What burglars don’t want you to know

by President, Board of REALTORS

Successful burglars have lots in common–home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.

You come home to an open front door, a ransacked house, and missing valuables. How did a burglar know you’d be gone? How did they get in?

1. Never leave a ladder nearby

Ladders can be used to access second story windows, not connected to a security system. Store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.

2. Big ticket items in the trash

Burglars love driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. And therefore, easy to grab that new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home.

Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.

3. Keep outside tidy

Untrimmed trees and shrubs around your home, offers burglars a place to hide.

Trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street. Install motion-sensor lighting. Burglars are scared of bright lights!

4. Su casa es mi casa!

Install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.

5. The telltale grass

Uncut lawns, newspapers piling up on the front steps, and closed shades are dead giveaways that no one is home.

Hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). Lock any car you leave in the driveway, so a burglar can’t use your garage door opener to get in quickly.

6. Getting carried away

Never put valuables in an easy-to-carry safe that can be carried right out your back door. Invest in a wall safe. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.

7. Dear BFF

Skip the vacation announcements on social media networks.

Posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine–but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!

8. Tag, you’re it!

Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, a burglar could know you’re not home. Web sites such as www.pleaserobme.com help burglars keep track of your whereabouts.

Be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, burglars thank you for the loot!

9. The appointment

Be careful who you let into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell.

Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. A burglar won’t show.

And remember, when it’s time to buy or sell a home, contact a REALTOR professional, a member of the ___________________ Board of REALTORS.