Tips to consider after a recent Shelter Island break-in.
Updated: May 13
Lately we have been fielding phone calls from concerned Shelter Island residents about a recent break-in that occurred in the Silver Beach neighborhood. Naturally, it was disturbing for the homeowners and fortunately no one was hurt. But the feeling of being violated does not go away that easily. And while Shelter Island is an extremely safe place to live, work or visit, that does not mean you should drop your guard entirely.
Nearly every day we hear the same phrases from East End homeowners, as if it is a badge of honor: "I never even lock the doors" or "I don't even know where the key is." And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a burglary or break-in occurs, and we are all shocked. It makes us wonder if one can even define it as a "break-in" if the home was not locked in the first place.
Consider the following tips that can make a big difference to your personal security. We always overlook the obvious so take these suggestions seriously.
When you leave your home, LOCK YOUR DOORS. Even for short trips or errands. Honestly, it's not impressive to anyone that you don't do this.
Do NOT leave your key under the doormat or in a cheap, plastic, fake rock that is easily found. If you must leave a key on site, put it in a combination lockbox and mount it securely (yes we sell them).
Speaking of combinations, do NOT use 1234 or 1111 or any sequence of numbers like that on your key lockbox, garage door code or security system. And please do NOT use your house number as a code. Try to be a little less obvious.
Get to know your neighbors and consider meeting every so often to be sure everyone is on the lookout for suspicious activity. Create a phone chain.
Maintain your yard so the home looks occupied, especially important if you are a second homeowner. In winter, keep the driveway plowed. Be sure newspapers, flyers and other mail do not accumulate.
Lock your cars in your driveway (we have written about this before).
Call us for a refresher class on how to use your existing alarm system. Don't be embarrassed - we get this call a lot.
Consider updating your alarm system with new features such as:
Remote access over your cell phone (you can even use Bluetooth to disarm your system when you arrive).
Separate alarm codes for guests, caretakers, and cleaning services.
Exterior cameras and video doorbells that allow you to view activity and manage your property when you're not there.
Lighting automation so you can adjust lights even when you are away.
Automated, coded door locks. You can even add and delete codes remotely.
One last important tip - if you see something suspicious or have a concern then call the police department. They are professionals that will take your call seriously. Often, they will set up additional patrols of your neighborhood. We have seen this make a difference and we know of several instances where suspects have been apprehended.
While this is not a complete list of tips, you will notice that nearly all of these have no, or little cost associated with getting them done.
For over 25 years we never sold a security alarm system using fear tactics and we won't start doing that now. Security is fundamentally a blend of your personal comfort level, how much you are willing to risk and a great deal of common sense. We will continue to make sound recommendations to improve your security and tighten up areas of vulnerability at your home or business. Call us and schedule an onsite consultation.