Recently I received a call from a past client with alarming news. Unfortunately their new Georgia Mountain Cabin had been burglarized just before the new year. After talking with them and receiving an email with some great tips for detouring future break-ins, I decided to do a little research myself and I believe that I have come up with some great tips for you to keep your North Georgia Mountain Cabin more safe.
I do want to say that Union County, Fannin County, and Gilmer County are among the lowest in crime rates in the entire state of Georgia. This is one of among many things that make purchasing a Retirement Home or Second Home so attractive, not too mention the beautiful North Georgia Mountains, change of seasons, the Rivers and Lakes that is far and above the most attractive.
You will find my tips below in no particular order. I certainly hope that you take each and everyone of these tips into consideration to make your Mountain Home or Future Cabin more Safe!
Pretend To Be Your Own Worst Enemy
Go through your Home or Cabin and find the most vulnerable places that a burglar will try to enter. Do this many times throughout the year as it will help you to discover other weaknesses that may have previously escaped your attention the first time.
Always Lock The Door
Lock your doors even for a short period of time. Many burglaries happen in broad daylight when you leave for short periods of time. Burglars watch you and make note of your habits and take full advantage of them. I can remember growing up in Blue Ridge, GA. that we never locked our front door. Hiding a key wasn’t even an option because it wasn’t necessary, and many still today never lock their front door. Always lock the door even if you are leaving for a few short minutes.
Change The Locks
If you have recently purchased your North Georgia Mountain Home, change the locks even if it is a new Home. Do you realize just how many people may have a copy of the key to your new Home? Electricians, Plumbers, Builders, they all have handed out keys so that work can be done on the Home. How do you know if you received all of the keys back at the closing? You don’t! Get the locks changed out or at least have them re-keyed. While we are on this subject, for future reference, always keep track of who has a copy of your keys. It is common for second home owners to leave a key with your Realtor, or maybe the cleaning services you use, and especially Property Management Companies. You want to know who has a copy of your key at all times. Make sure they are worthy to hold a key to your investment.
Identify Personal Belongings
The most common items taken during a burglary are the electronics. Go out to The Home Depot or your local hardware store and purchase a Dremel or an etching tool. Putting your name on all of your personal belongings. Especially electronics, if noticed, will detour many thieves from taking them.
Here’s Your Sign
New Cabin owner’s often times can’t wait to name their Cabin. They go out and proudly have a sign made and stick in the front yard, then sit back on the front porch and bask in all their glory! I can’t say that I blame them, I would probably want to to the same thing. This is almost always a must for those who choose to place their Cabins with a Property Management Company. Most North Georgia Cabin Rental companies require that a sign be placed so that it is easily identifiable to the guests. Well guess what, it also makes it easily identifiable to a professional burglar as well. If you don’t need a sign, resist the erge to have one.
Make Your Mountain Home Look Occupied At ALL Times
When I think of this I am reminded of one of my all time favorite Christmas Movies, Home Alone. I love it when he uses cardboard cut-outs of life sized people and ties strings to them, and then makes them move thorough the shadow of the curtains so as to make the burglars think he is not home alone. Now I am not suggesting that you go out and buy yourselves cardboard cut-outs and stick them in the windows, but there are some things that you can do. Leave certain lights on in your home when you are away. Don’t always leave on the same ones, switch it around from time to time. Also turn on some music, or even the television, this will make a burglar think hard about whether or not the Cabin is empty. While you are out buying your etching tool, buy yourselves some timers to place on certain lamps to help cut costs on electricity.
Be A Good Neighbor And Get To Know Yours
This in my opinion is one of the most important things from this entire list that you can do. Having a good neighbor that will help keep an eye on your home while you are away is very important. Invite them over and inform them of the things that you have done to secure your Mountain Home so that they can be aware and notice when a certain light isn’t on or if a window is left open. Be sure to exchange telephone numbers of their primary residence, cell phones, work numbers and also email addresses with your neighbors and stay in touch with them often.
Install An Alarm System
If your Home or Cabin doesn’t have an Alarm System, get one installed as soon as possible. The most effective alarm system is a concealed system. Professional burglars look for areas where they can disconnect the system. Most systems these days cost anywhere from $600 to $1,000 to cover what you need, obviously you can spend much more. Also for a small up charge, you can have the monitoring system alert you via your cell phone which in this day and age is the phone most all of us use. Invest wisely is the siren making sure that it is not faulty sending false alarms. Should this happen, replace it immediately and inform your neighbors that it has been repaired.
Install Motion Sensor Lighting
Good motion sensor lighting placed strategically will help detour a thief from trying to enter your Home or Cabin. Be sure to place them on the back side of your Cabin or in the most vulnerable places in relation to darkness or places hidden from the sight of your neighbors. Most people only place motion sensors where it is convenient for them to get to the door and often times don’t think of it as a good to run off would be burglars.
Install Blinds and Drapes
Blinds and Drapes are not only good to keep the sun out, but it is also a great way to help ensure that a thief will pass you by. If they can’t see what’s in your home to get, they may become uninterested or it just may not be worth their trouble. Don’t give them a reason to break into your Home or Cabin.
Avoid Leaving A Spare Key
I can almost always find the spare key to any home. No I am not a thief, but people leave their spare keys in the most obvious places. Yes, I cannot tell you the times that I have found the spare key under the door mat, on top of the ledge of the porch, behind a receptacle, under a rock or hanging on a nail under the porch in the most convenient spot. If you feel the need to have a spare key, place it in an old 35mm canister if you can even find those anymore…..who is still using those cameras? Anyway, place it in something that you can bury in a place that only you know where it is. This is by far the safest place to hide a spare key…..and maybe your money if this economy doesn’t turn around soon!
Avoid Notes And Service Tickets
One of the most common things that I find up here in the North Georgia Mountains is service tickets being left on the doors of unoccupied homes. Gas companies are the worst when it comes to this. If you have a propane tank, chances are you are on one of the companies filling routes. When the Gas Company comes out and fills your tank, they leave a Fill Ticket on your door letting you know that they have been there and they have filled your tank. Try to know when the Gas Company is coming out to your Home or Cabin and call your neighbor to stop by and take that ticket off of your door. Even better, give your Gas Company a call and ask to see if they could place that in the mail to you or request that they don’t leave them on your door. This is just another way for a burglar to know that your home is unoccupied. Also, avoid leaving notes for service technicians, or friends and family members anywhere on the outside of your Home or Cabin.
I certainly hope that these tips will help you to secure the investment in your North Georgia Mountain Home or Cabin. Using these tips will help you avoid the unfortunate situation of having your home burglarized. If you have any great tips or advice that you have used to secure your home that I have not mentioned, please share those with us.
As always, thanks so much for coming up on “The Porch.” I really appreciate you visiting and please come back as often as you like. If you know of anyone looking to Buy or Sell a North Georgia Mountain Real Estate, I would be grateful for the opportunity to speak with them. I am most always available, you can email me at [email protected], or simply pick up the phone and call me at 706.633.8186.
Be Smart and Be safe! Make it a GREAT day.