Back to school season is a time of transition for all families who have school children. But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle it is important to remember that burglars and other bad guys also keep track of back to school time. For them the strict adherence to a family schedule and routine can offer a better opportunity to strike a house, for example, when they know that nobody will be home and the premises are vulnerable.
• With kids back in school and parents also working homes are usually left vacant for most of the day, whereas during the summer months when school is out of session the house is often a beehive of neighborhood activity.
• Schedules during the summer also tend to be less rigid and more unpredictable, but school hours are standardized. Everyone knows what time the local school bell rings in the morning, and they also know what time the school buses hit the street in the afternoon to bring kids home.
• There are also many scheduled and published extracurricular events like soccer and cheerleading practices that contribute to the predicable routine that families with school children follow this time of year.
• The way to ensure that this situation does not create an unwanted opportunity for thieves to exploit you and your property is to be aware of the fact that any routine is easy to monitor, and leaving your home empty for a long period of time makes it more vulnerable.
If you know you are going to be at the beach for a week there are certain steps you probably take to beef up security. You might, for example, have a watchful and friendly neighbor keep an eye on things for you, and you might set a timer to turn lights off and on inside the home to give the property the appearance of being occupied. Sometimes you’ll have a friend park a car in the driveway so it looks like somebody is home. You probably notify the post office and the newspaper subscription service and have them suspend deliveries while you’re gone so that those conspicuous items don’t pile up on the front doorstep and leave a telltale sign that nobody has been home for days. By considering some of those vacation strategies – including many that are probably still fresh in your mind coming off of the summer holiday season – you will begin to see effective ways to also create the impression that people are home during hours when school is in session.
• Instead of being gone for six or eight days you may only be leaving the house for six or eight hours, of course, so you will only need to use “mini” versions of those same kinds of strategies and tricks.
• You obviously do not want to disrupt mail, newspaper, and package delivery, for example, but if you have a retired neighbor or a friend who works from home and lives down the street you could ask them to pick up those things while they are on their midday stroll. They can put them in a less visible location, and that will make it seem like someone was home to accept delivery.
• If someone is monitoring the home and thinking of breaking into it they will most likely go away and look for a much easier target once they notice that a neighbor comes by occasionally to check on things.
• Similarly, you can use the same light timer gadgets that you deployed while you were out of town during the summer to create the illusion of domestic activity inside the house while everyone is actually gone.
• Have it turn on and off the TV, for instance, or activate your CD player or radio. Nothing indicates that somebody is at home like the sound of music or a television program playing at random times during the day.
• Of course it may be a lot simpler to just have an affordable burglar alarm system installed, and if that system is monitored by a security service then you gain an additional layer of protection.
• Don’t hesitate to advertise it to the bad guys, either. Many security company decals or yard signs are very discreet so they don’t detract from the aesthetic appeal of your home. But they are prominent enough that they get noticed by professional criminals who always pay close attention to those kinds of tip-offs and clues.
Remember that the first objective of any burglar is to stay out of jail. Everything else is secondary. So really all you need to do to succeed at improving your home security is to take simple and easy steps like those outlined above to make your home a less attractive target.