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The Layered Approach To Property Security

The Layered Approach To Property Security
The layered approach to securing your home will afford your valuables the highest level of protection. This post describes the basic steps.

In our last blog entry, we entertained you with numerous depressing home property theft statistics:

  • According to the FBI, every year more than 1 in 10 homes is subject to property theft, and approximately 4 out of 5 of these thefts are committed by someone you invited into your home (i.e., a housekeeper, plumber or another invitee), not by anonymous burglars.
  • A home thief of any stripe is usually an amateur who starts his or her search for valuables in your bedroom, during daylight hours.
  • In the case of a burglar, they usually spend very little time on the crime scene — fewer than 12 minutes. As a result, they typically seek high value, small-sized objects like cash, jewelry, and watches.

You can reduce this risk by making your goods (including your beloved watches) more secure — but at what cost? A cheap locked hard box in your dresser drawer, or a thousand-pound safe bolted to a concrete floor behind a false wall in your basement — which makes your stuff virtually inaccessible? The logical solution is to obtain a “reasonable” level of protection that will deal with most risks, and this is achieved through a layered approach to home security.

Layer your security, but don’t forget that NO form of security is perfect  — get a good insurance policy, itemizing your most valuable possessions, and when you go on vacation, deposit your valuables in your bank safe deposit box.

Most security professionals call for a layered approach because no single countermeasure can be expected to prevent all crime. The object is to place as many hurdles in the thief’s way so that he gives up or seeks out a lower value target for theft. In other words, let her grab your three-year-old IPad on the kitchen counter instead of your $5,000 watch.

Layers of protection in a typical home or apartment could consist of the following:

  1. Perimeter defense, such as a double-locked door and a tall wall or fence around your property. As we noted in our last post, close to one-third of all burglaries involve entering a home through an unlocked window or door. Yes, really.
    –A centrally monitored alarm system, to both notify you or the police of the intrusion and deter a burglary attempt. An alarm system, like a lock, is only good if it is armed.
  2. Concealment of your valuables is the next defense of your valuables. Remember, a burglar has little time in your home and an invitee does not want to draw suspicion – the longer they have to search for your valuables, the less likely they take something. The most important thing to remember is to avoid hiding things in the most likely places to search – your bedroom generally and the top drawer of your bedroom dresser or night table, specifically. And since most home thefts involve an “inside job” element or knowledge of the target, no one should be told about your hiding places other than immediate family.
  3. Deception is one form of concealment. For example, a good burglar decoy is to leave a cheap, relatively portable safe on the floor of your bedroom or bedroom closet or in your socks drawer in your dresser (i.e., someplace obvious). Leave it locked but unattached to anything, containing nothing except for a couple of small metal chains or boxes to rattle around inside it.
    Your burglar will definitely take it and might leave before a more detailed search of your home – feeling they have already made their “haul”.
  4. Hardened Protection. At this point, you are probably pretty satisfied with your property defense plan, but most of us feel the need for a hardened hiding place, like a safe. And again, try to conceal your safe to give it extra time to protect your valuables. The BlumSafe is easily concealable behind a picture frame, an open door, or in a closet.
  5. Electronic Monitoring. Electronic protection at the BlumSafe itself provides final level protection for your watches and other valuables, and can be accomplished in several ways:
    1. Place a Smart Sensor in your safe. We have tested the Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor and required hub, and are very satisfied with its performance with the BlumSafe. It is also very easy to install and configure yourself. This device communicates with your smartphone, by text, email or app notification, and is an all-in-one sensor that can detect the safe door opening and closing, vibration, orientation/tilt, and temperature, as well as low batteries and internet connectivity loss. This sensor would alert you if, for example, someone hit your BlumSafe with a hammer, trying to get into it. It also tells you if a burglar has cut your internet line. If a burglar or invitee has evaded your alarm system, located your safe, and is determined and equipped to attack it, this device is an essential last level of defense. It can also give early warning protection for your valuables against fire and flood damage.
    2. Have your alarm company place a hidden “panic button” in your safe or wire a second alarm partition in your safe that is not triggered when the main house perimeter is penetrated (by the way, you can also purchase a panic button that ties into the Samsung SmartThings system above – no need for your alarm company to do anything). We prefer the panic button solution – in the unlikely event a thief gets in your house undetected and is willing to use violence to force you to open your safe, a silent panic button offers the ability to get help. A second alarm partition on your safe, which is armed even when your house alarm system is not, will just dissuade you from using your safe (each time you want to open the safe, you have to disarm it at the alarm keypad – a hassle).
  6. Safe Deposit Box at your Local Bank. At the end of the day, your safe deposit box at your local bank is the safest place for your valuables. Make sure to deposit your most cherished valuables there before you leave your home for any vacation of a week or more.
  7. A Good Property Insurance Policy. One last cautionary note — Safes are great, they deter or at least slow down all but the most committed thief, and cost him valuable minutes, increasing the odds of his detection and capture. However, no matter how colorful the advertisement, no safe is impervious to a well-equipped and professional thief (which luckily, most are not). You might feel good about your 1,000-pound gun safe bolted to the floor, but against the right criminal, it doesn’t stand a chance after 15-20 minutes. The same goes for the BlumSafe. Get a good insurance policy and itemize all of your most precious valuables.

So, to sum up, if your objective is a reasonable degree of added protection, that is what a safe will provide you within a layered property security approach– otherwise, put all your valuables in a bank safe deposit box, and risk never seeing or enjoying it.

Lastly, always have a good property insurance policy.