Burglar Deterrents

Tips to Burglar Proof Your Home

Many people are traveling at all times of the year, especially in the holiday periods. Burglars know this and they are ready to take advantage of your empty home. We thought that it would be good to cover a number of tips to burglar proof your home. Avoid the frustration and invasion of privacy by following these tips. If you know of others that would benefit our readers, let us know and we will be happy to add them to the post. We have a number of other posts on this site that discuss issues around home security as well.

Tips to Burglar Proof Your Home

Make your home look like it is lived in – If you are going away, your home should still look as if someone is living in it. This can mean lights on timers, pool running in the summer, neighbors parking a car in the driveway etc.

Regular checks by Family or neighbors – may not stop them but it will let anyone know who is casing the home that people are watching.

Clear mail every day – or have someone do it for you. Newspapers and mail building up in the mail box is a sure sign of a vacant home

Maintain landscaping – whether it is uncut grass or an untidy looking yard, this can be another sign that no one is home.

Hi Tech Monitoring – alarms that go off if someone does break in are good to have. So are doorbells that trigger a call to your cell phone when someone tries the doorbell. Another is an alert whenever motion is detected in or around the house with a voice response. You may get some false alarms from local animals that roam the yard at night.

If you have added ideas, let us know, we would be glad to include them.

Burglar Deterrent Fencing

Home Security ChecklistThere is a huge variety of fencing to choose from and let’s face it most people select a fence based on the way it will look around your yard and not for security.  Cost is also a big factor since the cost of the materials as well as labor has gone up in recent years. Security that fencing is usually pretty far down the list. This particular fence will not stop thieves, but will make it uncomfortable to climb over. Most are looking for an easy score, so the more difficult you make it for them the less likely they will pick your place.

However anything that makes it difficult for a would be burglar to gain access to your property is a deterrent and if he goes elsewhere because of the fence then it has done it’s job.

Fences that are difficult to jump over because they are high or have spikes at the top are often better than short fences. Let’s face it if someone really wants to get into your yard over your fence, there are multiple ways to do that. Still most burglars are really opportunists and will choose a fence that is easy to get through or over vs. one that is difficult. They will also try the gate first and if they can get in that way vs. going over the fence they will. See our comments about gates later in this post.

This is one of the biggest deterrents you can have as part of your overall security program for your home. When building a fence that looks good, also build a burglar deterrent fence. One that will persuade burglars to go else where. You can achieve both pretty easily and without spending a fortune as well.

Low Fencing as Burglar Deterrent Fencing

The picture on the left is an example of a low fence. As you can see would be relatively easy to jump over and gain access to your yard. It might keep dogs out and small children. But will not keep anyone out who really wants to get in.

In fact it is pretty easy. This fence looks nice and might create the right decorative atmosphere that you are looking for, but will not deter burglars. It is a basic residential fence that you see around many back yards in homes all across North America.

High Fencing as a Burglar Deterrent

High fencing on the other hand is much more difficult to get over. It has standard five foot boards with a one foot lattice on the top. This makes it at least 6 feet above the ground.

Can someone pull themselves over the fence? Yes they can but it is much more difficult compared to the first picture we showed you.

The next step of course is to install a spike at the top to add another level of difficulty.

Gates need to be locked and latched and not easy to open for a burglar. There is no to spend money money on a high fence if you make it easy to open the gate. Pull though chords are helpful to you and the burglar. Make your gate so that they cannot get through the gate unless you leave it unlocked!

Of course this is our last point. If you are supposed to keep your gate locked all of the time,  make it part of your evening routine. Make sure gate is properly closed and securely locked. Do this before you retire for the evening or leave for the day or go on a trip.

Stay safe, comments welcome

Burglar Deterrent Plants

Burglar deterrent plants should be part of your crime prevention strategy. As part of our property management series we decided to write a few posts about burglar deterrents. This one is about what you can do with plants to deter burglars and importantly what you should not do with plants when you are thinking about burglars. Anyone looking for a home to break into is going to look for the easy score and stay away from anything that looks difficult. If someone wants to get in or has an objective in mind, regardless of what you do they will break in. Plants will deter the criminals who are looking for an easy way in.

There are lots of other things that consumers should focus on as well when it comes to making your home unattractive to burglars. Everything from placing signs about attack dogs, to burglar alarm signs, to actual burglar alarms and many other things can be done. All of them are designed with the thought of deterring burglars from selecting your home as a potential place to break into. However this post will focus on the role that plans around the outside of your home can play in this regard.

