Burglars often steal art, electronic devices and jewelry during a break-in. But most burglaries are crimes of opportunity, so it doesn’t have to be a valuable item; thieves will gladly collect clothes, food and prescription drugs, too.
Most burglaries occur during the summer months’ afternoon hours, according to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics. But thieves also monitor nearby homes during the winter, when many people visit relatives for Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with the spring and fall.
However, a quality home security system — along with simple behavioral and house maintenance adjustments — can deter even the most determined thief.
Here’s an action plan to stay safe and secure in your home.
1. Trim Shrubs and Trees
Shrubs and trees tend to grow and — without regular maintenance — overgrow, partially blocking windows and large portions of your home’s siding.
The result isn’t just unsightly, it’s also a safe haven for burglars who can slip into your yard and hide behind overgrown bushes before attempting a break-in.
Fortunately, there’s an easy, free way to deter would-be thieves: trimming overgrown shrubs and trees. Use pruning shears to remove smaller branches, and a pruning saw or chainsaw for large limbs.
While you’re at it, trim overhead tree branches to achieve a neater backyard that’s unattractive to burglars. You can modify PVC pipes to hold a pair of loppers to trim out-of-reach branches.
These trims won’t just make your home safer — they will improve its curb appeal, too!
2. Install Smart Light Bulbs Outdoors
If you’re rushing out the door in the morning and don’t plan to return before dark, you may forget to turn on the lights outside. But even if you do remember, an outdoor light burning during the day is a surefire sign to burglars that you’re not home.
The solution is Cync’s Outdoor Full Color Direct Connect Smart Bulb. You can connect it to the Cync app and schedule it to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. It’s one less thing to worry about during the morning rush!
This light bulb doesn’t just provide convenience and potentially deter a break-in, it also offers ambiance. You can choose the perfect white tones to highlight your landscape or pick from millions of colors to decorate for every holiday — all in the Cync app.
Cync, the GE-branded line of smart home solutions, offers easy-to-install and easy-to-use smart home products designed for safety and security.
No hubs or bridges are required; all you need is an internet connection, Wi-Fi router and a mobile device to control each device, regardless of your location.
3. Ditch the ‘Hidden’ Spare Key — or Hide It Better
It’s tempting to hide a spare key under a doormat or front-porch flower pot, or in a fake rock near the entry, but think of how often people do that on TV shows and movies.
Remember: Burglars binge-watch the same shows and know the same tricks — and this trick has run its course! After all, if a burglar finds the key, they can conveniently enter your home without the break-in. Same crime, less mess.
If you want to hide a key, place it where no one would expect it — far from the entry. Or leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor. If issues arise while you’re out of town, ask them to enter your home to feed the cat, water the plants, or just check things out.
Many home security alarm systems have guest passcodes, so make sure the neighbor has that magic number for easy access inside and outside your home.
4. Get a Smart Outdoor Plug
Routinely turning holiday lights off or on can be an ordeal if you have to unplug or deactivate them from outside your home.
And if you accidentally leave these lights on during the day, burglars will see a home with little maintenance that has possible security gaps for a break-in.
The Cync Outdoor Smart Plug transforms a standard outdoor outlet into one that you can program and control from anywhere.
This plug — powered by the Cync app or by voice through Alexa or Google — can control two outdoor outlets. Turn them off or on in real time or set a schedule and enjoy hands-free convenience.
Whether you have cafe lights, holiday lights or landscape lights, a smart plug will keep them on when you want them on, and off when you don’t.
5. Lock Everything Up
Burglars are constantly searching for opportunities to enter your home and don’t want to attempt a break-in — and risk cuts and injuries from smashed glass — if they can help it.
One unlocked entry is all it takes for thieves to access your home, so lock everything up before you leave for an extended period.
First, check each window and door to ensure it’s closed and locked. This will prevent easy access to your home.
Next, place any valuable items in the safe, if you have one, and make sure it is also locked.
Finally, close all blinds and drapes, so would-be thieves can’t monitor indoor activity, or lack thereof, from the street.
6. Automate Indoor Lighting
Picture this: You return home after dark, later than expected, with a trunk full of groceries — and the house is pitch black.
You have two options: wrestle with the groceries and turn the lights on while entering the house, or enter the home, turn the lights on and return for the groceries. Either way, it’s an inconvenient, uncomfortable and unsafe situation.
And these days, it’s unnecessary, since smart technology ensures your home is well lit whenever you need it to be.
Cync Full Color Direct Connect Smart Light Bulbs screw into light fixtures just like any other LED bulb, but there’s one big difference: you can pair this bulb with a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The bulb connects directly to the app, so you can turn it off or on by app or voice. That means you’ll never have to return to a dark house again — or disrupt your comfort in bed to turn off a light.
This smart bulb may also deter a break-in during your vacation; just set the lights to turn on during the evening hours and off during morning hours. Burglars won’t know the difference!
Best of all, this bulb doesn’t have just one color; it has millions, so you can set the mood — regardless of the occasion — right in the Cync app.
7. Install Smart Security Cameras
Knowledge is power, and knowing what’s happening inside your home while you’re away provides the information you need to protect your biggest asset.
The Cync Indoor Smart Camera easily connects to the app and allows you to monitor any room, with two-way communication, from your phone.
Access the camera from work, on vacation, or even from another room. You can check on kids and pets and receive alerts based on motion or unwanted guests.
In a worst-case scenario, this camera can capture valuable evidence, such as a burglar’s body or face during a break-in, and it’s packed with privacy features.
A sliding shutter allows you to easily disable the camera and microphone — so it’s on when you want it and off when you don’t!
8. Install Motion Sensors
Motion sensors detect movement and trigger lights and switches based on programmed settings — so they should definitely be a part of your home security plan.
For instance, if someone steps within 10 feet of a carport light, a motion sensor can activate flood lights to reveal their movements.
These sensors also come in handy indoors. The Cync Smart Motion Sensor is ideal for people who get up in the middle of the night, instantly activating night lights after detecting movement.
Want to turn on hall lights as teens come home past curfew? Or activate lamps and overhead lights upon entry? Cync’s motion sensor can do it.
You can place the sensor on a shelf or table or mount it to the wall with brackets included in the box. It pivots and swivels, with wide-angle and whole-room coverage, so no matter where you’re coming from, the sensor knows.
9. Close the Gaps
Finally, close any security gaps that leave your home vulnerable to burglars and break-ins. Solutions range from creating the illusion of indoor activity to controlling information about your absence.
Here are some important checkpoints:
• Connect a radio or TV to the Cync Indoor Smart Plug and set the device to turn on for an hour or more and off each day. This presents the sound of human presence — just in case thieves want to cozy up to your home’s exterior walls and listen for signs of live activity.
• Have a neighbor pick up your newspapers and mail, or call the post office and ask them to stop delivery until you’ve returned to town.
• Maintain information about your vacation on a need-to-know basis. Don’t tell friends and followers on social media that you’ll be away for an extended period; you never know who’s reading the posts — and you never know their intentions.
• Leave outgoing messages as is. Don’t record an outgoing message on your voicemail system or answering machine that indicates you won’t be home. Anyone can call these numbers — and anyone can learn this information.
• Set the alarm system before you leave home. Check all door and window sensors’ battery levels and make sure they have plenty of juice; replace batteries as needed. If you don’t have a home security alarm, consider purchasing a wireless one with stick-on door and window sensors. Many basic kits, including a keypad and alarm, cost less than $200 and are easy to install.
Follow this action plan to keep your home safe and secure from burglaries and break-ins, and click here to learn more about Cync smart home solutions.