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Guest Post: 5 Little Known Home Security Tips

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program releases property crime statistics for home burglaries every year. While home burglaries have declined slightly since 2007, crimes have been on the rise in recent years with homeowners suffering an average of $5 million dollars in property losses per year. According to the report, the majority of burglaries are forcible entry (61 percent) but nearly 33 percent are unlawful entries without the use of force.

Most homeowners realize that outdoor lighting, deadlock bolts, and home security systems usually deter burglars. These methods, however, are not the only means of protecting your home. Here are five simple and little-known tips to give your property additional protection from becoming another FBI crime statistic.

#1- Remove your name from your mailbox

A common trick amongst burglars is to read your name advertised on the mailbox, call 411 to obtain your home phone number, and listen for the telephone ringing. If no one answers, this is a clear sign that you are not home and the burglar can break in undetected. If you will be away from home more than two days, have your mail withheld or forwarded. A stuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home. If you have purchased a new HDTV or expensive computer system, don’t leave the boxes lying around your home or on the curb, as these are advertisements that goodies lie inside your home. Crush boxes and deliver them to your recycle center.

#2-Turn down your telephone ringer volume

It goes without saying that turning down your telephone ringer hides your phone activity from criminals as well as nosy neighbors. Additionally, do not advertise your absence: never tape messages to your door, keep your yard mowed, and invest in a programmable timer that will turn lights on and off periodically.

#3- Guard your online activity

In this world of social networking and Internet searches, a criminal can easily look up your personal information on the Internet. A criminal can discover your children’s names and ages as well as any vacation plans, photos of your home and yard, and your marital status simply by checking your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Disassociate your physical identity with your online identity. Don’t advertise your vulnerabilities or your absence, both on the Internet and around your home.

#4-Install dummy surveillance cameras

Home security systems have become more affordable since their initial inception, but these systems are still pricey for many middle-class homeowners. Consider installing fake, or dummy, surveillance cameras around the house. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the appearance of a home security system is enough to give burglars second thoughts. Avoid the cheap imitation plastic boxes, however, because a burglar can tell the difference between a cheap dummy and actual camera. Additionally, place security system stickers on your doors even if you do not have such a system installed. Even the appearance of a security system can be a big deterrent to a burglar.

#5-Do not allow strangers into your home

According to statistics, almost 33 percent of all burglaries are unlawful entries without force, which means that the burglar strolled right into the home without any resistance. Before you hire that cleaning lady or open the door to the repairman, look for an official badge of identification or investigate their background with the town government or company. Nearly all municipalities require that repairmen and contractors obtain a license to practice their profession and must submit that license number to the homeowner before signing a work contract. Never allow a person into your home that you are not expecting, such as a salesman or a utility contractor.

Other methods of entry without force include unlocked doors and inadequate lock systems. Your front door deadbolt may be the next Fort Knox, but if your garage door is unlocked, you’re vulnerable. Purchase a special lock for large garage doors, and install dead bolts for the back door and basement entry doors, as well.

These tips are very simple and take very little effort to implement. Can you think of other simple tasks that you can do to prevent your home from being robbed? Leave a comment and let us know!

About the Author: Allen writes for, a leading online resource for home security systems and information.

8 comments to Guest Post: 5 Little Known Home Security Tips

  • TeaxasScout

    As for #1; I tried that and was left a nasty gram by my rural mail carrier. It said that federal law REQUIRES your name on the box or NO MAIL FOR YOU!


    • I’ve never heard of that one. If it’s federal law there are a TON of people breaking it. :)

      • TeaxasScout

        I looked it up, name is optional.

        From USPS website:

        “Every curbside mailbox must bear the following address information:

        a. A box number, if used, inscribed in contrasting color in neat letters and numerals at least 1 inch high on the side of the box visible to the carrier’s regular approach, or on the door if boxes are grouped.

        b. A house number if street names and house numbers have been assigned by local authorities, and the postmaster authorizes their use as a postal address. If the box is on a different street from the customer’s residence, the street name and house number must be inscribed on the box.

        2.4Owner’s Name

        The mailbox may bear the owner’s name.”

    • irene

      I would ask him to prove the federal law. I’ve never had anything except my address on my mailbox for many years and have never had a problem with my mail carriers. It may well just be easier for the carriers to tell who’s mail to leave there if the name is on it.

  • Fr. Chuck

    M+ While at home how many people leave their door unlocked!
    Ready to use: purchased at Wal-M, a bar that goes under the door handle to the floor. One each for front and back doors.
    Sensor alert: one set up on your front driveway with an indoor alert; the other near the back door. Cost: $14 per set
    In the times of chaos, when strangers comes to your front door: talk throuogh the closed door!! In the same scenario, if you can see a woman with a child, again talk through the door. The tendency is to show compassion, yet….a short distance away someone may be hidden with a rifle. “Be gentle as doves, but wise as serpents.”

    • Even in normal times it couldn’t hurt to be cautious and keep the door closed when answering it. At the very least, use a heavy-duty security bar or other door brace that allows you to crack the door open to answer.

  • It always blows me away when people talk about going on vaction on facebook. Or better yet; when they are posting photos during their stay.

  • The Hammer

    These are good tips for sure. If only people would bother to take their home and personal security more seriously!