What Makes Your House Vulnerable to a Break-in – see this article to get empowered

I came across this article and thought it was very timely as I was looking at my home security.  I thought you might also be interested in it.  I plan to make some changes based on this information.

A survey on a large group of convicts as to their preferences of homes to target.thief

  1. How did you typically break into a home or apartment?

Most inmates broke in through an unlocked door or window.  Several burglars kicked the door open.

“I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, plus you run the risk of getting cut,” said one inmate.

  1. Once inside, what was the first thing you looked to steal?

Jewelry, electronics, cash and credit cards are all attractive to burglars. Inmates also added collectibles and guns.

“NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal,” wrote one burglar.

  1. Where did you look for hidden valuables?

Most burglars started by searching the master bedroom for valuables, then moved through the rest of the house.

“Everywhere!  From the stove and freezer, to the fish tank and toilet tank, book shelves and in boxes of cereal,” said an inmate.

  1. What time of the day did you prefer to break in?

Burglars prefer breaking in early morning or afternoon.

“Between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Anyone that was home for lunch should be gone by then and most kids should all still be in school,” wrote a convicted burglar.

  1. Did home protection or security signs posted outside the home deter you?

Burglars had mixed opinions about home security signs. Some burglars said it didn’t faze them. Others said they knew how to disable alarms or avoid setting them off.

  1. Did pets in the home, like a dog, make you think twice?

If a homeowner had a big, loud dog most burglars would stay away.  Smaller dogs don’t seem to bother them.

“Dogs are a deal breaker for me,” said one inmate. “Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out.”

  1. Did you typically knock on the front door before breaking into a home?

Yes. All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.

  1. If someone answered the door, what would you do or say?

“Act like I was lost or looking for a friend.”

“I would approach the resident as though they had posted an ad on Craigslist.”

“Say wrong house, sorry and thank you.”

“Ask if they’d seen my dog and leave.”

“Sometimes I would wear nice clothing and print a questionnaire off the Internet and carry a clipboard and see if they could spare a moment for an anonymous survey.”

  1. If a home alarm system went off, what would you do?

Most intruders said they would leave immediately if a security alarm went off.

“I would try and turn it off or get the hell out of there,” said one burglar.

  1. If there was a security camera visible, would it keep you from breaking in?

Generally, burglars agreed security cameras were a deterrent. But some said it also likely signaled there were valuables inside the home.

  1. Did lights on in the home make you think twice?

Responses were mixed regarding lights on in a home. Some said it was a deterrent. But one burglar said the combination of lights on and blinds closed created an attractive location.

“Would drive through upper class neighborhoods looking for many things, like porch light on with all window blinds closed,” wrote one inmate.

  1. If you heard a radio or TV on inside the home, would you still break in?

Most burglars feared someone might be home if they heard a radio or TV. They wouldn’t break in.

“Absolutely not,” wrote a burglar.

  1. Would it make a difference if there was a vehicle in the driveway?

As a homeowner, this is one of the best precautions you can take.  Almost all of the burglars said they’d think twice if there was a car in the driveway.

“Most of the time that is a sure-fire sign of someone being home,” wrote an inmate.

  1. What was your ideal target for a burglary?

Burglars don’t want to be seen. They looked for homes with big fences and overgrown trees or bushes.

“Home away from other homes, blind spots, older window frames, cheap wooden doors,” wrote a burglar.

“Large trees, bushes or shrubs around the home, or very reserved and conservative neighbors,” wrote another inmate.

“Nice home with nice car = A person with money,” another said.

  1. Did you ever do surveillance on your target?

The responses were mixed. Some burglars did surveillance before a burglary, while others did not.

  1. If you did surveillance, what were you trying to figure out?

Of those burglars who did surveillance, most agreed they were looking for the best opportunity to break-in.

“Who lives in the home, what are their weekday schedules (weekends are too unpredictable), what they drive, is there a dog, a hidden key,” wrote one inmate.

“What time the house would be empty and for how long,” wrote another.

  1. What is the one thing homeowners can do to avoid being burglarized?

Burglars suggest homeowners make their property visible with good lighting and trimmed bushes and trees.  You should get to know your neighbors and alert police if you see anything suspicious.

“In my opinion, I think homeowners should always leave a TV or radio on,” said one inmate.

“Get a camera and make it visible!” wrote another.

“Put bars on your windows and doors, get an alarm, keep an extra car in the driveway, keep lights, TVs and radios on when you leave your home,” read one questionnaire.

“Home alarm, know your neighbor so they can report suspicious people around the neighborhood,” said a burglar.

Many of those inmates who responded were remorseful. They don’t want homeowners to be victimized.

“Thank you for giving me the chance to help and give back something that will actually help people,” wrote one inmate.

“I’ll never be able to give back the sense of security I destroyed but I can help prevent others from losing theirs,” said another convicted burglar.

