Home Security

In the past I have written about staying safe while selling items online. For this column I will be talking about home security.

Wait, what? Home security? How does this apply to an article about antiques? Well, I will tell you.

Folks who collect antiques and other items spend large amounts of money to purchase and display their items. It only makes sense that we do all we can to secure them. No one wants to be a victim of a home theft.

Doors and locks.

The first tenent of home security for our valuable collections are good door locks and using them. Many police officers responding to burglary calls will tell you that when asked if the doors were locked, the homeowners sheepishly replied “No”. You have to keep your doors locked, even when you are home. People who commit home invasions are not deterred by the home being occupied so don’t make it easier for them.

Next, lets think about our garage door. If I am in my home or in my back yard, regardless of the time involved, my garage door is closed and locked. Many folks leave their doors open for hours at a time and even overnight for pets. This is a welcome mat to thieves. If a thief gets into your garage, they can work as long as needed to gain entrance into your home undetected.


We are seeing commercials now for “Garage Delivery”. This is where you give an online seller’s delivery agent a passcode to your garage for their driver to drop your boxes off in your garage. This is a response to the “porch pirates” who go around and take packages off doorsteps. All I can say is NOPE! No one, especially people I don’t know, get a key or code to my home. Period.

The next part of deliveries is important after Christmas. Many people receive or buy expensive items like big screen TV’s, home electronics and other desirable items. If you put a pile of boxes out by your trash, this gives thieves the perfect opportunity to drive by and case your house, just by using your trash. To prevent this, take the time to cut all boxes up and put the cardboard into your recycle can. It might take a couple of pickups, but it’s worth the effort.

Let’s look at other areas around the home.

Exterior lighting.

Thieves don’t like lights as they expose them to detection. Install motion sensor lights or have strategically placed lights that you can leave on all night and put them on a timer. Also, draw your shades at night. You would be surprised at just how much you can see into a lit-up home from outside at night even from a distance.

Shrubbery and plantings.

Trim large bushes and trees that are close to your home, especially if they are by windows. This gives thieves places to hide while they observe you or try to make entry. If you have a 2-story home, thieves can sometimes access upper stories by climbing trees that overhang roofs. If you must have bushes by a window, plant thorny native species that will deter anyone getting close.


Security Cameras.

Cameras are a great deterrent and are very affordable now. Many people are using cameras built into their doorbell that connect to their phone. WiFI cameras can be installed to record to a hard drive, or online and you can even monitor them from a smart phone ap. Make sure you follow all directions for installation to prevent someone hacking in the system. Cover all entrances and If cameras are obvious, many thieves will look for an easier target.

Alarms can be a great investment.

Many different alarms are available now. Some are stand alone and others have a company that monitors the system so when it’s triggered a notification to the police is automatic. You can also add fire alarms to many systems as well. Again, it is about protecting your investment in your collection. A $14.95 a month monitoring fee to protect a large collection can be very sensible.

Have an inventory.

Take photos of everything in your collection. Have a written inventory or spreadsheet. List names, dates when purchased, prices paid, values now, serial numbers, identifying marks or characteristics. If your items are recovered after a theft, you will stand a better chance of getting them back if you can prove they were yours. Many collectors fail on this task as it’s a lot of work to start, but once it’s done it’s easy to maintain. Also talk to your carrier about insurance options in case of a loss.

Others in the home.

As we discussed before, if you have to let someone in your home, be smart about it. My concern is not the repair guy per se, it’s who does the repair guy hang out with and does he talk about the homes he is in. Use reputable services and remain observant. Don’t leave items laying around like money, credit cards, keys, mail – anything that can be grabbed quickly that has value to enter the home later or steal an identity.

Social media.

This is a big one. We all love to find awesome items and many of us want to share our discoveries. Even if you have your privacy settings locked down on your accounts, many of your friends and contacts don’t. This means that there are people whom you don’t know that could have access to what you post. NEVER post when you are on vacation. This is a beacon to thieves. Also, use caution in online conversations about what you own.

Make sure your family members and children understand this also. Kids like to brag about what their parents do and have. Again, you never know who can find your data. Facebook and google track everywhere you go online and know every website you visit. Identity theft loses topped 16 billion in 2017! Once it’s online, it’s online forever.

Home security is a never-ending process but not one that has to be a chore. Simple steps go a long way to protecting the investment you have made in your collection. Taking some basic steps now will ensure the collection that you spent years building is not a target later.


Originally published Florida Today print edition Sunday, Jan 5th 2020 – Florida today online edition Jan 2nd 2020  & Vintage Finds Magazine Jan/Feb 2020 issue.