With the rise of doorbell cameras, it seems like videos of thieves making off with deliveries were ubiquitous on social media last month. Your clients may be thinking about their own home security and what steps they should take. Use our guide to start the conversation with them or create your own brochure for a friendly coffee or pop by opportunity. Here are some quick tips to help keep your clients safe in 2017:
· Break down your boxes. When you make an expensive purchase or get a delivery, don’t just set the empty box out on the curb for recycling. Break it down as best you can first. You don’t need to advertise that 4H TV you just bought to thieves. If you can’t break it down small enough to fit into the can, at least cut it open, turn it inside out and flatten it so it just looks like large cardboard pieces.
· Surveillance cameras. It seems like camera security systems are everywhere. Some systems can record and others are just live video streams. What you get really depends on what your budget allows. Dummy boxes may be enough to deter criminals, but they’re not going to do anything for you if someone wants to cause mischief. If you do have a problem, having recorded video may help you recover some items, if you’re lucky. Some homeowners may get a discount off their homeowners’ insurance policy with a working surveillance system. Check with your town to see if you have to post a warning that people are being recorded when they visit.
· Keep the exterior well-maintained. Make sure your house looks like people are there on a routine basis. Don’t let peeling paint or piles of leaves let burglars assume you’ve gone on extended holiday. Make sure your yard is kept up, even in the winter. Pick up leaves and fallen branches, mow down or pull those stubborn weeds. If you’ve got dead plants in pots, pull them and either leave the pots empty or put in some nice winter evergreens until the last threat of freeze has passed.
· Get to know the neighbors. It can be hard these days to know the folks next door, but make an effort. Invite them over for coffee, or have a conversation next time you see them getting the mail. Let them know if you plan a trip, or if you’re having guests coming to visit. Make it a habit to let each other know a bit about your routines so you can spot if something looks out of the ordinary.
· Make the most of home automation. There are a few players on the market – Google, Apple, Amazon are the big names right now – whose home automation systems are expected to grow with some magnitude in 2017. Use their lighting, appliance, and sound system capabilities to make the house appear occupied even while you’re away.
· Lock your doors and windows. Really. And fix broken window latches. It’s usually only a matter of a couple of screws. A locked door is sometimes really all it takes when a criminal is looking for an easy in and out opportunity.