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June 14, 2020

Five Common Homeowner Mistakes that Make a Burglar’s Day

Some days you are just so busy that you forget to set the alarm when running out the door. Sure, this is a critical step in securing your home, but an occasional lapse is expected. Nobody’s perfect (you might try putting a sticky note by your door or on your car visor to remind you).

That you have an alarm system shows you are a conscientious homeowner that cares about security. But are you making any of these five common home security mistakes that leave you far more vulnerable to a break-in than you’d expect, especially on those “human” days?

Hiding a spare key outside

With enough time and initiative, even a run-of-the-mill thief can find your “hidden” spare key. Fake rocks, inside the grill, under the flowerpot or doormat, secured under an outdoor piece of furniture with a magnet: the list is long but well known. If getting locked out is a concern for you or your family, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor, or try a fingerprint or digital keycode lock on your door. This Kwikset deadbolt is affordable and easy to use and works even if the power goes out.



Failing to secure your garage and shed

Next to your house, your car is likely your most valuable possession, and yet you tend to leave the door open or unsecured – which you would never do with your main house. Replacing a lawnmower or expensive yard tools is not just costly but time-consuming, not to mention making a claim on your insurance. You can use a keyless deadbolt on your tool shed and put in motion sensor lights/alarms on your garage/driveway as deterrents. These motion sensor solar lights are inexpensive and easy to install deterrents.




Thinking your second floor is secure

Burglars are cunning. They can spot an access point to your home that you may never consider. How about a deck railing that sits below a bathroom window or a ladder in your unlocked toolshed? Some lithe thieves can even shimmy up your drainpipe if he sees a window near it. Keyed window locks are easy to install, and the key can be kept nearby on a ribbon for use in case of an emergency or for fresh air. And, believe it or not, there is an anti-burglar paint you can use on your downspouts that leaves a sticky residue on a thief’s clothes and hands. One-touch and he’ll think twice about climbing.



Believing your door strength is adequate

A high-quality deadbolt is undoubtedly a deterrent to thieves, but not if the surrounding door frame or the door itself is of substandard strength. When a door is kicked in, it is the frame that gives way first. A simple solution is to use 3-4” screws to hold the strike plates in place. Another is to install an extended security plate in your door. There are kits and individual plates available that do a lot for a little.




Leaving your house dark when you are gone

Leaving a light on is such a simple thing to do, but so many fail to see its importance. Whether your concern is the cost of electricity or the fear of fire, technology now enables you to leave a light burning safely and cheaply. LED bulbs, whether smart or regular, are much cooler and a fraction of the cost to run as incandescent bulbs. You can use a timer on a lamp or control your lights with your smartphone so it looks like someone is home. Nest by Google, Amazon Alexa, or just your wifi can control multiple lights like these smart bulbs.

Making these small adjustments in your security measures can go a long way in providing peace of mind and protection for your most valuable asset – your family home.