Last night, I attended a Neighborhood Watch meeting and wanted to share a few good tips they gave.
1. Don't leave your garage door opener in your car; at the very least, keep it out of sight. I've never thought of this before, but your garage door opener is a key to your home! We leave it in full view in our cars usually and never think what a danger it could be for someone to swipe that.
2. Install a simple drop lock (the ones that are on the top of the door post) for an additional layer of protection. Our neighbors down the road had their house broken into by someone breaking the little window next to the front door, then reaching their hand in and opening the door. That simple drop lock would make it harder for someone to do that.
3. Make sure that things run normally if you are gone. Have your neighbors take out your trash and pick up your newspapers. Put your lights on timers. Make sure your outdoor lights are on.
4. Create layers of security. Most car and home break-ins are crimes of opportunity, so make it less inviting to come in. Have multiple locks, keep sticks in window sills, make sure your home is well-lit, have a lock on your gate, etc.
5. Keep an inventory of all your electronics with their serial numbers, and keep that inventory in a secure place at home and somewhere away from home. If something were to get stolen, there is pretty much zero chance of getting it back if you aren't able to give the police a serial number. You can even go a step further and electronically engrave your items with an id number.
6. Don't open the door to anybody unless you are expecting someone. Always respond to callers or people at your door in the plural: We're busy at the moment. We're not interested.
7. Be aware of what information you publish to the world. Facebook (and Blogger!) may seem innocent, but people don't need to know you're going to be gone. Share your news about your great vacation after you get home. (So, my NY posts weren't the safest thing to do, I guess...)
There were other additional tips, too, and overall the whole meeting was very informative and helpful (in spite of some awkward moments here and there, thanks to probing comments about me not working and not having kids). Overall, our area is safe, but this is just one more thing to do to make it an even safer place to live.