Reformed cat burglar, Walter Shaw, is letting us in on a few trade secrets. His article in Bottom Line dispels some common security practices we always thought kept our home safer.
Mistake #1: Getting a Big Dog
"Most big breeds, unless they're trained as guard dogs, aren't barkers. What you want are 'yappers,' small dogs that make a lot of noise."
Jump down for the complete list of home-invasion surprises...
Mistake #2: Posting detailed alarm signs.
By posting a sign stating which alarm you have, you're giving the burglar all the information needed to bypass that specific system. A better move is to post a general warning sign, like this one from Safety Identification Products.
Mistake #3: Leaving lights on.
"A light that stays on all the time is no more of a deterrent than a dark house. Use timers that turn lights on and off in different parts of the house at different intervals."
Mistake #4: Hiding valuables in the bedroom.
"It's the first place burglars look." Shaw recommends storing rarely-used valuables in a safe-deposit box. In the home, be creative with your hiding spots and don't hide everything in one place.
Mistake #5: Installing -- but not using -- alarms.
Even if you're just running out for coffee, set your alarm. Career burglars will stake out your home to learn your habits before ever acting.
Mistake #6: Hiding windows with landscaping.
"Tall bushes and shrubs allow burglars to jimmy windows without being seen. "
Mistake #7: Having newspaper and mail delivery stopped.
"The more activity burglars see, the less likely they are to target your house." While you're away, it's better to ask friends or neighbors to gather your mail.
Mistake #8: Counting on chain locks.
"They're useless...Secure every exterior door with deadbolts."
For more details on any of these myths, click over to the Bottom Line article.