Imagine coming home seeing your side door open and some of your stuff on the ground. You wonder what’s happening and think maybe your stupid irresponsible roommate dropped something. But as you look closer the door is smashed and inside the house looks disheveled. Then the sinking feeling of “I’ve been burglarized” sets in. That’s was me.
It was the early 90’s and I had bought my first home at 20 years old. It was a “3 decker” and me and a few friends lived on the first floor and I rented out the rest. It was more of a “frat house” than it was a home. We even gutted a refrigerator and had a keg on tap 24/7/365. Then one night we had a few people over, and they brought a few people we weren’t familiar with.
After an evening of being stupid we headed to bed. Next morning to work. After work reality set in. When I saw what happened, I immediately knew who did it. It was one of the friends of the friend that came to my flat the night before.
Being the “take things in my own hands” 20 years old I was, I went to this person’s house with the police and recovered my stuff. Right after that, I got a home security system.
#1 Secure entrance ways: Burglars often go right through your back or front door. They first ring the bell or knock on the door to see if you’re home, and if you don’t answer they jiggle the doorknob. Lock your doors. Sometimes if the door is locked they will use a crowbar to force it open. Install solid core doors that can’t easily be compromised. Install heavy deadbolts that go deep into the jam with 3-4 inch screws that go into the door’s frame. For sliding glass doors, install an additional wooden dowel preventing the door from being opened from the outside. Make sure your home security alarm has open door sensors.
#2 Windows: When a burglar encounters a locked door they may look for unlocked windows. Lock your windows. As an extra layer of security install a wooden dowel on top of the window to prevent it from being opened. Install window film that prevents the glass from being broken. Install glass break sensors to compliment your home security system.
#3 Lighting: Lighting on the exterior is an effective way to keep the bad guy away. The benefit of additional lighting helps your neighbors to see suspicious activity at night. Include timers on indoor light to give your home that lived in look.
#4 Home Security Systems: Most people install a home alarm after the home is burglarized. Don’t wait to be a victim of crime before you smarten up.
#5 Security cameras: Compliment your alarm with surveillance cameras. I didn’t get cameras until they were affordable. If I had got them years ago, it would have saved a lot of heartache. Today they are inexpensive and easy to install.
Oh, and what happened to the guy who broke into my house? He was arrested and was in and out of jail for the next 15 years. Last time I saw him was when he was on the front page of the Boston Globe because he had cut a woman’s head off.
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover