The holidays are the high season for many industries – retailing, travel, gourmet foods and, of course, burglary. All that holiday travel creates a huge pool of potential jobs for industrious robbers, who can spot a plum target from a block away.
Like any business, a gang of thieves strives for efficiency and minimal risk. So, they tend to prey on the low-hanging fruit – houses that are very obviously empty and unguarded. Here are 9 ways – new and old – to make burglars think twice about adding your home to their to-do list.
Leave a (phony) TV playing. The FakeTV device projects light onto a curtain to leave passersby with the impression a TV is on. It costs between $20 and $40 and works on either a timer or light sensor. For a similar effect during the day, consider leaving a radio playing loud enough to be heard on the front porch.
Keep the shades moving. There are several products that allow you to open and close your shades remotely via wireless. Hunter Douglas PowerView, Pella Insynctive, and Lutron Serena are among your choices. This is a serious investment in deterrence at $300 to $500 per window.
Get a dog. And hire a pet sitter for him when you travel. Nothing keeps miscreants moving better than a barking dog.
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Watch the door remotely. The Ring Video Doorbell notifies you via an app on your phone when someone rings your doorbell. You can then talk to the visitor through the app, making it appear you are on the other side of the door. Ring Video starts at around $180.
Hire a house sitter. Then your house won’t be, you know, empty.
Make it sound like home. Noise apps, like Sleep and Noise Sounds, create the audio illusion that life is going full tilt in your house. Install it on your home computer and crank up the speakers. Any thief who puts an ear to a door or window will quickly nix your place from his list.
Leave a light on. Those old-school light timers are in the security hall of fame, and with good reason. But there are also systems that allow you to control the lights wirelessly from afar. These require you to replace the switches on lights you want to control but offer more flexibility than the classic mechanical timers.
Make tracks. If it’s supposed to snow at home while you’re in Boca, arrange for a neighbor kid to shovel your walk and driveway. Or, at least get someone to trudge up and down the front walk so it looks like your home, and just too lazy to shovel.
Fake ‘em out. A bogus security camera with flashing red light can be a deterrent bargain about $10. Place it to be seen. It will create second thoughts.