Criminal casing front of house for a break and entering crime.

Personal Safety Tips for Home

Personal Safety Tips for Home

Tips, Tricks, and Bad Guy Facts

The majority of home burglaries happen when the homeowner isn't there. They look for the easiest houses. Daytime break ins happen in quiet neighborhoods where everybody is gone to work at the same time. Or you are on vacation. They also happen in urban multiple residential settings because it can be easy to "look" like they belong in a transient neighborhood. Unless it's personal, a home intruder is not interested in meeting the homeowner face to face. They are interested in intrusion and theft. And they want that at the lowest cost of risk and trouble. Your being home is a problem that can lead to a breaking and entering charge becoming assault and more. Bad guys think like that, they will risk certain punishments for certain rewards.

Consider what your house, property and garbage can is saying.

Burglars and thieves look for certain tells on your property to judge the risk.

  • Do you have multiple cars?
  • Do you have a dog or multiple dogs? Are they big dogs?
  • Is there a path of darkness around the house that they can stealth through shadows? (We've purposely created landscaping that is low and simple and completely eliminates any dark passages around our home. There's no sneaking anywhere around our property.)
  • Can they see into your windows to inventory possible valuables? (We keep our blinds closed on the front of our home whenever we leave our home.)
  • Is the neighborhood busy, or quiet?
  • Do you and your family and neighbors come and go on schedules every day?
  • Never put broken down boxes with labels identifying the new property out curbside. You may have a brand new 56" TV. But no one needs to know that.

You can't control schedules, but you can control what your home looks like every time you leave.

  • If you are going to leave a car behind because no one is using it, move the car to a new location.
  • Never leave your garbage can at the end of the driveway after pickup if at all possible. Garbage pickup days and sitting cans tell much about who may not be home.
  • When I leave the house during the day, I will sometimes open the blinds of some of the windows on the second floor. Random.
  • Do the windows afford easy access? Keep them locked. Is there a backdoor hidden away from general view? Motion sensor lighting in dark areas does the trick.

Home security systems are only as effective as the company doing the monitoring of the system. ADT subcontracts their monitoring, for instance. When shopping for home monitoring systems, find out who the monitoring company is before you do anything.

If you use a DIY system, make sure you have power back up as well as connectivity backup. If you lose the internet to a Wi Fi system, you lose monitoring.

And yes, sticking a sign in your yard does make a difference. Again, bad guys are looking for the easiest routes to success. These are not creative geniuses.

Do not be afraid to call in suspicious person reports. Seriously. Here's a little story to clarify how powerful this can be in being a deterrent. Once upon a time there was a guy on a bike riding around our neighborhood. I saw him the first time and didn't think much of it. Every day he rode around on his bike, around and around and around the block and neighborhood. I started to think something of that. One Monday he jumped off his bike at my neighbor's and asked the wife raking leaves if she needed yard work done. He was dressed in T Shirt, shorts and high tops with no socks. She said no.

He asked her, "Is that neighbor over there home?" "When do they get home?" Pointing next door. She answered that she didn't know and cut the conversation short. He turned around and started walking toward me, as I too was raking the yard. It was a gorgeous day. 

I stood up straight, leaned on the rake handle and said, "You do not want to talk to me. You want to walk away now." The neighbor called in a SP Report. Later it was found that this guy was casing houses all around, didn't live in our neighborhood, was just released from prison and living with a girlfriend with no other family. Like I said, criminals are not creative geniuses.

Finally, do yourself a favor and stop the personal posts about where you are and what you are doing right now. Seriously. Posting about being late leaving the airport is excellent information. Privacy settings, public or private posting guarantees nothing. Enough over sharing, enough sleuths and Google Maps does the rest. It's 2022, we have to start acting like it's 2022.

Protecting your home and your companions takes awareness and an awareness of how these bad guys think. They aren't geniuses, but they are thinking. This awareness can be applied to a private home and a large rescue. It's all the same to the bad guy. They just want an easy in and an easy get away. And something in the trunk to show for it.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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