We all make mistakes; the key is to make them once or twice and learn from them. If you keep making them, bad things happen—and home security mistakes are not ones you want to repeat. Here are a dozen mistakes that you don’t want to make even the first time.
- Cheap locks. It’s easy to walk into the hardware store and see all the shiny locks and look at the prices and see considerable differences. With locks, like anything else, you get what you pay for. Schlage is my go-to, and I’ll never be cheap and make that mistake again.
- Unlocked doors. What’s the point of having locks if you aren’t going to lock them? Burglars walk up to doors all day, ring the bell, get no answer, jiggle the doorknob and walk right in. And people are surprised their home was chosen.
- Hide a key. Burglars know they are in or under the flowerpot, under the mat, in the mailbox, in that stupid fake-looking rock and in/under/behind whatever else is on your porch. Get Schlage’s Touchscreen Deadbolt; it is the best keyless lock out there.
- Ladders in yards. It’s a good thing I’m not a burglar, because I see ladders in yards every day. They boost a bad guy to the unlocked second-floor windows easily enough. Lock ’em up.
- Disabled alarms. You were smart enough to get the alarm, so be smart and activate it when you are home, sleeping and away—even for 10 minutes. Set it and forget it.
- Opened unlocked windows. Sure, you’re only going to the store and you’ll be right back…but the kid next door with his little crack problem knows your routine and as soon as you leave, your grandmother’s ring and your husband’s knife collection are his. Lock up.
- Unlocked garages. Just because the garage door is down and the side entrance is closed, doesn’t mean a burglar won’t just walk right in and through to a home that is attached. Lock up.
- Valuables in plain sight. Everyone in the neighborhood knows you just got a 70” LCD TV because it’s prominently displayed in your living room window. Put your shades down.
- Social media postings. When you let everyone know you are sipping a margarita in Cabo, you are also letting a burglar know you aren’t home. Be discreet.
10. Revealing trash boxes. That Dell computer box, the Sharp TV box and the Xbox box in your garbage tell bad guys to come into your home to do their shopping. Hide those boxes in a trash bag.
11. Dark house. When you are away and your mail and newspapers are piling up and your house looks abandoned, you make it easy for burglars to choose your house. Give it that lived-in look with timers, and have a trusted neighbor grab your stuff.
12. Dark yard. Burglars like to creep around in the dark. Put your lights on timers from dusk to dawn.