Happy Thanksgiving! It is the official start of the holiday season, regardless of which holiday is celebrated. There will be trips to the mall, lots of eating out, entertaining and going to parties, visiting with friends, family and loved ones.
The year 2017 has been a tough year when is comes to feeling safe and secure. If it’s not Mother Nature showing her strength, it’s something man-made. The randomness and frequency is beyond comprehension. The question is, are residents safe at home? There is nothing more depressing than having a home broken into and looted. It can be very traumatic to experience damage to a home, the loss of personal property not to mention the whole depression that engulfs the entire family.
There are a number of steps that homeowners can take which will help protect a home and minimize the chance of a break-in during this holiday season.
First, make sure the home looks lived in. For residents making any travel plans, make sure to have arrangements made to pick up any packages that may be delivered. Let the post office know by going online and putting in a “vacation hold” on the mail. It’s free and so simple.
Consider putting several lights throughout the home on a timer to make it look as if someone is home. Even the TV could come on for a few hours each evening. With today’s electronics, it is relatively easy to set up a fairly complex pattern of lights that would reflect normal patterns.
Think about what’s in the trash. Has Santa left a big screen TV, maybe a new X-box or even a new computer? These boxes are calling cards for thieves and an invitation to break into a home. Make sure any boxes from high-ticket items are broken down and put into either a trash bag or the recycle trash can with the lid down firmly. Never leave boxes stacked at the curb.
Don’t hide spare keys. How original is it to hide a key under a rock, in a planter or even under the front door mat? Thieves know how to look for these keys. The best place to leave a spare key is with a trusted friend.
Social media is not private. Social media platforms are a very integrated part of everyday life, but please be careful.
Don’t announce travel plans to the world on social media or include details about its start or ending. These details enable a potential thief to schedule breaking into a home at their convenience. Also, resist the urge to ‘check-in’ online and post pictures or comments about the wonderful things being done and seen. Save it for later and tell the whole story all at once.
Don’t put personal labels on a home. Is the family name on display on the mailbox, above the door bill or perhaps there is a welcome sign with the family name on it. The problem with taking pride and putting the family name on a home is that potential thieves can use this information to research the family to gain information like phone numbers, so they can call and see if anyone is home.
Post the “signs” of the time. All alarm companies will provide a homeowner with a yard sign and window decals that announce that the home is protected by a monitored alarm. These notices are a strong deterrent that most thieves will choose to avoid.
For those without an alarm, there are mock signs and decals that can be purchased in a local retail store or online at places like Amazon or eBay. They are relatively inexpensive and will act as a deterrent while helping protect a home and possessions.
What about the garage door? There are many tools readily available to thieves that will scan for garage door codes. It only takes a moment for them to open a garage, drive in and close the door behind them, giving them ample opportunity to ransack a home and load their vehicle.
The best way to combat this invasion is to disable the garage door opener. The simplest method is to go ahead and unplug it. It requires a ladder – leave it in place, so the garage door opener can be plugged back in at the end of the vacation.
Securely store valuables, while on vacation. It’s good to have an added level of protection for valuables. Consider installing a home safe or taking jewelry and other valuables to a bank and putting them in a safe deposit box. Of course, a safe deposit box is limited in size, while a safe can be purchased to accommodate any valuables and weapons as well.
Install a home security system. Above, it was recommended that homeowners install signs indicating an active home security system. Well, the best thing to do is to take it a step further and actually install a home security system.
Not only do systems notify the authorities in case of a break-in or fire, but they can be set so that each user has a unique code, so the homeowner will know exactly when a family member comes and goes.
Another feature available with home security systems is the use of wireless cameras that can be broadcast to a mobile device, through a Wi-Fi connection to the internet. This way, if the camera is triggered, the homeowner will not only be notified immediately, they’ll be able to see who is there.
Fortify the home not with bars on the windows, but by installing solid core doors, heavy duty locks, longer screws in the lock strike plates and door hinges and install secondary security devices on all accessible sliding windows.
Follow any of these suggestions, and it will minimize the chances of a home being burglarized this holiday season.
Call (951) 296-8887 and get the information to make an educated decision.
Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, [email protected] Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (since 2011) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors.