Houston homeowner Bruce Watkins thought his home was safe and secure. That is, until burglars broke in not just once or twice, but three times in three months. Each time, there was not a peep from the alarm system, writes Jeremy Rogalski for KHOU Houston news.
Almost 30 out of every 1,000 households in 2011 were burglarized, estimates The Bureau of Justice. That’s more than three million home break-ins in the U.S. Installing a home security system doesn’t mean you can let your guard down.
Don’t Give Burglars Your Information
Many career burglars do their research before breaking into a home. They’ll get your name from your mailbox, then match it and your address with a phone book to get your phone number. They can then call your home to check if you are there. To thwart this practice, take your name off of your mailbox, and use a locking box so a burglar can’t check your mail for your name.
If you have a security system and have posted the company’s signs, thieves appreciate knowing what system you have. They will be experienced with many systems, and know how to deactivate them long enough to break into your house. Use a generic sign rather than one with the company’s name on it.
Burglars use Ladders, Too
People assume a burglar will only consider breaking into a home at the ground level. This may be true of amateurs, but the experienced burglar is prepared. They may drive a van that looks like a repairman’s vehicle, complete with a ladder on the top. People leave second floor windows open and may not even install sensors on them. Some burglars prefer this way to break into a home. The second floor is often full of bedrooms, where most people keep some of their most valuable items.
Install locks and sensors on all second floor windows. Never leave a window open. Plan your landscaping so there aren’t trees or shrubs that could hide a burglar’s activities. Make it more difficult to place a ladder below those second floor windows.
They Also Carry a Toolbox
A simple pair of wire clippers is a burglar’s favorite tool. Many will know which wires to clip to disable your security system and where the wires are normally installed. If they cut your phone line, your system no longer communicates with the monitoring company. If they cut the power line, your system is completely shut down.
Make sure the installation includes hidden power boxes to your security system. Consider a cellular-based system instead of one that uses a land-line phone. Double-check the technology used in the cellular system. Security companies have used the 2G network as their communication standard. This is slowly being phased out by cellular providers. Make sure your cellular system is based on 3G or 4G technology. Check into systems like Vivint, Xfinity, Monitronics and CPI at www.SecurityCompanies.com for cutting edge security gadgets and protection.
Burglars Are Computer-Savvy
New home security systems utilize your home network to communicate with all of the components. Some systems are still working out their own security issues. Sitting in a van outside of your house, a thief with a laptop could break into your home network and take control of your security system.
Check that the protocol your home security system uses to connect to all of the sensors uses data encryption. Systems using the X10 protocol can be tapped into through the power lines. When companies discover these security lapses, they issue improvements to their equipment. Until all homeowners replace their systems for the new ones, they may be vulnerable to break-ins.
Stay connected with your security company, and be aware when they have upgrades. Make these as soon as you can to your own home system so you stay protected.
Flickr photo: Eastlake Times
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