Burglar Deterrent Plants – What not To Do

Most people know that they should not place shrubs that provide hiding places for burglars while they are breaking into your home. These include shrubs that hide the front door from the street or the neighbors as well as shrubs around windows that are easily opened for entry into your home. Think about it. On a dark night, with little lighting around your home, the perfect conditions only get better if there is a shrub or bush to hide the burglar while he quietly breaks into your home.
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Home Sitting Services you Should Look For

Home Sitting ServicesIf you are leaving your home vacant for any reason make sure someone will look after it. If you  have decided to hire someone to look after your home while you are away there are precautions you should take to ensure your home is secure. Here is a list of Home Sitting Services that you should be looking for them to do. This list applies to your neighbor, one of your relatives, a close friend as well as a professional home sitting service that you might hire. It is to ensure that there are mo miscommunications and that the insurance companies requirements are looked after.

Home Sitting Services – Checklist

Whether you are leaving for the weekend or all winter, the last thing you want to be concerned about is your homes security while you are away.

  • A report after every visit by email, which is very reassuring to many couples vacationing in foreign countries or living at another location while your home is being sold. The status should be provided along with whatever services should be included.
  • Pick up your mail and forward it if needed. This includes mail in your mail box at your home as well as at the post office or one of the neighbor hood post office boxes that are available in some communities. It should also include all of the junk mail that is delivered to our homes and if not removed leaves that not lived in look if not picked up
  • Check on the security of your home, including alarms, windows and doors.
  • Check that there are no water leaks and that the furnace is working properly in the winter time heating your home.
  • Water your plants.
  • Look after the lawn in the summer including cutting your lawn and watering if needed.
  • Monitor subcontractors, such as driveway snow clearing in the winter or lawn cutting services.
  • Miscellaneous services such as
  • pool care,
  • walking the dog or
  • feeding the cat.

Insurance Companies

Many insurance companies require someone to visit your home every 48 to 72 hours, while some are comfortable with a visit once a week. Most want the water shut off so that if there is a leak during a vacancy the water damage will be limited.

As an alternative to relying on friends or family, a professional home sitting service is one way to make sure that everything you need is done to keep your home secure and deal with any emergencies. Look for the following service list if you are hiring a company to look after your home.

  • Home visits on a schedule you choose
  • Reports by email after every visit
  • Fulfill your insurance requirements
  • Reasonable rates – less than you expected
  • Choose only the services you need
  • Short or long-term arrangements
  • Vacation, Business Trip, Relocating

Who Should You Hire

Another issue is who can you trust. Most family members are trust worthy and if you know your neighbors well enough you can usually count on them to help you out for short-term vacations. A long-term vacation is a different thing and may impose on your friends and neighbors more than you want to.  Unless you can return the favor, you might want to consider a professional who is in the business.

Regardless of who you use, it is a good idea to remove anything of value. Jewelry and other valuable items should be removed so that there is no temptation.  Also take pictures or a video of your home for insurance purposes and a record of your home’s valuable items. This is good protection for you for a number of reasons:

  • Provides a record of your belongings
  • Insurance claims need documentation of what you have
  • Helps you recall all of the miscellaneous items that you have in your home which are very difficult to remember in times of stress
  • Protection in terms of anyone coming into your home and removing items of value, you have a record

Comments are welcome about your experiences when you are away and using the services of a home sitter. For more info on burglar deterrents and property management / home security, click here.


Weekend House Watchers

Weekend House WatchersMost people do not worry too much about their homes when they go away for the weekend. What about for the week or even for longer periods? They may tell the neighbors and family. However unless there is something unusual going on , no one will check the home while they are away. For the vast majority of people this is fine as long as your home is secure. It also assumes that you have followed some or all of the home security checklists we have discussed in earlier posts. Most homes are never broken into. The furnace works all of the time during the winter and there never is a water leak.

But it just takes that one time for a water line to break and you end up with thousands of dollars in damage. Then what do you do if the insurance company will not pay? Because you did not have anyone checking on the house.

What Steps Should You Take When Leaving a Home Vacant

Consumers should always check with their insurance companies before they leave to make sure that their home is still covered even while you are away from home. Some companies will demand that a person visits every 24 hours especially in the winter time when the furnace is running. Frozen pipes that burst can cause a lot of damage. Other companies are more lenient as long as the water is shut off and will only need someone to check on the home once a week. They are all different in their requirements so call them to find out what you need to do to make sure you are covered for all damages while you are away.

There are one or two exceptions that we can think of when you may want to make arrangements for someone to check on the house and / or visit your home while you are away even if it is just for the weekend.

Weekend House Watchers – What to Do With Pets

The first issue would be if you have pets. Cats can usually look after themselves for the weekend, especially if you put out extra cat food and water. Cats are known for not over eating. They can survive quite well on their own for several days with no problem. If you have an older cat that needs medicine other arrangements are needed. Then you may want to make arrangements for someone to visit and provide what ever is needed.

