Monday, December 4

Home Security Tips?

I'm all for home tips on safety and security. Home should be safe. Once the door is closed and the lights are on, there shouldn't be a feeling of wanting to have your pistol by your side while eating dinner and helping the kids with home work. Selling burglary safes and other security items, as well as helping clients find what they need at a good price is therefore a rather cool job as far as I'm concerned.

Then you read something like this, which to me was so blatantly funny I had to post a comment on it, after all, that's what weblogs are for right.

The article was posted on the Myrtle Beach news web site. Not sure if it was posted in their newspaper or not. Sure hope it wasn't, or that the editor has a large bottle of aspirin. Like I said, I'm all for helpful tips, and seek them out when ever I can, but these... well...let's just go through them

Deter thieves during holidays

One quarter of all home burglaries occur during the winter months, when homeowners are away for the holidays, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Aren't the "Winter Months" one quarter of the year? I wonder if the writer even bothered to call the FBI on this one. What we seem to be saying here is there are just as many burglaries during this quarter of the year as any other.

The S.C. Insurance News Service offered these tips to keep your home safe from burglars during the holidays:

Keep your home well-lit. Mount exterior lights and put indoor lights on a timer.

Okay, this one isn't bad. The timer of course is for when you are gone on holiday. Nothing worse than sitting in the den cleaning a shotgun when all the lights suddenly go out. I've never seen a real report on just how effective this is, but it sounds like a good idea.

Keep doors and windows locked. Deadbolt exterior doors.

Install a burglar alarm.

Nothing wrong with those two.

Keep shrubbery trimmed so thieves can't hide behind it.

The whole idea of a hedge and shrubbery is to "hide" things, or create foliage walls. So I'm not sure this is very practical advice. There are two types of security advice, those that sound logical, and those that are able to be accomplished in the real-world. Sure, we can ground down all the vegetation in the yard and build a bunker. That'll work. But that isn't real world. I don't want to live in a bunker, I want to live in a house. There are other things we can do with our shrubbery areas. Take some time, look at your house like a thief would and find some answers for your home which will deter the burglar, but keep the home.

Lock up important documents or store them in a location outside the home, such as a relative's home.

This is because your house isn't safe, but mom's is, right? I keep hearing this and I keep thinking the same thing -- that this advice is always given by insurance companies who I figure are trying to put the problem somewhere else. I have no backing for that, and it is pretty silly to think they spent time coming up with that reason, but not as silly as the advice.

Get a good safe, with a burglary rating, which also has a fire rating for your documents. A floor safe if you can, a good solid box safe if you can't. Back-up copies of your documents in a safe-deposit box is a good thing, but a relatives house? ... please...

Don't leave gifts under the tree, and store valuables out of sight.

Okay, now we are after Christmas. This is simply silly advice. You know that no one who has kids is going to follow this one. We might suggest that the presents/tree is not viewable from the outside, but that's not happening either in most homes.

Don't allow mail or newspapers to pile up. Have them stopped or picked up by a neighbor.

This is good. Why advertise that you aren't home?

Leaves blinds and curtains open in their usual position to make it appear you're home.

This one is sort of strange really. They might be right. But my thought is the risk factor vs. the payoff. If I'm going to break into a home, I would want to know that something is in there worth stealing. But I'm not a thief, so maybe they just go for what ever looks good. Seems to me that most blinds and windows are closed during the winter months anyway.

Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property.

Don't broadcast your absence in a voice mail or e-mail.

Just going to skip these two.

Don't put your home address on luggage.

Ever try checking in a bag that didn't have this information? I get mine handed back to me, and they check my id with the tag as well. The Home Security program is rapidly changing all the time, because they don't know what they want to do either, but again, this one is pretty silly. I can't see many burglars sitting around airports these days going through the baggage. Not the place I would want to be.

Many people feel they don't need a safe, because they don't have anything really worth stealing that will fit into one. A friend of mine has some medication he has to take every day. Its fairly important to his continuing to live in this world. If a burglar got into his home, one of the items high on the list of re-sell are pills. From what I hear from police (real police, not the ones that say 1/4 of the burglaries happen during 1/4 of the year), burglars don't spend time checking labels. They get in, and they get out.

Security ratings are based on hassle factor. How much time does it take to open, break-into or gain access to an item being secured by a system? Time ratings are the key, because anything that slows the thief down is a good deterrent.

A simple wall safe will slow a thief down. It will take tools, and make noise to get into, and they aren't easy to hammer or cut through. Using one with a electronic or biometric lock, makes medication and jewelry storage accessible, and much safer than they are sitting on the counter.

Experts in security don't look at security problems as "how do I stop them," they ask, "how do I slow them down.." and they look at various points of entry, and exits. Having doors that automatically lock on closing, going at the garage entrance for example is a good idea. This slows the burglar down going both ways, and it may do it more than one time.

Cameras, placed in the garage, and over the outside doors are good as well. Doesn't matter if they are working or not. Its a deterrent. It advertises that you have given thought to security.

If you own a gun collection of any size, then a gun safe is a must. You know it, and so do I. I don't care if you get it from me or not, but get one. A thief coming through your door is going to leave those presents and bee-line straight for your collection.

Give some thought to security, but do it in a way that keeps your house livable. Have fun this Christmas, safe travels and warm hearths.


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