Security & Safety Tips

Let Onyx Protective Services help you take advantage of a few simple proactive security tips that you can easily put into place that will go a long way in helping you and your loved ones be safe, and your property secure.

Automobiles are used to store all kinds of objects when their owners are not around. You should never leave valuables in your vehicle unattended. Below are the top items taken from vehicles.

  1. Smartphones
  2. Personal electronics — tablets, laptops, ipods, GPS
  3. Work Tools
  4. Credit cards and identification
  5. Stereo equipment
  6. Cash and change
  7. Car parts and accessories
  8. Garage door openers
  9. Sunglasses
  10. Keys
According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the majority of home burglaries occur in July and August when many people are on vacation. The I.I.I. says the average dollar amount lost per burglary is over $1,700 and that 9 out of 10 home break-ins could be prevented if homeowners take steps to make their homes less appealing to burglars.

Hire a House or Pet Sitter
In addition to having someone there to take care of your pets and water your plants, a house sitter will also make your home look lived in — a great deterrent to burglars. Plus, a house sitter can take care of most of the other tasks on this list, so hiring a sitter is an easy option!

Stop Deliveries
Piles of newspapers and mail are a dead giveaway that a house is unoccupied. Be sure to call your newspaper and ask them to hold your subscription until you return. The post office can hold your mail for free for 3–30 days.

Have Someone Check In
If you don’t have a house sitter, ask a friend or neighbor to stop by every day or so to make sure everything appears to be in order and pick up fliers, phonebooks, and other unexpected deliveries. They can also take trash out to the road and brings the cans back.

Make the House Look Lived In
Timers are an easy way to make it look like you’re home if the lights go on and off at various times throughout the day. You can even put TVs or radios on timers. Don’t close all your blinds and curtains if you normally keep them open. If something valuable is visible through the windows, move it. Bright exterior lights with timers or motion sensors make your house unappealing to burglars. Make your driveway look like it’s in use by offering to let neighbors or their guests park in your driveway. Leave your air conditioner on a little bit. A silent compressor is a good indicator no one is home, especially if it’s a hot day. If you’ll be away long enough that your lawn will start to look overgrown, hire a landscaping company to mow so the house doesn’t look empty.

Lock the Doors!
This seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget. Did you know 28% of burglaries occur without the perpetrator using force to gain entrance? They simply enter through an unlocked or open door or window. Be sure to double check all windows before you leave and deadbolt all exterior doors. Lock sliding glass doors and put a metal dowel in the track at the bottom of the door. If you have a spare key hidden outside your house (which is not recommended), make sure you bring it inside while you’re away.

Unplug
Unplug all electronics and small appliances that don’t need to stay on while you’re gone. Not only will this save electricity, but it also redoes the risk of fire. Turn off your garage door opener so thieves can’t open it with a universal remote. If you’ll be away for a week or more, turn your hot water heater down and consider turning off the water to sinks, toilets, dishwasher, and the washing machine to avoid possible floods.

Don’t Broadcast Your Plans
In the days of social media and blogging, it’s tempting to announce when you’ll be leaving on a trip, but try to keep the exciting news to yourself until you’ve returned. Don’t check in on remote places on Facebook unless you have your privacy set so only your friends can see it.

Install a Quality Security System
Of course, the best way to deter thieves is with a high quality, professional security system. Houses without security systems are 3 times more likely to be targeted by burglars.

Sources:
“Home Sweet Home: Keeping Your Nest Safe & Secure During Summer Vacation”, insureme.com
“On Vacation? 15 Ways to Secure Your Home” by Stacy Johnson, money.msn.com
“10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation” by Sara Elliott, tlc.howstuffworks.com

Set the home address on your GPS to an address (or fake address) near your home, but not to your actual home address. If someone breaks into your car while you are away from home, you don’t want him or her robbing your home or calling friends in your area to do so. Of course, your address may appear on paperwork in the car as well – but those are less likely than electronics to get swiped during a quick break-in. (Ideally, one should always lock a glove compartment, but doing so can be a pain.) Also, make sure that you have remote wipe capabilities set up for your smartphone – which likely has your home address along with other more sensitive information on it – so that if it is stolen you can erase its contents.