We all want to assume that we’re safe inside our own homes. But the truth is that criminals can (and do) exist everywhere—even in the most unassuming of towns—and there’s no telling whether or not your home is next on their list.
To make matters worse, a highly disturbing trend in home invasion is rearing its ugly head… and it could happen to you. One woman took to Facebook to share her experience with the hopes of warning others about this frightening new way that people are breaking into houses!
Burglaries and scams are frightening, but they’re nothing new. Many criminals have devised clever ways to rob people, and it’s safe to say that anyone can be a target. Still, it helps to know what to look for in case your own home is in danger.
That’s exactly why an urgent Facebook post by one Texas woman named Kim Fleming Cernigliaro rapidly went viral. She came dangerously close to being the victim of what could have been a disastrous burglary…
Kim Fleming Cernigliaro / Facebook
Kim was understandably shaken by her experience, and she wanted to make sure her friends and neighbors knew about it. “Two weeks ago, during the day, a hard knock was at my front door,” she began…
Kim Fleming Cernigliaro / Facebook
“And I DO NOT answer the door when I am here by myself,” Kim emphasized. She waited for the knocking to stop before investigating who it might have been. That was when she noticed something strange on her door handle…
It was an ordinary rubber band—the same kind that you could easily purchase at any office supply store—and it was wrapped around the door latch. It might not have sounded threatening, but Kim knew it was suspicious…
Kim contacted the local sheriff, who told her this wasn’t the first time someone had reported something like this—and that this particular use of a rubber band was far from harmless. “As soon as you unlatch the door, they do not wait for you to turn the knob… they can bust in on you,” Kim revealed.
Even if you weren’t previously aware of this trend, or if you thought you lived in a “safe” neighborhood, it would be wise to heed Kim’s advice and not answer doors without being sure of who is on the other side. But that isn’t all you can do!
r. nial bradshaw / Flickr
There are several small steps you can take to avoid attracting burglars to your home. The first to remove any litter outside your home. Obviously, this is important anyway since trash is unsightly, but there’s an even bigger reason!
Properties full of garbage can give strangers the impression that you’re not home often, or that you’ve been away for a while, making it easier for criminals to get away with robbing you virtually undetected.
Patsy Lynch / Wikimedia Commons
Some experienced burglars even know how to use litter to send secret signals to other criminals about how many people live in the house—and when they’re away. Don’t give them the opportunity to do so!
Here’s another crucial tip that can actually save you some time, especially on those busy mornings when you don’t have even an extra second to spare: don’t make your bed before you leave your home.
It may sound sloppy, and in conflict with what you’ve taught to keep your house tidy, but many burglars first look at the beds before targeting a house. An unmade bed could give the impression that someone is still there.
Another good (albeit obvious) precaution to take is to invest in a professional home security system. These may be costly, but they’re usually ideal for protecting homes, and the cost of being robbed is often far greater!
Vivint Smart Home / YouTube
If you can’t afford one of these systems, however, you might be able to just put a sign or sticker on your property indicating that your home is protected (even if you know that it technically isn’t). The sign alone could still deter criminals!
Granted, experienced burglars may still take the risk to call you on your bluff, but this kind of simple trickery should be enough to scare most wrongdoers away from trying any funny business in your home.
Intel Free Press / Flickr
You should also consider investing in some motion-sensitive lights. Remember, criminals can still get nervous! If a light suddenly shines on them, they will get the impression that they’ve been caught and flee the scene.
Glogger / Wikimedia Commons
It may seem obvious to hide your valuables in your sock drawer or a lockbox, but that’s exactly why you should consider moving them someplace even sneakier. At this point, most criminals know to look in places like that…
With that in mind, who would think to look for your most valuable jewelry in your child’s bedroom? Sure, you should still keep it somewhere safe within that room so your children can’t get to it, but burglars themselves are unlikely to seek it out there!
Finally, it’s important to remember that people don’t just kick down doors in action movies; burglars do it in real life all the time. Be sure to reinforce your door, either with more wood or by investing in a steel door.
Home Repair Tutor / YouTube
It should be noted that the particular method of burglary involving a rubber band that Kim experienced was not considered particularly common—at least not yet. Still, it’s always a good idea to take precautions!