Following these simple steps could save you from a lot of trouble down the road...
Do you know how long it takes burglars to break into your home and take off with your stuff? Ten minutes, yes, TEN MINUTES! So, if you think it’s fine to let your guard down while you just run out to the store, think again. It could cost you your jewelry, electronics and other valuables. Home security expert Elli Bishop warns, “People also tend to think burglaries would never happen in my neighborhood, but according to the FBI, one in every six homes in the US will be burglarized this year.” You certainly don’t want your home to be the “one”. What’s worse is sometimes burglars RETURN after they’ve swiped your stuff, hoping to steal your brand new replacement property.
How can you thwart thieves? Check out Bishop’s five tips on how to avoid break-ins:
1. Social media- Burglars use social media to target homes. Be mindful about what you post on social media and make sure that you're not giving burglars cues as to when you'll be away from the home and for how long. It's vacation season, so pay attention to this one!
2. Invest in an alarm system- Research shows that homes with security systems are three times less likely to be broken into. Also, 90% of convicted burglars said they avoid homes with alarm systems.
3. Get to know your neighbors- They can keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, receive packages when you're on vacation, alert authorities in the event of an emergency, and hold onto a spare key so that you don't have to hide it under the doormat (because thieves are not stupid, they know the usual places where people hide spare keys).
4. Keep your yard maintained- An unkempt yard sends a signal that you are out of town OR that the house is unoccupied.
5. Hold your mail when you go on vacation- If a burglar notices that mail is piling up, they might assume you're not home. Put your mail on hold or have a neighbor grab it.
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Mary Schwager, AKA Galtime's "WatchDog Mary" is a journalist with more than 17 years experience. She's won more than two-dozen local, regional, national and international journalism awards for investigative, consumer, feature reporting and writing including 11 Emmy Awards and 7 Edward R. Murrow Awards and numerous Associated Press honors. You can also follow her on Twitter @WatchDogMary and "like" her on Facebook.