CINCINNATI - A thief is looking for an easy target: A dark house with no lights on that looks deserted, a spare key “hidden” outside the front door, or even better, an unlocked door.
The key to securing your home is making it unappealing to a criminal.
ADT Security expert Ryan Gast spoke to 9 On Your Side reporter Larry Smith about what homeowners can do to better protect their homes.
As criminals become smarter, so should homeowners, Gast said.
“You know the old saying – criminals are always one step ahead?” Gast said. “Everyone’s constantly trying to outmaneuver what you can do to protect your home.”
He advises clients to follow a general rule to always make your home look active, because thieves don’t want a confrontation – they simply want your stuff.
“Most criminals are going to take the path of least resistance,” Gast said, adding the best line of defense actually begins outside the home.
Gast recommends never to hide your spare house key outdoors, a common practice a generation ago. And as simple and basic as it sounds, it’s recommended to always lock your car doors, even in the safest of neighborhoods.
“An open car door leads to easy access to a garage door opener, at which point they have free access to your house,” Gast said. “We’ve had several instances where that’s happened during the night.
“A family comes downstairs to leave for the day, and [they] can’t find their wallet or purse.”
Security experts say one-third of all burglars enter homes through the front door.
Hamilton resident Linda Brunner says her father’s home was busted into via the front door.
“It was just a screen door - just a plain screen door," Brunner said. "And then... just an old colonial door with the nine panes, and they could just bust that first pane out - which they did - and reach in and unlock the door.”
The home invaders took a number of irreplaceable heirlooms as well as her father’s peace of mind.
Brunner has taken steps to protect her father’s home but remembers with yearning the days when you could just leave your door unlocked and feel secure.
But with burglaries in Cincinnati up 15 percent from 2012 to 2011, taking even small steps to protect your home like buying light timers, putting a home security company sign in your yard or windows, or installing a peephole in your front door can encourage a criminal to think twice before trying to get into your home.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.