No matter where you live, home security is an issue that should be taken seriously. Having a good lock or a home alarm can be very useful, but it’s far from being the only way to protect your home and family from burglars and intruders.
Sometimes a simple habit you never gave much thought to could make your home an easy target. In this article, we rounded up the most common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to security.
Hiding an extra key under the mat or in a flowerpot is a common practice. It could come in handy if someone is taking care of your home while you’re away, or in an emergency when someone locks themselves out. Unfortunately, the spots most homeowners pick to hide their keys are quite obvious. In fact, under the doormat is the first place a burglar would look at.
If you are worried about getting locked out, you are much better off leaving a key with a trusted family member or friend who lives close by. If it is absolutely necessary to leave a key outside, it’s recommended to hide it as far away from the house as possible. An object like a fake rock is only a good idea if you hide it among real rocks. Make it as hard as possible to guess the hiding location.
Related: 21 Things a Burglar Won't Tell You
As obvious as it may sound, most of us don’t keep home security in mind when we leave our belongings around the house. If you have valuable items, like jewelry, for example, consider whether they can be seen through a ground floor window. Of course, some large items like television sets can be harder to position in a way that is not visible through the windows. But when possible, do put your valuables in drawers or out of sight of potential intruders with binoculars.
Be mindful of your landscaping choices, as they can make your home seem like an easy target for intruders. If you have large bushes growing around your doors and windows, they can provide cover for suspicious action. It doesn’t mean you need to let go of all your plants, just give a little more thought to where they are placed.
Make sure to trim bushes and trees away from your windows, and keep your home exterior well lit. You can keep the bushes denser against solid walls as long as the windows and doors aren’t obscured.
If you recently purchased a pricey item like a television or a laptop, leaving the packaging right outside your door is like a broadcast for potential intruders. You might ask yourself what you are supposed to do in case your neighborhood has a curbside trash collection service. This issue can be easily resolved: cut the packaging into smaller pieces, using a utility knife, and stack them in a way that doesn’t disclose what they once held.
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One of the most telling signs of an empty home is piled-up mail in the mailbox. If you know you’re about to be absent for an extended period of time, there are a couple of steps you can take to avoid this. Contact your local post office and arrange a hold of your mail. If you have a subscription to any newspapers, put it on hold too while you’re away.
It would also be a good idea to ask a friend or a trusted neighbor to swing by and collect any packages or flyers that may accumulate in front of the house. A little activity around the front door makes the house seem occupied, too.
While burglars are less likely to target second-floor windows they are not completely bulletproof. Always lock and secure those windows. Don’t rely on a difficult climb as a deterrent, some burglars will find a way to access second-story windows if they are unlocked.
Furthermore, look out for ways you might be making it easier to access the second floor. Keep ladders stored away in a garage or a shed. If that isn’t an option, you can use a bike lock to attach it to something, so it can’t be moved. If there are trees that might provide access, consider cutting the branches back to make it harder to reach the windows.
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