As the old saying goes, there's safety in numbers. When you get to know your neighbours, you create a second line of defence in the protection of your home. A neighbour may be walking the dog or looking out the window and notice something odd happening on your property. If they don't know you, they may simply ignore it, but if you are friends, they are more likely to give you a call or even alert the police if necessary. By no means should you give neighbours information such as your alarm code or the secret place you hide your extra key, but having people looking out for the well-being of your home is certainly an advantage.
If you know you are going to be away for a while, it's important to take steps that make it look as though you haven't vacated the premises. Many burglars are looking for a quick smash-and-grab, and if a home looks like its owners are away, it is more likely to become a target. Enlist the help of friends, family or your neighbours to keep the place looking lived in while you're away. Have someone collect your mail, put the garbage bins out on garbage day and shovel your driveway or mow the lawn, depending on the time of year.
Naturally a burglar doesn't want to be seen. So a dark home can be considered an easy target. Invest in electrical timers that turn your outdoor lights on as soon as night hits. You can also do this for a couple of lights inside to make the place look inhabited if you are someone who gets home late. And for extra protection, consider installing motion-sensor lights for the backyard and sides of your home. This may scare off potential vandals.
Investing in an alarm system is the best way to ensure the police are notified as soon as someone who is unwelcome enters your home. It may be costly, but the peace of mind an alarm system provides might be worth the expense.
The best thing you can do when you move into a new place is to have the locks changed. This may seem like an exteme measure, but you really have no idea how many copies of the keys to your home have been made over the years. By having the locks changed, you ensure that you know exactly who has access to your home. You should also be careful about where you leave your keys. If you do choose to keep a spare one hidden around the house, make sure it is perfectly tucked away and only you know of its location. Keys are a crucial defence for your home, so be careful with them!
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