Here in Austin, the friendly feeling created in many neighborhoods can cause people to let down their guard. It only takes one or two forgetful moments of not locking the front door to create an opportunity for a watchful criminal to break in and take away hard-won valuables. Here are some of the ways you can wrap safety around your home and worry less.
Start With a Safety Audit: Find Simple Wins
The first step to having a more protected Austin home is to evaluate how you’re doing safety-wise now. Do you lock the house when you leave? Do you keep your windows locked by default? Are you avoiding displaying packaging from high-cost items in your recycling bin? Little things can make a big difference. Ground floor windows that have an easy walk up to them can be a hazard but installing some nice prickly hedges around them can make a nice landscaping choice while also reducing your appeal to criminals.
Evaluate Your Security System Need
While thinking about a security system can be easy if a nearby home experiences a break-in, they really aren’t necessary for every single home. Consider the value of what you need to protect versus the value of the system – are there items that could be better protected with a fireproof safe that is hard to move, for instance? You can make the most of your security system if you are gone often, have high-value, compact items on display in the home, or worry that crime is becoming an increased issue in your neighborhood.
Automate With Lights, Locks, and Cameras
For most of us, however, three additions to a home’s automation systems can be a good choice instead of a security system. This includes at least one automatic floodlight (and potentially automatic timers to turn lights on in the evenings during frequent travels) that brightens up the area when a person approaches. Automatic locks that you can access on your phone can add peace of mind and allow you to admit people who don’t have a key if needed without worrying that they’ll forget to lock the place. Finally, a couple of cameras with an app can be a very affordable way to keep an eye on your home for both natural disaster damage potential and for potential intruders.
Use Social Media and Sharing Wisely
Bragging about trips on social media may seem harmless, but people have discovered that this creates an opportunity for acquaintances to conduct break-ins, so just save your trip photos for a time when you’re actually home. Similarly, let your family and friends know about high-value purchases or time away in a judicious manner, not a broadcast – not everyone needs to know that there’s a very expensive but portable new item in your home.
Create a Neighborhood Watch or Other Support
If your neighborhood has been targetted recently, work with your neighbors to keep an eye on each other’s homes during time away. Criminals don’t like a community where the police are tipped off every time they visit, and while you should make sure you actually know the difference between visitors and potential burglars, knowing each other well can go a long way to make a neighborhood unappealing to would-be criminals.
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