If you have read this blog for any time at all, you know that I walk on the positive side of life. To present a post about robery prevention and protecting your home and belongings DOES have a place in this blog.... to keep everyone as happy as they should be, without those times that send os running to the burglar alarm companies.
This morning, I read the following post and knew that it would be good to remind all that awareness of our surroundings and simple precautions is a good thing. Tiffany Sniezek, a REALTOR in Woodlands, TX is the author, and she gets a note of thanks for allowing me to re-blog this post. I'm sure that she would appreciate your comments so follow the link.
My best to all,
Let's face it, Break-ins can happen in any neighborhood. Criminals are Equal Opportunists! Unfortunately, our neighborhood is no different. No matter where you live and how safe you feel, it is always best to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to protecting your family, your home, your vehicles, and especially these days....your identity!
After a few area break-ins, attempted break-ins, and vehicle break-ins it has many in our community feeling uneasy. I completely understand and felt this way too when I heard of some of the recent events. However, I know as a Real Estate Professional and that I am often asked about the safety of neighborhoods, anything can happen anywhere and it is always best to be aware and take measures to prevent being at risk no matter how safe you think your neighborhood is.
Here are a few steps that you and your family can take to protect your home. There is no guarantee but being vigilant, proactive, and aware will definitely help! Being aware and prepared will help to elivate fear and help you be less at risk.
· Get To Know Your Neighbors! I know this sounds simple but it is important to know the people in your neighborhood. They care about your home and want the best for your neighborhood too!
· Use the Buddy System! Yes, that’s right, just like in school. Choose 1 to 2 neighbors that live closest to you and let them know when you will be away for any period of time. Offer to do the same for them. If you are away, you want to know that your home is okay and the people that live the closest to you will most likely be the 1st to notice something out of the ordinary!
· Let The Local Authorities Know When You Will Be Away! Did you know that here in The Woodlands & Montgomery County you can let the local Sherriff’s office know when you are away and they will patrol your home and neighborhood. In fact, they encourage residents to do this so they can prevent break-ins. If you live in a different neighborhood, call your local police and find out if they offer a similar service. You will be surprised what your community offers, they are there to help.
· Assess Your Homes Security- Having a home security system does have its advantages and they are very affordable these days. They also have wireless options that if power goes out that the alarm will still be triggered. Having it monitored and connected to emergency response teams is important as well for any type of emergency.
· Other Home Security Features- There are other items in your home that are worth assessing to see if they can be more secure. Yes a robber will get into a home if they are bound and determined but taking extra precautions will help prevent this. Check with your local locksmith or authorities for extra tips. I am a fan of Dawson Locks here in The Woodlands. They walked us through many steps that we could take to increase our home safety including:
- Keyed Dead-Bolts. If you have keyed entry deadbolts it is not as easy as breaking the window and flipping the switch.
- Strike Plate- this is a great tip and very inexpensive. Rather than having 2 small screws holding the door in place, it has steel rods that go into the actual door frame. With these in place, kicking a door in much more difficult as they then have to take the entire door frame down, which obviously would not be easy to do.
- LOCK UP! Yes, remember to lock your doors including those from your house to garage as this is an easy access point if they are able to get into your garage.
- Windows- additional window security is available but at the minimum check to make sure your windows are properly locked. You never know if there was one that was accidentally left unlocked.
- Protect Your Belongings- Items that are of value or that have personal information should be kept where they are not easily found. If someone was to break in, would your move valuable possessions or personal information be easily found? A fire proof safe that is kept in a room other than the master or study and is attached to the home so it cannot be removed is one suggestion. Making copies of personal information incase anything ever happens is also a good idea.
- Take Inventory of Your Home- we all think this is a good thing to do and if your home was ever broken into, would you be able to provide a detailed list of everything that was in your home, how much you paid for it, what it would cost to replace it, AND pictures? It is not what you want to think of when you are faced with a burglary, fire, or any damage to your house so be prepared and DO IT NOW! Inventory should include everything inside and out in your home and property. This is also a great opportunity to assess if you are properly insured for you home and belongings.
- Be a” Window Watcher”- If you are often at home,be a “window watchers,” looking out for children and reporting any unusual activities in the neighborhood. It is okay to be a nosy neighbor….some of the time! J
- Talk To Your Children- Talk to your children about safety, designate “SAFE NEIGHBORS” so that if there is an emergency your children know what neighbors are home during the day and have a family plan in place in case there is ever an emergency.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings- If something seems out of the ordinary, pick up the phone. Call your neighbors or the authorities. You will be glad you did if even if there ends up not being a problem.
- Don’t Forget About Your CAR!- Even in your drive way! Whether you are home or away, Car Safety is also something to think of. Remove personal items from your car that are not needed. This includes checks, anything with personal information, items of value and money…even $1 or change. One police officer said that they had a car broken into that only had a few dollars in sight but because the thief thought they might find more, they broke a window and got in. The car owner was left with only a few dollars missing but a $200 invoice to replace the window.
Any steps you do may not guarantee that things in life will not happen but they most definitely will leave you more prepared to deal with any situation that may arise and hopefully allow you and your family to sleep easier at night!
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Brad Rachielles, REALTOR. Helping Inland Empire Buyers and Sellers with their Real Estate needs in the Communities of: Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Claremont, Ontario, Chino, Chino Hills, Pomona and La Verne, CA.
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