Dogs on the other hand need almost constant attention. They need to be walked and fed and given a chance to empty their bowels etc, otherwise you are probably looking at a huge mess when you get home, not to mention a very hungry dog. They will tend to eat everything in front of them at one time. Weekend house sitters and dog walkers can help most people in this situation by taking your dog for a walk several times a day as needed.

Snow Clearing

People in northern climates may also need to have snow cleared in the winter time. People with pools may have to have someone look after their pool in the summer time. Most neighbors will gladly do this for you for a free swim in the pool. Or a return favor some time. All of these activities will make the home looked lived in and as if someone is home.

Even with a weekend house sitter or a neighbor looking after your home, you should still have lights on timers. So that there is no perceived change in schedule. If you use electric timers for lights while you are away, it will be hard to tell if you are home or not. Weekend house watchers can also water plants, check for water leaks and make sure that the heat is on. They can collect any newspapers that might be laying on the front step.

Why take the chance and leave your home unchecked. After all your insurance could end up being invalid. Or a claim rejected all because you were going to save a few dollars. Your home and your contents are worth far more than what you would pay for someone to house sit your home. Or to check your home on a schedule that you have set up that satisfies the insurance company.

If you have thoughts on this subject or wish to leave a comment, please do so.

Electric Timers for Lights while Away

electric timer for turning on lights in your homeThe golden rule for using electric timers  for lights while you are away on vacation is to make the house look like someone is at home at night. For example if you always turn on the hall light at night and leave it on all night. It should be on a timer with the same cycle. If you always turn on the family room lights at night the same thing applies. However if you never turn on the outdoor lights at night and suddenly they are on all of the time or on a timer, anyone who is monitoring your home is going to know that you are away.

It is as simple as that in terms of when to use timers. Also were to use electric timers for lights while you are away on vacation. Having an alarm system and locking all of your windows and doors is important as well, however in this post we will only talk about timers for lights. We have included additional posts about security for your home at all times as well as when you are away from home.

Electric Timers for Lights

Follow the Same Pattern

When we leave, our lights follow the same pattern whether we are at home Home Securityor not. Our outdoor lights are on light-sensitive diodes, which means as soon as it gets dark they automatically come on and stay on until dawn. Sometimes they are on during the day as well if it is a particularly cloudy day with dark clouds. I do not need to check them after a power failure, since there is no electric timer involved. They really work well for me and they even have light-sensitive diodes that work with fluorescent lights as well so it does not cost me a lot of money to have them on.

Indoors, I use the standard mechanical electric timer to turn on and off my lights. I use the mechanical ones since they will work with the fluorescent lights and I save money again with these lights. There is probably an electric timer available now that is electronic that is also compatible with fluorescent lights, however I have not purchased any since I already have enough electric timers.

Morning and Evening

We always leave the hall light on at night so there is an electric timer on this light. Same with the family room and the kitchen.  I also have one in each of the bedrooms that were used so that it looks like someone is home. We typically go to bed around eleven so the lights stay on in the family room and kitchen until 10 or 10:30pm then go off. The bedroom lights come on at that time until around eleven pm.

The reverse is true in the morning. On in the bedrooms first , then downstairs and then off around the time we go to work. In the summer, the morning is not so important since there is a lot more hours of daylight. However in the winter time, we have the timers turning on our electric lights in the morning as well since it is usually dark when we get up.

That’s about it from the point of view of using electric timers for turning on our lights while we are away on vacation or on business. Comments are welcome,

Burglar Deterrent Tips

Home Security ChecklistPart of property management in our opinion is helping homeowners and consumers avoid being robed. Or at least decrease the chance that you will be robbed. In the previous post we touched on burglar deterrent signs. This post is going to focus on a number of tips that consumers and homeowners can apply to their situation to help avoid break-ins and robberies. There are no guarantees, however why not decrease your chances of being robbed. Why would you not take advantage of these opportunities and protect yourself?

Burglar Deterrent Tips

Many people do not give home invasion or burglary a seconds thought. Until they experience  it or perhaps a family member or close neighbor.  They they start looking for information about how to prevent burglaries. They realize that there are things they could have done to decreases the chances of someone breaking into their home. Why not start now to decrease the probability by following these burglar deterrent tips.

There are many things you can do yourself which will help to prevent burglaries. While installing more complex alarm systems may need an expert to complete the installation.  The first step is really an evaluation of your home from a burglars point of view. How they might enter your home or break in to your home.

Pretend you are breaking Into Your Home

Even though burglars have more experience at break-ins, put yourself in their shoes regarding how you would break into your home. If you can figure it out, then the burglars sure ca as well.  You may want to look at how you would do it quietly without making a lot of noise, however if haste is required, they will not worry about damaging your property.

There are also resources in your neighborhood that you can turn to for both ideas on how to improve the security as well as the steps you can take to improve security.

