Criminals, especially thieves, want to get in and out as quickly and quietly as possible. They select targets by observing the home and looking for telltale signs that the occupants have let their guard down. They know what to look for, right?

We share the top 10 security flaws most people overlook or take for granted. These are surefire indicators for criminals to say, “Come in, the house is yours.”

#1 – Lack of proper lighting. A sure sign that someone is not home is a light that is on 24/7 or not at all. Be sure to use timers for indoor and outdoor lights that cycle on and off. This not only makes it look like someone is home, but lights come on when they get home, giving you even more notification if something is out of place. Please let the

#2 – A useful tool placed in the garden. Anyone can get tired after working in the garden all day, but anything you leave lying around could actually be used to access your home. Think ladders to access yard tools.

#3 – Have you locked the windows? I think closing the windows is enough to deter thieves. In reality, they try to see if they open.Also lock the windows when you close them. The same applies to your doors, especially sliding glass doors. Make sure the security bolts are installed on the sliding glass door.

#4 – Spare key. How many of you still have a spare key hidden under your back door mat, in your favorite rock next to the doorway, or on top of the door casing? Thieves look for these things. Never leave a spare key in the yard for someone to find it. Give them to a trusted neighbor or friend who can check things.

#5 – Landscaping. Look at hedges, trees, and bushes to determine if someone can hide behind or in them. If yes, it’s time to bring along your pruning shears and clean up. If you plant bushes next to your house, make sure they have thorns or are uncomfortable for someone to hide. You want your doors and windows to be visible and your landscaping to not block your view. Remember, if you can’t see your windows or doors due to landscaping, you can’t see criminals breaking into your home.

#6 – Privacy Fence. A privacy fence is beautiful, but it also prevents someone from breaking into your home. Be careful when choosing fencing. If you want privacy fencing, make sure it has motion detectors and alarms on the back.

#7 – Empty box. Nothing says ‘ROB ME’ like throwing out empty appliances and TV boxes. Take these apart and fold them inside out so you can’t easily identify what you just purchased.

#8 – The name of the mailbox. There is no reason to put personally identifiable information on your mailbox, home or welcome mat. All of these make it easier for criminals to obtain detailed information about you. It’s also easier to trick you by pretending to be a utility, maintenance or delivery person just because they already know your name.

#9 – Delivery. There is nothing better than reading the newspaper in the garden for three days and a mailbox full of mail to say, “Come in, no one is home.” Stop the delivery while you’re out, or ask a neighbor or friend to pick it up for you.

#10 – Peephole. Like Pavlov, we had to open the door when we heard a knock or ring. But do you really need it? Do you want to see who’s over there? Do you have a peephole? Unlocked or poorly secured doors are the main entry point for burglars into your home. This includes the door from the garage to the house. Make sure you use a deadbolt that prevents the door from being kicked.

The best test to see if someone can break into your home is to walk around and break into your own home. If you can think of it, trust us when we say thieves definitely do too. Please take a lesson.

For safety tips, please visit our Safety Tips page.

Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO and founder of the Women’s Self-Defense Institute and has taught women’s self-defense programs for over 20 years. She is a tireless advocate for independence and responsibility and encourages women to actively save lives through awareness and education.

Angie holds the following certifications:

  • Kempo 3rd Dan Black Belt Certified Instructor
  • Combat Hapkido Black Belt First Class & Certified Instructor
  • Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Certified Instructor
  • Certified Instructor in International Police Defense Tactics
  • Certified Workplace Violence Prevention Specialist
  • Certified child-safe network agent
  • Certified women-safe network agent
  • professional speaker
  • Published Author –
  • – “Practical self-defense and safety tips for today’s busy women”
  • – “5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Reiki Master” Reiki Master

    Angie founded the Women’s Self Defense Institute to share safety and survival information, resources, products, training and advice with women at home and abroad dealing with a dangerous world. Angie brings humor and real-world examples to her training to empower a woman to leverage her strengths and become her best self-defense advocate.

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