Home Safe Home
Moving from a house where you felt safe and secure into a new and unfamiliar location can cause a bit of trepidation in even the most experienced mover.
SmartMove® spoke with personal security expert Robert Siciliano, CEO of ID Theft Security, and private investigator Robin Martinelli, Martinelli Investigations Inc., to get the inside story on keeping your family and possessions safe.
What to Put in Place
An alarm system is usually the first thing people consider when approaching home security. Systems run the gamut from basic noisemakers to complex notification programs, many with sophisticated options and service packages.
“An alarm system activated while you are sleeping will prevent a burglar from getting too far,” says Siciliano. “Newer alarms have cellular options, a safeguard even if your phone lines are cut.”
"But don’t let having an alarm system make you complacent," warns Martinelli. “A system is okay, but you have to take more precautions than that.”
Lighting plays an important role in discouraging crime. “Install huge flood lights all around your house,” says Martinelli. “They deter anyone.”
Indoor and outdoor cameras are helpful, but more for gathering evidence than providing security. “You can install cameras inside and out, but many thieves are professionals. They can be in and out of your home in less than four minutes,” says Martinelli. “But if you get video of the crime, share it with the police. Hopefully the evidence will help catch the thieves.”
Thanks to smartphone and tablet technology, many cable companies are offering home security and automated control systems that can be remotely programmed and operated. Whether you need to check on a new puppy or turn on your lights from afar, it’s never been so easy to keep an eye on things. It might surprise you to learn that these services could be included in your cable communications and entertainment package, so be sure to ask. View this short Home Security video to learn more.
Although installing alarms and cameras is a good idea, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to secure your home. There are smaller ticket items that can enhance security as well.
Install peepholes and talk through the door when you don't recognize someone. “You tell your children not to talk to strangers, so why would you open the door of your home to a total stranger?” says Siciliano.
All locks are not made equal. Call a qualified locksmith, one associated with a well-known lock manufacturer, to take a physical security survey of your home and grounds. “They can help you determine the most efficient way to lock up,” says Siciliano. “Many products on the market can give you a false sense of security.”
Signs are great deterrents. “Post ‘Beware of Dog’ signs, even if you don't have a dog, and put up security signs and stickers, even if you don't have a system,” says Martinelli.
Taking Extra Precautions
Before you buy the home, check out the neighborhood. “Pull the police records for your neighborhood for the last two years,” says Martinelli. "You can find documentation of any crime reported on your street."
Martinelli recommends documenting all your property. “Video record or photograph everything in your home, noting the serial numbers of items, and store the tape or chip in a safe deposit box at the bank.”
Leave a light on around the house. “It is one of the best precautions you can take,” says Martinelli. “Leave on lights, televisions and music. People will assume you are home.” Use timers to rotate which lights are lit, varying the rooms and time of night the lights are on.
And finally, watch what you say. "Most of the time, there is a connection between the invader and the homeowner," says Martinelli. “I have not investigated a theft yet where someone didn't know someone, and that is why the household got robbed,” says Martinelli.
“One simple reason your house is chosen is that someone tipped off the home invader that you have valuables,” says Siciliano. “Or your friends or children or baby sitter might have unintentionally bragged.”
Never use social media to tell anyone that you are going out of town, and be careful of posting vacation photos while you have the whole family away from home. “Only a close contact should know, and ask them not to accidentally tip off someone,” says Martinelli.
Staying Safe When Moving
Moving to a new residence can be a vulnerable time. Your surroundings have completely changed and you’re likely under stress. Post reminders to check that all doors are locked and to leave lights on when going out, even if it’s just to grab a bite to eat. Also, those packing boxes on the curb from a new flat screen TV, sound system or small appliances are a tip-off that you may have moved in some attractive, expensive items. Better to break the boxes down and take them to a recycling center.
You’ll also feel safer if your Internet, TV and phone services are set up, along with your utilities, from day one. It’s easy to do in advance of your move at Smartmove.us, and be sure to ask if your new cable company offers home security services.
Written by home and garden expert, Mary Leigh Howell.