The dramatic temperature fluctuations in San Diego have been giving me whiplash lately. Prior to this week, the cold temperatures we had been experiencing throughout San Diego kept us bundled up inside the comfort of our homes. Unfortunately, the cold does not deter the criminal element from looking for the next opportunity. A few weeks ago, I foolishly forgot to shut my garage door and woke up the next morning to find that my vehicle had been rifled through. Thankfully, I have a compulsive habit of ensuring that all valuables are removed from my vehicle when I arrive home. As such, the would-be bandit walked away that night empty-handed. Nevertheless, I was still disturbed by the incident, as anyone would be. I was forgetful that day and let my guard down, and it reminded me that we all need to be on our best game, all the time, with our home security habits because there’s always someone lurking to take full advantage of our innocent oversights.
We typically see a spike in both vehicle and home burglaries just before and after the holidays. Did you know that according to FBI statistics a burglary takes place approximately every 18-19 seconds? 1 minute or less is typically the amount of time it takes for a criminal to break into most homes. Likewise, 1 minute is about the most amount of time a burglar will spend trying to break into a home before moving on. What does this tell us? Making your dwelling more physically difficult to compromise makes criminals work harder, spend more time, and deters them to move on to more opportunistic targets. In addition to what you are already doing for your home security, here are some additional tips that you may find worthy of consideration:
- Secure all of your windows with secondary locking devices. Additionally, since approximately 60% of home burglaries occur during the daytime, only allow your windows to remain open no more than 5″ for ventilation when you are home.
- Have two (2) locks on all of your doors.
- Invest in an alarm system.
- Install exterior light timers to turn on in response to motion, or to randomly turn on at various intervals.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Doing so will make it difficult for criminals to go unnoticed by neighbors or passersby. Additionally, remove tree branches that are near windows.
- Do not allow newspapers to accumulate on your porch.
- Secure your vehicle and house keys with you in your bedroom while you sleep. Never leave copies under your doormat, in a potted plant, or in your mailbox.
- Consider leaving interior lights or television on when you are away.
- Do not make mention on social media that you are away from your home or on vacation.
- Do not leave notes on your door that may tip off a would-be criminal that you’re not home. (ie. notes to postal delivery service, etc.)
- Speak to all unknown visitors through a locked door. Consider a peep hole if your door does not have one.
- Empty boxes for high-end electronics equipment should be cut up and placed in garbage bags. Don’t discard them on your curb to advertise what you have in your home.
- Always shut your garage door when you come home, or at a minimum make it a nightly part of your routine to check it before going to bed.
- Ensure your vehicles are locked and all valuables removed, even when parked within an enclosed garage.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of tips and recommendations, but they may be food for thought as a starting point when considering any potential vulnerabilities in your home security. The San Diego Sheriff Department offers this checklist for your use in assessing the home security of your dwelling.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!