Beware: Lax home security

May 17, 2011 8:21:11 PM PDT
Summer is the peak time for house break-ins. A Consumer Reports National Research Center survey finds that all too often people make it easy for crooks to target their house or car.

- 19 percent of those surveyed said they don't always lock their doors
- 26 percent sometimes don't lock their windows
- 43 percent don't always turn on their home alarm when they're away

Consumer Reports talked with cops and crooks and came up with a list of 25 mistakes people make, such as letting bushes and shrubs get over grown and having poor exterior lighting. That makes it easier for a burglar to hide and break into your home.

Leaving your garage door open is another no-no. Not only can anything in your garage be stolen, but a burglar can break down the door leading into your house, which usually isn't as strong as your front or back door.

People are lax with their cars, too. Of those polled, 11 percent said they sometimes leave their car keys in the ignition. And hiding a spare key is another dumb move. That just makes it easier for thieves. It's better to keep a spare key in your wallet or purse.

When you're away from home, don't let newspapers and mail pile up. A smart move is leaving some inexpensive kids' toys on the lawn to help deter thieves by making them think you're home.

Consumer Reports says people aren't just lax with security for their home and car. Apparently plenty of people are making it easy for crooks to access their bank accounts, too. In fact almost one in 10 keep their PIN code with their debit card, according to ACI Worldwide, a payment-systems company.

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