We like to think that the country is comprised entirely of upstanding citizens who wouldn’t think twice about lending a helping hand in a time of need. And although this is largely the case, there are also a small number of people who prey on those trustworthy individuals for their own selfish benefit. To help protect yourself from such people, especially burglars, consider a few tips from the New York Police Department’s 70th Precinct.
The first thing you ought to do is consider where weaknesses in your security may lie. Do you keep your windows unlocked? If so, think twice before doing so the next time you leave the home. Even windows on an upper floor could be easily accessed and opened with a ladder. If you have a dog who lets itself outside through a doggy door, ask yourself if an enterprising criminal might gain access to your house via that small aperture. And if you live in an apartment complex with an outdoor fire escape, make sure a burglar couldn’t gain entry to your residence from a window connected to or nearby that emergency exit.
Oddly enough, the most common way that burglars enter a victim’s house is the front or back door. Protect yourself by having a deadbolt installed. This makes it much more difficult for someone to force their way into your abode. And don’t keep keys to your house readily available outside. You might think you’re being sly by hiding the key within a fake rock or under the doormat, but thieves know these tricks too, and those are the first places they’ll check.
There are other steps you can take to further deter burglars if you’re out of town for a long period of time. If you trust your neighbors, call upon them to look in on your house occasionally. Tell them that they can call the authorities if something seems off. Also ask them to collect your mail and newspapers if they can, and have a plan in place in case it snows. You’ll want your driveway to be shoveled immediately or else it becomes obvious that you’re not home. If you do take a vacation, don’t tell the world on Facebook and Twitter. A burglar could monitor social accounts and prey on those people they know will be gone for a few days.
Even when you’re not out of town, consider investing in a security system. The latest technologies have the added advantage of warning you in the event that carbon monoxide or a fire compromise the safety of your residence. Barring the installation of such a system, make sure to always leave some lights on both in and outside the home. Set up a timer for the interior lights, and invest in a motion activated system for the exterior bulbs. That way, it always looks like someone is home.