Tips to Help Avoid Burglars

Here is a list of tips that may help you in deciding what things you can do to make your home more burglar deterrent.

Secure doors and windows and that means locking them when you are away. Two-thirds of all intruders enter by a door and a third by a window, so just having them closed and locked with a good lock goes a long way.

Refit locks if necessary on all doors and windows if you are in doubt at all.

Weak doors, glass windows are easy to break. Have them inspected and strengthened were necessary. All it took for a burglar to get into our neighbors house was a quick boot to the door to break the lock and they were in! Took less than 5 seconds!

Locks on doors should be the five-lever mortise deadlock variety, while patio doors should have special locking systems and/or anti-lift devices to prevent them being removed from their frames. At the very least place a solid bar to prevent the door from being slid open.

More Tips

Even if you are home, it pays to keep doors locked. Would you know if someone came in an open unlocked door if you are in another part of the house?

Automatic deadlocks that immediately lock the door securely from the inside when the door is closed and must be opened with a key.

Mortise bolts can be fitted at the top and bottom of the door for extra security.

A sturdy chain will prevent someone from pushing though and a door viewer is also handy to check out whoever is standing on the other side.

Store keys were you can find them in an emergency, but away from prying eyes.

Movement sensitive lighting, well lighted front doors and side doors will help to discourage many opportunistic burglars.
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Burglar Deterrent Signs

For consumers taking accountability for their own safety and that of their property, Burglar Deterrent Signs is one avenue to consider and falls within the realm of property management for residential consumers.

Placing Burglar Deterrent Signs in and around your home can be an inexpensive method of fending off some would be burglars. Let’s face it burglars are lazy and trying to make a living off of someone else and they are always going to take the easy road rather than have to deal with some level of difficulty. If the would be burglar is convinced that you have a rather loud sounding alarm installed in your home that is monitored, they might just move on to the next home and leave yours alone.

Even if you do not actually have an alarm system, it can be enough to make them think that you do have one. This is probably the most simple and least expensive way to protect your home. It will certainly keep out the opportunist but not the professional or someone who knows that you do not have an alarm system.

Burglar Deterrent Signs – Vicious Dog Signs

Vicious Dog Burglar Deterrent SignsMost burglars want to avoid anything that will draw attention to them while they are in your home. Even those that are professional will avoid situations that attract attention from the neighbors or passersby.  Whether you have a dog or not, whether he is big or small is going to make most opportunistic burglars think twice. No one wants to attract a large dog or cause a dog to begin barking. It will wake someone in the home up or attract attention from nosy neighbors who keep an eye on things like that. So if you have a sign advertising a vicious dog, most burglars are going to leave your house alone in favor of easier targets.

Burglar Deterrent Signs – Alarm System Signs

Most opportunistic burglars will bypass a house that is alarmed. Signs indicating that there are alarms tell the burglar that this house is probably alarmed and monitored and most will just  move on to easier pickings. This is driven mainly by the level of fear they have for the police and ending up in jail. For most it does not matter whether the home is alarmed or not. Just make them think it is and it will deter the vast majority of burglars from homes and apartments

Professionals who might have watched your home for a few days may also find out that the signs are just that. Especially viscous dog signs if they never hear a dog barking.

Burglar Deterrent Signs – Monitored Alarm  System Signs

Like the dog situation your opportunistic burglar is not going to take a chance. They know that possibly three things are going to happen which increases the stress level of breaking into your home.

Alarm System Burglar deterrent signsFirst the alarm is going to go off creating a lot of noise. This will warn the folks inside the home if any one is home. Second, if it is a monitored system, there may be cameras that can identify him or her. An armed response will be on the way. Third, some of the neighbors may  be alerted. They may come to investigate or at least take a look.

The professionals know that they have time to get in and out quickly. They will be inside your home for 5 minutes or less so this may not deter them. Most others will simply avoid your house and go into the neighbors. Why take the chance ?

Non Monitored Alarm Systems

The same applies to non monitored alarm systems. The only difference is that your intruder does not know that the system is not monitored. They will just move on. If they break in anyway, they will be gone inside of 5 minutes or less.

Were Should you Place Burglar Deterrent Signs

Many people don’t like to have signs since they feel that it takes away from the look of their home. There are small signs that if strategically placed will act as an excellent deterrent.

Think of the obvious locations were a burglar wouldWindow decals for Alarm systems and Burglar deterrents break into your home. Place small burglar deterrent signs at these locations. Front doors, side doors, windows that are  near the ground and perhaps hidden from site from the neighbors. These small decals should be obvious to anyone attempting a break. While at the same time not taking away from the decor of your home.

Comments and ideas are welcome relative to burglar deterrent signs that you can place on your home. Spam comments are auto deleted.

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