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 – http://www.9news.com/news/investigations/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/344385966  – Kudos to this station for doing this survey.

There are also a lot of ways with the use of technology that you can deter a break-in.  One is get a Ring doorbell or similar.  When someone walks within the target zone you set up, the camera will notify you of the activity so you can see the activity in real time and talk with that person.  When someone rings the door bell you can even converse with them while you are halfway around the world or just inside the door.  Amazing technology.

If you are interested in what other technology is out there for security send me an email.

Seniors are moving less

Seniors have been moving less.

Often the biggest source of retirement funds for seniors is the equity in their homes and reduction in equity was significant in the last few years for many.  I find some seniors are waiting to recoup the money they “lost” (which could be a long time depending on the location of the home). Continue reading

Are you a senior or helping a senior?

Leaves!

Are you a senior or helping a senior?

I have found a great tool to help seniors organize their estates.  It is a simple and none threatening way to let the heirs know where are the records, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, data on retirement accounts and possessions, etc.

I had the pleasure of again running into Jeanne K. Smith of Exit Stage Right.  She gave a very informative talk about what she finds in homes after the passing of a loved one.  I remember when I first heard her over 10 years ago that she was onto something important. Continue reading

Radiologist Talks about Dementia

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I loved the talk.  This Doctor, normally behinds the scenes, came to talk to our senior networking group.

He joked about our pill popping society as he explained the differences between an MRI, CTScan, and a PET.

The point that I came away with was – We all need to do NEW learning to stay alert.

What could I do I wondered? Learn to play a flute; train a cat to be potty trained on my toilet; get into politics (YIKES); or build a gazebo for my spa. I liked his suggestion.

If fact, today on the radio it was mentioned that elderly people should learn a second language. That can help delay any onset of dementia.

I better hop on it before it is too late.

What new learning are you doing to stay young?

Pat Chadwell
www.patchadwell.com

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Senior Needs Being Met

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Last week a group of individuals for Santa Clara County met to network on senior needs. This group was recommended by a fellow thoroughly committed to helping seniors, Skip Frenzel.

I work a lot with seniors so I have been gathering a list of attorneys, care providers, estate organizers on my own.  I want to have good contacts for them in the different fields. Seniors often call well before they need to move to ask questions and ask for a referral to different parties.

Imagine my surprise when there was a room full of senior advocates/business persons. I felt I hit the jackpot. My eyes could not believe my good fortune. My pen was feverously scribbling notes.

When the meeting had completed I had access to three times the resources I had before the meeting. It is so nice to see caring individuals with the desire to help our senior population.  It was good old fashioned social networking.

www.seniorroundtable.com

Pat Chadwell
Broker, Senior Real Estate Specialist
www.patchadwell.com

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Local Hospital Saved My Friend’s Life

Good Samaritan Hospital - return home

I recently needed to take a friend to a local hospital.  I can remember when I had gone to the emergency room in the past and felt like I was just a number.  The staff in the emergency room, the surgeon and his team were terrific.  

I wanted to take pictures of the event but for some reason my friend did not like the way she looked and I could not convince her it was just for documenting the day.  I guess when you have arrive at an emergency room with pain out the roof at 10 you are not inclined to be so generous to your very, very best friend at the moment.  She still did not feel so great after 2 doses of Morphine.  But the staff was patient and accommodating.  Finally another med was used and voila the pain went down some.  The event although it did end in surgery was the best possible scenario.

I was so pleased to see great care.  You can visit their site at http://www.goodsamsj.org

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Tales of a probate sale and a trust sale

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I have a client whose father up and died without a will and no trust in place.  Just to be clear he was in his late 70s. 

1)      Did he do this on purpose (not putting himself in a trust) to see how the heirs fended for themselves?  Was he thinking it would “bring the family together”?

2)      Or was his intelligence such that he was considered a few steers short of a full herd (I’m married to a Texan so I get these expressions all the time) or was he not playing with a full deck (also married to a poker player)?

3)      Or did he fail to predict what he needed to do and do it in a timely fashion namely BEFORE his death (or in some other people’s cases prior to losing the faculty to make the decision)?   Continue reading

We’ve decided to sell our parent’s home – what next?? Part 3

One of the most important elements is finding a real estate professional who understands the needs of the senior population.  There is a designation called a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) who has training with elder needs.  They can guide you to many resources saving lots of time and money especially if the family does not reside in the same area as the parent. Continue reading

Mom is safely situated in a good place now and OH NO – even more questions come up. Part 2

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You now have found a great place for mom to live. She has a home and you find you are trying to figure out what to do now.

You thought the questions would finally end and you could concentrate on yourself and your children. After all we are all trying to get some extra time for ourselves, aren’t we?

First you ask – Will mom recover enough to return home someday?

Then next – Should we rent the home month-to-month or leave the home vacant in case she does return? Our lives are so busy right now and the demand of upkeep of another home seems too overwhelming.  Continue reading