Repetition breeds familiarity, and the more familiar we are with something, the more likely we are to act on autopilot. And when we’re on autopilot, absentmindedness can kick in. But when it comes to preventing burglary, you really can’t be too careful: it’s important to take precautions every time, whether you’re stepping out for a minute or heading out for the day.
You probably already have dozens of safety measures in place: your doors have deadbolts; you display home alarm signs in the yard; your garage door closes automatically. Excellent! Layered security is the key to safety, and implementing every layer is the key to effective security.
While you’re assessing your always-implement safety measures, here are three things you should do, every, single time you leave the house.
1. Arm Your Alarm System
We know, we know – this one’s a gimme, right? Well, sort of. The thing is, after you’ve had your system for awhile, it’s easy to become a little lackadaisical about its usage: Running next door to deliver cookies fresh out of the oven? You don’t need to set your alarm for that! Hitting the backyard garden for a few hours of weeding? Why set the alarm if you’re right there?!
Totally normal behavior, but totally incorrect, too. Your home alarm is only as strong as you make it, and if you don’t arm it, it can’t do its job. Because while you’re at the neighbor’s, you could get into an interesting conversation that lasts an hour. While you’re in the backyard, digging dirt while listening to your favorite album, you have no idea what’s happening in the front yard, let alone in your home. Burglary, especially of an unlocked, unarmed home, can take just minutes. Always, always arm your alarm.
2. Double-check the Locks
The easiest way into your home is through an unlocked window or door. This sounds so obvious, but the reality is it’s all too easy to leave one unlocked, especially during warm spring and early-summer days. Make it a habit to do a rapid lock-check every time you leave the house – it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes – and pay special attention to ground-level windows and doors.
Additionally, at least once a season be sure to check for bigger problems, like rotting wood around windows and doorframes, broken locks, and cracked windowpanes. Also check your basement windows, which can be prone to rot and other problems due to their ground-level location.
3. Make it Look Like Someone’s Home
Study after study show that occupied homes are much less subject to break-ins, so engaging in a bit of preventive security can go a long way. There are many ways to fake someone being home, from light and appliance timers – turn lights on or off at logical times, or flip the TV on during the dinner hour – to simply closing your curtains or blinds, so that a burglar can’t peer in and see if someone’s home. All these actions can be made easier with Hawk’s home automation system so you can simply control your home electronics from your cell phone.