(this isn’t really ‘tech’ but it’s always good to know and we at TechBurgh like to spread the love).
A lot of this comes from personal experience. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a volunteer firefighter and have become quite good at ‘breaking and entering’ (officially of course) when I need to.
1. Make it look like you’re home.
Of course burglars and intruders are less likely to ‘hit’ an occupied residence. Use timers on lights, the TV, the radio etc.
2. Leave your curtains like you normally would.
Don’t leave all of your blinds and curtains in the same positions, some open, some closed – just every day positions.
3. Turn your phone/s and answering machine down/off.
There’s a better chance of someone breaking in if they hear repeated rings or messages being left.
4. Don’t re-record your answering machine/voicemail message.
NEVER leave an answering machine message to the effect of "this is the Jones family. We’ll be in Portugal for two weeks, please leave a message". Do that and you’re asking for trouble.
5. Newspapers & Mail
Ask a friend, neighbor or family member to pick up your mail and/or newspaper.
If you’re going to be away for an extended period arrange for someone to cut your lawn.
7. Move your car
If you leave your car in your driveway, have someone move it once in a while.
8. Natural defenses
Plant some nasty roses or something really thorny and uncomfortable under your first floor windows.
9. Trim your trees
Make sure there is no easy way to get into home via a tree etc.
10. Don’t make it easy
Don’t leave your ladder in the yard, don’t leave your tool shed open.
11. Limit hiding places
Trim shrubs and hedges etc to prevent anyone hiding close to your house.
12. Install motion lights
Motion lights are always good, when installed with care, otherwise they can keep you and your neighborhood up all night.
13. Make your house easy to find (emergency wise)
Make sure your house number is clearly visible during the day and at night.
14. Be generally aware
Look for suspicious activity, people, vehicles etc in your neighborhood.
15. Lock your windows and doors
This one might be obvious but make sure the doors and windows are locked. Even your upstairs ones.
16. Don’t leave a ‘spare key’
NEVER hide a ‘spare key’ in a rock, under the doormat, in a plant pot or in your mailbox. They know all the places.
17. Use a peephole
Know who you’re expecting to visit
18. Ask for ID
You have every right to ask anyone standing on your doorstep for ID. Take a good look too. Don’t be afraid to call wherever they claim to be from to double check.
19. Install deadbolts and chains
They may not be 100% but they’re a deterrent. Also, don’t feel like you have to use the screws that came with the kit, if you can use better ones go ahead.
20. Check your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
AT LEAST when you put your clocks forward and back check the detector and change the battery. If you don’t have a smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector talk to your local fire department.