5 Things to Remember to Avoid Being Burgled During Your Move
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an American home is burglarized about every 15 seconds, resulting in an average loss of nearly $2,000 in stolen goods or property damage.
Burglary is one of the easiest crimes to prevent, but most of us don’t really think about taking extra measures during a move. Yet, the process of moving house can put you at an even higher risk for several reasons.
— You pretty much can’t help but signal “lots of stuff being moved here.” For someone looking for an opportunity to make your stuff their stuff that is an attention getter.
— Moving may also mean your stuff being more exposed to prying eyes than usual. Valuables that are usually stored away get set out while being packed and unpacked, and doors get left open more than usual.
— Your routine changes at your old house, and you don’t yet have a routine at the new house. You’re in and out more than usual, we’ve never moved house without extra runs to the hardware and the grocery, plus, you’re unfamiliar with the doors, windows, and security systems at your new home.
— If you’re moving across town your stuff may be at one location while you’re sleeping at the other location, that’s a prime opportunity for a burglar. If you’re moving across country you may not be able to stay in your new house immediately and some of your stuff is in the house while you’re camping out in a hotel.
— You’re tired. Maybe you have figured out how to move without tapping out your energy reserves, but for most of us moving house is one of the seven major stressors. And when you’re tired and your routine is disrupted you’re likely to drop your defenses.
Here are a few expert tips to keep you from falling prey to a theft (which we’re sure you would agree is another major stressor.)
Think Like a Thief
Walk around outside both your old home and your new one and ask yourself, “If I were casing this joint what would I look for, where would I hide myself, what doors and windows would I try first, what would I be able to see from the sidewalk or the backyard?”
You might be surprised at how often your garage door is left open and how easy it would be for someone to hide behind boxes that are now stacked there while you “secure” the house for the night.
You might notice that the butterfly bush that is so pretty is also a perfect camouflage for someone who is jimmying the spare bedroom window open. If they can’t be seen by someone driving by, or by your ever-watchful neighbor they can take their own sweet time about getting that window open and no one the wiser.
You might realize how often you come and go “for just a few minutes” without setting your alarm system (if you have one) or even locking the door.
Don’t Show and Tell
Pack and unpack valuables in a room without easy sightlines from the street, or even the yard. If things will sit out until you get them safely in a box, or until you put them in their place in the new home, make sure they can’t be seen.
Keep the garage door closed when practical and close the drapes or blinds. Do this especially when you’re home, as anyone who is watching your habits will surely notice if you only do that when you’re ready to sleep or when you’re not at home.
Make the Most of Technology to be in Two Places at Once
Everyone knows the advantages of having timers on things like lights, radios, or televisions to have them turn on and off. But a potential burglar keeping an eye on your home might be able to figure out that they’re going on and off on a schedule, meaning they are programmed and not “live.”
Even more effective would be a “smart outlet” that you can turn on and off from your smartphone. Even if you’re in another state, or another country. The really cool thing about these gadgets is that you can use them to remotely start things like coffee pots, helpful for when you have to get up early after packing or unpacking until the wee hours.
Do a Security Audit on Your New Home
You’ve been over your new home from the shingles to the foundation, but have you listed out the security measures you need to put in place? Check the windows and doors for gaps that would easy to wedge open. Do the locks work smoothly? Are they adequate? Ideally doors will be solid core or metal with good quality deadbolt locks. The “bolt” part of the lock should be at least one inch long, any shorter and it makes it all too easy for a burglar to wedge the door from the frame enough to free the bolt. Pass-through doors between the garage and the inside of the house should have the same security measures.
It’s probably worth it to add an invisible security film to any glass in the door so that it isn’t possible to break the glass and reach through to unlock the door or simply climb through the window.
Of course installing a home security system is a good idea, but make sure you have secured your password and set up protocols for activation and responding to alarms.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
The best deterrent is probably still your friends in the neighborhood. And you want to get to know your new neighbors anyway, don’t you? Introduce yourself, ask how you can help keep an eye out for them, and they’ll most likely be happy to keep an eye on your home, especially during your move in period. Once you learn what kind of activity is normal on your street you’ll feel a lot safer, and a lot more at home.
Even better than thinking about this list when you’re moving is putting these measures and habits in place before you move. And if you’re still shopping for your next home, let our team of loan officers help make sure you’re ready to close fast. We’re not known as the “home of the eight day close” for nothing!” You can start the process in just a few minutes here.
Photo: Flickr/Gary & Anna Sattler