I’m sorry I don’t have a more uplifting post to write today, but I felt compelled to write about what happened to us in the hopes that I could maybe help prevent it from happening to someone else.
Last Saturday (on my birthday of all days), someone came into our home and we were burglarized. I have had an incredibly hard week. On the bright side, no one was home and things can be replaced. But, the sense of violation and fear is the most damaging. I can’t get visions of someone going through my night stand and each room of our house out of my head. I have always felt safe in our neighborhood; however this just proves it can happen to anyone. Now we have our house locked down like Fort Knox. Awesome alarm system, new locks, etc., I just wish I would have taken these precautions before it had to happen to us. Hindsight is always 20/20!
Things I Have Learned:
1. LOCK ALL YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS ANYTIME YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE, EVEN IF IT IS JUST TO RUN TO THE PARK OR ACROSS THE STREET TO A NEIGHBOR’S FOR 10 MINUTES. I heard 40% of break-ins are unforced, meaning that opportunist thieves are looking for a house with an easy way in through an unlocked door or window.
2. GET A HOME SECURITY/ALARM SYSTEM. We got an awesome one installed the next day, wish we had done it a long time ago. They are surprisingly affordable. I really liked the sales guy that we bought our system from at Brinks Home Security, will list his info at the bottom of the post. They have plans starting as cheap as $49 install / $29 month. Just having the signs and decals on your windows alone are a HUGE deterrent for a criminal. They are more likely to pass over your house if they see your house has an alarm. Most homeowners insurance will offer you a discount with proof that you installed the security system, so it makes it even more affordable. Not to mention the time and money and heartache it will save you if it prevents a burglary.
3. HARDEN THE PERIMETER OF YOUR HOUSE. Make it as difficult as you can for a thief to get in. Put a padlock on your gate to the backyard, buy window locks, make sure you have good quality door locks and all your windows are secure. Install motion lighting for night time. Cut back shrubs to eliminate hiding areas behind bushes or plants where people can hide while trying to get in.
4. HIDE YOUR VALUABLES OR PUT THEM IN A RANDOM PLACE. The things most likely to to be taken are things that the thief can carry out easily and sell quickly for cash. Small things like laptops, jewelry, cash, wallets, video cameras, cameras, other electronics, prescription medication, etc. are easy targets. Walk through your house like you were a 15-minute criminal. Which items would be exposed or easy to find? Hide those things or keep them in random places. DO NOT keep valuable jewelry in your jewelry box. DO NOT keep your video camera in an obvious location like under your TV with your other electronics. How easy would it be to stash it in a box in the garage labeled “Gardening”? Or, hollow out a big book (make a hole in the middle with a razor) and hide your jewelry or cash inside. I read that the kitchen is the least likely area to be hit, and a good place to hide things. However, the thief did go through our kitchen cabinets. Albeit, not terribly thoroughly. Do not keep valuables out where people could look in a window and see them.
5. WRITE DOWN YOUR SERIAL NUMBERS. On all electronics…cameras, video cameras, laptops, etc. they come with a serial number. Write down all your serial numbers and store them in a safe place. The police will ask for these, as it makes them more likely to be identified if recovered.
6. BACK UP YOUR PICTURES AND VIDEO. My pictures and video of my daughter are just about the most valuable things to me in my house. Back up your pictures so that if God forbid, your computer was stolen, you have a copy of all your photos. Same with the video.
There are a ton of websites to give you more tips, just Google “ways to protect your home from burglary.” I heard from the police and the security consultants, that in bad economic times, home burglaries go way up because people are desperate. Unfortunately we are living in one of those times, so now is the time to protect yourself.
We loved this guy from Brinks, he was awesome. He will come to your house and do a free consultation so you can walk your home together and he will make recommendations on what kind of system would work best for you. He was NOT pushy, and very knowledgeable.
If you end up getting one from Brinks, and you tell them you got Brinks’ info on Tiny Oranges, we will get $50 off our bill for their referral program.
Brinks Home Security
Sean Skidmore – Security Sales Consultant
I promise a more uplifting post tomorrow! Thanks for reading! Since it is a short week, I will be posting another giveaway this Monday. In the meantime, congratulations to last week’s winner!