25 Home Security Tips

Yes, 25 tips, because that’s how we roll. No home security tip is too trite. They are all important, especially when used all at once, all the time.3B

  1. Keep shrubs and trees manicured so that burglars can’t hide near them.
  2. Do a door and lock inventory to make sure they all work.
  3. The only time a door should be unlocked is when someone is using it.
  4. The only time a window should be unlocked is when it’s open while you’re home, and even then, be extremely judicious about this, including for second-story windows that can be climbed up to.
  5. Make sure nobody can see inside your windows at night, and be choosy about which drapes to leave open during the day, especially if you have expensive items that can be viewed through windows.
  6. Have a smoke alarm and check it periodically; run fire drills for the entire family.
  7. When gone, leave a light on; better yet, use a timed lighting system. Also put the TV on.
  8. Have a carbon monoxide detector and check it periodically.
  9. Make sure your security alarm system properly works.
  10. Consider having a “secret” room, also known as a “panic” room built.
  11. Keep your phone by the bed. Mobile phone is best.
  12. Install motion detectors inside and outside.
  13. Install video surveillance and check it periodically.
  14. Never leave packages outside your door, sign up for delivery notices.
  15. Make sure that all windows have your security company’s decals stuck on them; place the company’s sign on your lawn.
  16. While traveling, have mail and newspaper delivery postponed or picked up by a friend.
  17. Never go inside your house if you think it’s been broken into while you were gone.
  18. Protect your windows with penetration-proof film.
  19. Use a peephole on all doors that can’t be reversed by an outsider.
  20. Don’t leave ladders outside unless you’re using them.
  21. Put Charlie bars on all the window tracks.
  22. When traveling for long stretches, arrange to have someone mow your lawn and park their car in your driveway.
  23. Get a beware of dog sign even if you don’t have a dog.
  24. Go to an Army/Navy store and get paid of men’s boots, put them near your front or back door.
  25. Get a big dog food bowl. Place it near your front door.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

10 Get Smart Home Security Tips

The season to give is also the season to steal. Burglars are always looking for great deals—you know—the house that looks like nobody’s ever home; the house that has lots of shrubbery crowding out the doors and windows so that nobody can see the prowler spending 20 minutes trying to break in; the house with the huge Christmas tree in the window and a three-foot-high pile of gifts engulfing it.

BeOnHere’s how to make your house look very unappealing to burglars:

  1. Make it look occupied at all times. When you leave, leave some lights on. Leave a TV on so that the flickering can be seen from outside. Better yet, check the preventative BeOn burglar deterrent home security system that adds a layer of security using light and sound as deterrents to stop break-ins before they happen. Their Kickstarter campaign is rocking two Boston sports celebrities, check it out! Backing BeOn on Kickstarter helps accelerate development of these features to make the occupied home even more convincing.
  2. Don’t just automatically open the door when the doorbell rings unless you know who’s on the other side. And, it is not rude to ignore someone at your door! “But it might be a neighbor!” You’re not obligated to answer your door if you don’t know who it is. Unless you can clearly see it’s a trust person, don’t answer.
  3. When you order something to be delivered to your house, make an effort to be there to receive it so that a casing burglar doesn’t see an unattended package and think, “Nobody’s home.” Its also a good idea to set up a UPS and Fedex account to be notified of such deliveries.
  4. Keep the gifts that are under the tree invisible to the outside.
  5. If you travel, put your newspaper and mail delivery on vacation hold.
  6. If you’re traveling, notify the police that you’ll be out of town; ask them if they can drive by every so often to make sure things look okay.
  7. If you have a dog, see if you can arrange to have someone house sit so that the dog can stay at the house to bark in response to any prowlers.
  8. Don’t leave the boxes, that expensive items came in, sticking out of your rubbish at the curb. Tear them down so that they can be concealed inside the trash cans.
  9. Do not reveal your travel plans online, and instruct your kids not to.
  10. If you have a security system, put their stickers on all your windows and their sign in your yard. If you don’t have a system, get ahold of some stickers and signs anyways and put them up.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BeOn Home Security discussing burglar proofing your home on NECN. Disclosures.

10 Huge Home Security Mistakes

There are some mistakes you don’t get to avoid the second time around because you’re dead because of them. This applies to home security errors.

3B#1. Unlocked doors. It takes two seconds to lock a door. This should be a habit, whether you’ve just arrived home at midnight or are stepping back into your house at 2:00 in the afternoon after watering the flowers.

A burglar will commonly ring a bell, then jiggle the doorknob if there’s no answer. If the door opens, he’ll waltz right in and ransack…whether you answer the door or not. This same principle applies to keeping windows locked, even on a 90 degree day, when you’re not home. When you’re home, try to keep only second-story windows open if you don’t have A/C.

#2. Disabled alarm. Don’t assume that home intrusions occur only when the occupants are gone. An intruder high on crack doesn’t care if you’re home or not. Keep the alarm on even when you’re home, and disable it when you must momentarily step outside, but turn it back on when you return.

#3. Being cheap. Don’t use cheap locks. You’ll get what you pay for. Spend the money, the difference between a $20 lock and a $60 lock is dramatic.

#4. Ladder in yard. Wow, what a great way to make a burglar’s (or rapist’s) job easier. When you’re done, put the ladder away. Don’t say, “I’ll do it later.”

#5. Hidden keys. Come on, even the world’s dumbest criminals know to look under a plastic-looking rock and the welcome mat, check the flower pot, under the dog bowl, etc. Invest in a keyless lock.

#6. Valuables on display. Be careful where you decide to put valuable items as far as how well they can be seen through your window. If choices are limited, keep your shades down, at least when it begins getting dark.

#7. Unlocked garage. Don’t just keep the garage closed; keep it locked.

