Judie Docs, Executive Officer, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA), CSP, MCSP, CGP, CMP, MIRM

Your home is your sanctuary, and there are few things more upsetting than returning home to find a burglar has broken in and taken your treasures. The National Crime Prevention Council states that although crime is still a very serious concern, our homes and communities are safer than they’ve been in decades, and this is quite likely due, at least in part, to prevention and community policing.

Here are some preventative measures you can take to protect your home, property, and family while you’re away from home.

First and foremost, lock up!  Whether it’s a short trip to the grocery store or a longer haul to your favorite vacation spot, make sure your doors and windows are securely locked.

Remember that nothing is more effective at deterring a burglar than the impression that the home is occupied.  Install timers on your lights to make it look like someone is home. If you are planning to be away for a lengthy period of time, entertain the idea of a house sitter.

Store valuables in a secure place. A home safe can be a great option for storing various valuables including jewelry and important home and family-related documents.

Garage doors are a favorite point of entry for burglars. Keep your garage door closed always, and lock the door from your garage into your home. Be certain that tools, ladders and other objects that could be used to break into your home are securely locked up inside the garage or house.

Be sure that your trees and shrubs don’t cover windows and doors.  Hidden entrances can make it easier for burglars to get into your home unnoticed by neighbors and bystanders.

Leave spare keys only with trusted family members or neighbors you are close to.  Do not hide them outside.  Burglars are smart enough to look around and know the common places people hide keys.

Most experts agree that your neighbors are one of your best defenses.  Get to know them and chances are they will be more likely to watch for suspicious activity around your home while you’re away. It’s important to notify neighbors that you trust about your plans to be out of town or even gone during the day at work.  Ask if they mind watching for packages that may be delivered and offer to do the same for them.  There has been a rash of packages stolen the past few years, especially during the holidays.

You may also want to consider a home security system. Check online or look in your phone book to find companies specializing in home security.

Break-ins can be easily avoided by taking the proper precautions.  So be prepared, make wise decisions and relax.

For more information on home protection tactics, contact the NCBIA or visit www.nahb.org/forconsumers <http://www.nahb.org/forconsumers>.

The North Coast Building Industry Association is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of services available to help you in the future.   So, you can see it is for your protection that you use a NCBIA member. If you are unsure that your contractor is a member of the NCBIA or you are looking for a list of NCBIA members, you can visit our NEWLY REMODELED website at www.ncbia.com or call 440-934-1090.   We also have a job posting board (under the About Us tab).   Like us or better yet share us on Facebook!

Homeownership is truly a cornerstone of the American way of life.  North Coast Building Industry – Come Build with Us!