety of locks at a wide variety of prices, and you should invest in some good quality deadbolt locks and entry doors.
- Hiding Your Keys
Easily one of the silliest security mistakes in this day and age is not taking care of where you hide the keys. A burglar knows they are under the mat, in the mailbox, or under that flowerpot, and chances are someone may have been watching you. It’s probably not the wisest idea in this day and age to hide your keys anyway. You should consider installing a keyless entry system that will provide you with top-notch security while still allowing easy access.
- Allowing Valuables to Be Visible from Outside
Look through the windows of your home from outside. Can you see your television, computer, or other electronic valuables? If you can, would-be thieves can, and there’s nothing like the sight of some unguarded bounty to tempt burglars. Draw your shades and curtains or move your electronics to an area where they aren’t visible from the street. And when you’ve just unwrapped your new television screen, don’t leave the box outside where someone might see it as an invitation to target your brand new purchase. Flatten the box and dispose of it inside a trash bag for privacy.
- Not Arming your Alarm
If you were smart enough to get an alarm system, it won’t do you any good if you don’t arm it. Always activate it when you are going to sleep, on vacation, or out, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. If you do not have a system, consider getting one as soon as possible. According to one study, 1 out of 5 burglars reported cutting phone lines before attempting to burglarize a home. Also, consider getting a wireless setup. It would be the best choice in this scenario.
- Ladders in the Yard
Ladders are one of the best tools of the trade. A ladder serves as the red carpet to the second floor of your home. If you happen to have upper levels, make sure you don’t leave any ladders in the yard below, and don’t leave upstairs windows unlocked either. Lock away your ladder in the storage shed or garage.
- Posting your Vacation Plans on Social Media
Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but never advertise when your home will be empty or when you’ll be out of town.
A recent survey found that as many as 75% of convicted burglars used social media to target their victims. Avoid using apps with location-sharing features too. You simply never know who could be watching your social media updates waiting to pounce.
- Allowing your Home to Appear Vacant
You don’t want newspapers and mail piling up outside. This is the easiest way for burglars to identify your home as being empty. Try to maintain your home’s “lived-in” look. Pay someone to cut the grass, clean the yard and trim the bushes. Ask your neighbor or someone else to collect and hold your mail while you’re away. Install timers on lights so your home is always “occupied.”
- Leaving the Garage Door Open All Day
Unlocked garage doors are easy to access to the rest of the home, and just because it is closed doesn’t mean a burglar won’t just walk right and try it anyway. An open garage door invites entry and access to your property. Always keep garage doors and home garage access doors locked.
- Trying to DIY or Self Monitor your Home Security System
There is some peace of mind from at least having a security system. However, without professional alarm monitoring, there’s always the risk you might miss an important notification or not alert authorities in time. Monitored smoke, heat, intrusion, panic, or medical alerts need immediate attention. With a professionally monitored security system, the alarm center can call for help even when you can’t, often within a matter of seconds. This response has proved to save lives and property. Having that responsibility on your shoulders while trying to enjoy a vacation, during an important meeting, or sleeping deeply is an unnecessary burden and potentially costly.
Everybody makes mistakes, it’s normal. But you can learn from other’s mistakes too instead of repeating them. Remember to lock up and follow these easy fundamentals to avoid the most common home security mistakes and enjoy some peace of mind and a safer home.