How to Safeguard Your Valuables and Personal Information from Theft

How to Safeguard Your Valuables and Personal Information from TheftIt’s a nightmare scenario: you return home from work or shopping to find that something doesn’t look quite right.  As you pull up to your home, your heart sinks into your gut as you discover that you’ve been the victim of a burglary.

I know the feeling of having one’s own private space violated, because, I, too, was a recent victim myself. Returning to our home after running some personal errands, we witnessed someone dashing out of our living room when he heard us coming. We were fortunate very little was stolen, but we were even more thankful that we were unharmed from the traumatic experience.

The FBI estimates that a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States, with an average financial loss of $2,185. When someone has invaded the sanctity of your private space, rifled through your belongings and stolen valuable information, the loss feels immeasurable.  Alarming statistics may make you feel powerless against break-in and theft, but there are real actions you can take to secure your valuables and personal information.

  • Case Out Your Space: Walk around your home and property, and find as many ways as you can to break in. Have someone you trust join you, as they may see vulnerable spots that you miss.  Look in your windows and take note of valuable possessions that are in view. Inspect the locks on sheds, gates, garage doors and windows. Research suggests that if it takes longer than 4 or 5 minutes to break in to your home, a burglar will give up and choose another target.
  • Nowhere to Hide: Thieves are looking for homes with mature trees and overgrown shrubs that hide them from sight. By trimming back shrubbery near doors and windows and removing limbs near upper windows, your home becomes much tougher to break into. Darkness helps burglars remain hidden. By installing security lights with motion detectors over the doors on your home and garage, you make it tougher for thieves to get in undetected. Remember to mount lights out of reach so they can’t be quickly disabled.
  • Secure the Perimeter: Of the burglaries that occur each year, 30% involved entry through an unlocked door or window. Each time you leave your home, be sure to lock all doors and windows, and close blinds and curtains to conceal valuables from view. You may only be taking a quick trip to the store, but a burglar only needs a few minutes to do irreparable harm. One-third of all burglars enter through the front door. Hollow doors and basic locks are easy to kick in. By installing heavier locks and solid or metal-clad doors, you add an additional obstacle against theft.
  • Protect your Information: Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the United States. When thieves enter your home, they are not only looking for valuable possessions, but for vital financial and personal information. Invest in a locking file cabinet or a home safe to secure hard-to-replace documents like Social Security cards, bank statements, tax documents and passports. Back up computers to an external storage device and lock away electronic storage media. Avoid saving login information on computers and laptops to make it harder to access files. Important financial documents that you don’t need to access regularly can be secured in a bank deposit box.

Making sure your home looks lived-in deters burglars who would rather have an empty target.  Using timers to operate the lights and television can help, but mail and accumulated newspapers are a lure to would-be thieves. Good Neighbor Concierge offers trusted, professional house sitting services that keep your home and property maintained and adds additional peace of mind when you are away. Call or fill out the needs assessment form in the sidebar to find out more about what we can do for you.