One of the simplest ways to prevent a break-in is to lock all exterior doors. About 32 percent of all burglaries are committed by people that accessed the home through an unlocked door. In some instances, those doors became unlocked when the burglar discovered the key in its hiding space. These basic mistakes cost homeowners about $2,000 per incident and never need to happen.
Forget Traditional Methods
The British media recently reported that there had been a rise in burglaries in England and the investigation into the increase determined that it was due to the habit of hiding a spare key under the doormat. Burglars were perfectly aware of this habit because they read the same websites and advice columns as homeowners and they used the knowledge to their advantage.
Burglars will look under mats, around door frames, and under plant pots. They know about the fake rocks and the garden gnomes guarding keys. Avoid placing a key anywhere near an entry door because it will be found and used.
Mistakes do matter. The losses experienced during a burglary may not be covered if a key was used to enter the home. Many homeowner and renter policies only cover a loss if the property was taken during a forced entry. This is an overlooked detail that could lead to a lot of frustration for a homeowner that already feels violated.
Avoid Additional Mistakes
Never carry a spare key in a wallet. It is tempting because a wallet is almost always close at hand, but if it is lost or stolen it could become a very serious problem. The thief with the wallet now has the name of the owner, their home address, and a key that will let them into the home easily. Also, avoid putting a home address or name on a keychain for the same reason.
Hire a locksmith if a set of house keys are stolen and have the locks rekeyed to prevent any unwanted access to the home. If the locks are outdated or worn out it will probably be more effective to replace them entirely.
Choose Unique Spots
It is still possible to hide a key, but it does take more effort. Fake sprinkler heads have become a popular option. Unlike a fake rock, they do blend easily into the landscape if there is a sprinkler system installed. A magnetic lock box under a vehicle is another option, but it should only be placed in an extremely challenging area to reach, so it is not obvious or tempting to a thief.
An occupied dog kennel or dog house is a suitable spot for hiding a key if the pet is not the type that would allow a stranger too close to their space. Another option is to leave a key with someone trustworthy in the neighborhood and who is readily available.
Add extra security
More should be done to protect a home regardless of where the key is hidden or who holds a spare. Consider the installation of a security system. Many thieves do not want to risk having their faces on a surveillance camera as they check a door or search for a key. Flashing lights and audible alarms are also a deterrent to anyone that wants to stay unnoticed.
At Lockworks Unlimited we know that even the most careful homeowners sometimes need assistance getting into their home or securing their doors. Contact us when a key is broken or missing, a lock is not working as it should, or a rash of burglaries requires a more secure home. We have the solutions that will help to keep your property and family safe.