#8. Dark spaces. A dark house and dark yard tell burglars you’re not home. Another clue you’re gone—and not coming back in an hour— use timed interior and exterior lighting. Put a TV on and a radio to give your home a lived in look.

#9 Unattended growth and deliveries. An accumulation of newspapers and mail lets everyone know you aren’t home. Put your deliveries on vacation hold and stop your mail. Have your lawn mowed and even have someone park their car in and out of your driveway.

#10. Trash treasure. No, not finding something valuable in your trash, but your trash advertising you have valuables in the house: an empty flat-screen TV box and Xbox box with the rest of your trash. Burglars will know you have some cool stuff.

And one more!!!!!

#11. Social media. Don’t post what you’re doing while you’re on vacation. Save it all for after you get home. Remember, burglars read your posts, too.

Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert to discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

How to Respond in an active Shooter Scenario

Here’s how to respond if a shooting breaks out.

7HThere’s no such thing as a perfect world in which guns and bullets don’t exist. Would you know what to do in the event of an unexpected shooting situation?

The first thing you should do in a shooting crisis is to remain calm, even though your head might be telling you to fight or escape. However, an attempt at fighting or escaping may not always be possible, regardless, maintain calm to determine what is possible.

Be aware of your surroundings: people nearby, what they’re doing, odd behaviors, unfolding situations. If you spot dissonance (e.g., an escalating argument), look for possible exits or safe spots to get to, rather than get closer to the unfolding train wreck. If someone brandishes a gun, you’ll then immediately know where the fastest exit or barricade is. Always know where the exits are in any room you’re in.

In general, if you’re in a threatening situation, especially if a shooting occurs, 1) run, 2) hide, and 3) fight. And not always in that order.

If you see the exit, run. If you can see the gunman, he can see you; drop any belongings, crouch and bolt away to a safe place, even if you become injured. Then call 9-1-1.

If there’s a quiet, dark room that you can lock yourself into, do so. Bring other people with you if possible, but keep them quiet: no screaming. If the door doesn’t lock, block it with furniture. Stay put until the authorities find you.

If running and hiding aren’t options, you must fight: a very last resort, however. If possible, recruit others to join forces. Use any weapons available (chair, lamp) and fight for your life. If the gunman’s weapon freezes, lunge at him or sprint away. A 120 pound woman can do this; 120 pounds is a lot of weight coming at a full grown man, whether it’s a big rock or a woman.

This boils down to situation awareness and preparedness. Never think that preparing ahead of time for a shooting that probably will never happen is a form of paranoia. It’s simply being proactive.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussingburglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Burglars using Video to stake out Homes

Yes, burglars do use video surveillance to case homes.

CAMSometimes burglars aren’t not so dumb, like the ones who use video to case homes.

A video camera the size of a matchstick has been discovered in the yards of several homes in North Texas’s upscale Dalworthington Gardens, where there have been break-ins.

According to the Dalworthington Gardens police, a homeowner presented them with the device, which was found near his driveway. Analysis revealed it was video surveillance for an ongoing burglary scheme.

So police established some counter-surveillance. Sure enough, next evening a man came to the home to retrieve the camera. The crook turned out to be a 21-year-old, Cain Santoyo, whose belongings in his car were the tools of burglars: lock picking instruments, a disguise, a stun gun/flash light and multiple surveillance cameras.

Also found was a motion detector that was rigged to a small radio transmitter, which seemed to serve the purpose of alerting a burglar inside a house that the homeowners have returned.

Inside Santoyo’s house, police discovered jewelry hidden in a crawlspace. They had reason to believe he was a burglar casing out homes with his tiny video cameras placed in yards.

Nevertheless, police concluded that this burglar had already sold many stolen items online. They expect that eventually, several burglary charges will be filed.

The police point out that it’s illegal for two parties to be recorded via audio without their knowledge, which equates to another charge!

Lesson learned: If a homeowner discovers an odd trinket, even if it resembles bark from a tree, in their yard, that just doesn’t seem to belong there (it’s the only thing like it in the yard, and its source is unknown), then remove it, and consider having the police examine it. It just might be a tiny video camera that a would-be burglar placed on your property.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Unknown Knocker Annoys N.C. Neighbors

In North Carolina some whack job is knocking on doors of women and running. Oddly, all have one thing in common, they are widows. The knocker hasn’t hurt anyone but he is certainly harassing them.

As kids we did similar things to annoy. Kids will be kids, but today is much different. Behavior such as this could have serious repercussions if somebody catches whoever is doing it in the act and then “teaches them a lesson.”

Police in Rutherford County, North Carolina reported five women were being harassed by an unknown prowler called “The Knocker. The five women, all widows living in Rutherford County, said the knocks are sporadic and come at any given time of day or night, according to reports. They hear the knocks on their doors, walls, windows, sometimes for weeks at a time. No one has been arrested and local authorities are hesitant about the claims. A son of one of the women defended their claims, saying five women do not just make up stories together, reports stated. Police continue investigating the mysterious knocker.”

Whether knocks occur or not, there is enough technology available to determine and prevent it from continuing to happen. Further, a neighborhood watch program would help thwart any mischief.  If it’s true, what is concerning is the “knocks” have been going on for weeks and nobody has caught the guy.

Home security tip number one, don’t provide an opportunity for a prankster or a bad guy to do this to you or someone you love. Install home security cameras to monitor the perimeter and deter the stupid knocker. If this was my mom being harassed knock-boy would already have been caught.

Now if this is more than just kids playing games, and is an adult who is obviously a bit screwy, he could also be peeping in windows, jiggling door knobs and thinking about his next move. A home security alarm is essential to alert the homeowner, neighbors, and law enforcement to a potential intruder.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on Fox Boston. Disclosures.