With the holiday season and early winter months in full swing, empty homes for sale can often be an easy target for break-ins and theft. This goes for homes of vacationers as well. The Ridgecrest Police Department reports an increase of home beak-ins. Some of the forced entries include theft of personal items. Others involve squatters who are looking for shelter from the weather. If you plan to be away for an extended time during the winter chill of Ridgecrest, or you have a vacant home listed for sale, keep these important points in mind to properly secure a home.
          1. Check and double check that lock. Ever swear you locked that door in the morning and returned later to find out it is actually unlocked? Get in the lock-it habit. Double and triple check that doors are secure when leaving. Don’t forget to lock up at night including the roll-up garage door. Some entries have been reported in the middle of the night when owners were asleep!?! Install deadbolts on all exterior doors. Loose locks? Fix them immediately, or better yet, replace them!
          2. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window. Great Beatles song, yeah, yeah, yeah. But also one of the easiest entry points a thief has to your home. Secure windows with an extra screw down frame lock or a wooden pole. Do the same with sliding glass doors. Bathroom windows are especially accessible because it is the one window everyone forgets to close after use. 
          3. Doggie Doors. Another free path to the inside of your home is that often forgotten plastic doggie flap. Depending on the size, one can easily reach up and in and unlock a knob. This is often typical with side-entry garage doors. Think a thief doesn’t know about this one? 
          4. Camera Signs. Some home owners install “Warning: Security Cameras In Use” signs as a deterrent even though there are no cameras in place. Smart idea although an experienced thief  is in the know and can tell if cameras actually exist. But, can they help discourage a break-in? Yes!
          5. Beef Up Security. Rather than signs only, go for the real thing. Alarm systems can run around $50 per month while a camera system with installation can run about $1300. There are numerous camera systems out now whereby you can view your home from your cell phone. 
          6. Police Patrol. The Ridgecrest Police Department offers a service to patrol your home and neighborhood, two to three times a week, while you are away for 30 days. Call them at 760 499-5000 to set it up.
          7. Neighborhood Watch. Get actively involved with those living around you and ask them to be on the lookout. Start a watch group. Place their numbers in your phone favorites. See something or someone suspicious on the block? Call them immediately and call the police. 

Need more info about home safety?  Give me a call, Clint Freeman, at (760) 382-1082 and let's continue the discussion!