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The Daily Ardmoreite
Burglars Beware
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By Sonya McDaniel
April 26, 2013 12:01 a.m.

When it comes to a home, most homeowners want their place to feel warm, welcoming and inviting. But when it comes to burglars, they want to roll up the welcome mat and turn off the porch light.
 
There are several things, some which are very low cost or even free, that homeowners can do to help protect their homes from burglars.
 
If you think an elaborate alarm system is the answer, but too expensive for your budget, you may be wrong.  There are several no cost things home owners can do to keep their homes safe.
 
To start with, be careful what you put in the trash. What you consider to be garbage can turn out to be quite valuable to a thief. If you just purchased a big ticket item such as a new computer or big screen television, do not set the empty boxes on the curb for the sanitation department to pick up. This is simply an advertisement to anyone who drives by that you have high-dollar items in your home. Instead, break down the boxes and take them to your local recycling center, or try to fit them inside your garbage container.
 
Also be very careful of important papers you may discard.  Investing in a small paper shredder can help protect your money and identity.  All statements, and even credit card offers should be shredded. 
 
Burglars can steal billing statements and use this information to open new accounts in your name. By the time you realize what’s going on, thieves can rack up thousands of dollars’ worth of charges in your name. 
 
If you are going on a trip, make arrangements for a neighbor to pick up your mail or newspapers.  If you are going to be gone for an extended time during the summer, make sure someone mows the yard. Another idea is to put indoor lights on timers.
 
Some homeowners like the look of hedges or bushes lining the sidewalk right up to the front door. Unfortunately, so do criminals. This type of vegetation provides a great hiding place. Keep hedges trimmed well enough so no one can hide right in your yard.
 
Always take your tools inside once the homeowner has finished with a project.
 
Don’t leave your ladder outside after cleaning the gutters. This gives would-be robbers easy access to an open upstairs window.  And although it shouldn’t have to be said, lock all your doors and windows anytime you leave home. Criminals drive through neighborhoods looking for open windows.
 
Although it may come in handy for those times you get locked out of your home, it is not a good idea to hide a spare key. If you are afraid of getting locked out, leave a key with a trusted neighbor, co-worker or friend who can be contacted quickly.
 
As the weather warms up don’t let your guard down on protecting your home.

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