Theft by Friends and Neighbors is a Sad Reality

Written by | Updated March 21, 2014

Being the victim of a burglary or theft is justifiably upsetting. But when you find out the criminal is a trusted family member, friend or neighbor, it’s downright devastating. Whether they commit the crime to fund a drug habit, pay off a loan, or simply out of spite, those you trust can turn against you. Unfortunately it happens more than you know, and often the elderly are targeted.

Helping you protect your family is our mission at SafeWise, so we’ve put together this list of basic precautions you can take to ensure you or an elderly family member aren’t taken advantage of.

1. Find out who your neighbors are.

The average burglar doesn’t go around wearing ski masks, and they are often overly kind, especially to the elderly who need help taking out the trash, raking leaves, or completing other household chores. It’s all a ploy to gain trust and get into the victim’s home to snoop for goodies. If you have an elderly relative, make them aware that not all generous neighbors have their best interest at heart. Then use an app like Criminal Tracker to locate sex offenders and other criminals in your neighborhood or your relative’s, up to a 40 mile radius.

2. Medicine means money; keep it secure.

The prescription pain killers in your medicine cabinet can fund your cousin’s gambling addiction or supply your niece with a high. If you have an elderly relative, keep in mind that his or her caretaker, whether family or not, may abuse their access to prescription medicines.

3. Find neighbors with your best interests at heart. 

When you get to know your neighbors and you’ll not only feel more comfortable in your neighborhood, you’ll get an extra set of eyes watching your home while you’re away. Retired neighbors are particularly helpful in spotting trouble, as they tend to be at home during the day and that’s important because the majority of burglaries occur while people are at work or running errands. Homes are also targeted while the occupants are vacationing.

Of course, the best line of defense against burglars is a home security system. Activate it every time you leave your home and take advantage of mobile alert technology. With mobile alerts, you’ll be sent a text message or email the moment someone enters your home or an unauthorized area.

4. Fortify your home with window and door sensors.

The neighborhood thief views an open window as an invitation to burglarize your home. Always keep windows and doors shut and locked, and further protected your home with window and door sensors. Should your local burglar try getting into your home through one of these access points, the sound of an alarm will certainly scare him away. If he succeeds in entering undetected, your home’s motion detectors will activate the alarm. There are also motion sensor cameras that will start recording the moment motion is detected.

5. Cameras help catch criminals.

Security cameras are an important addition to your home security system, and could provide you with the proof you need to identify your friend or relative as the bad guy. Best yet, when you pair security cameras and a remote security system solution, you can watch what’s going on in your home while you’re at work or vacationing around the globe. Security cameras also make the criminal minded think twice before committing a theft, so they’re the perfect crime deterrents.

Share our basic protection tips with those you love, and learn more about your home security options with the SafeWise security system finder tool. If you’d like to discuss your needs with a home security specialist, give us a call at 1-855-814-3077.

Image: Alexms22, Wikipedia

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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