Tenants often ask me this question; however, it’s not a question that I can answer. One thing I can and do tell all my tenants – a home security system is not a substitute for common sense. That means:

1. Lock your doors and windows when you are not home. About 1/3 of burglars enter their victims’ homes through unlocked doors and windows.
2. Don’t discuss your travel plans on social media web sites until you return. 4 out of 5 professional home burglars check Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter regularly to find out who is on vacation.
3. Put a lamp on a timer while you’re away. Even a dim-witted burglar can figure out that nobody is home if there are no lights on in the early evening night after night. I will give you a lamp timer if you don’t have one.
4. Don’t let mail and parcels pile up on your porch while you are on vacation. Have the post office hold your mail and have a friend check your porch daily.

Occam’s Razor. I am a big believer in Occam’s Razor which states that the most obvious solution to any problem is usually the correct one. Burglars use this principle to their advantage. Example – Why would a burglar try to get into somebody’s house by picking the front door lock if he can see that a ground floor window in the house next door is wide open? A burglar wants to rob a house, but he doesn’t want to get caught. What is the most obvious solution to the burglar’s problem?

I once had a tenant in Oakland who left her front door wide open while she went to the laundromat a few blocks away. This was back in the days before I put washers and dryers in all my units. She was robbed more than once by people who simply walked into her living room and took stuff. She thought that her problem was that Rockridge was a dangerous neighborhood. I tried to get her to see the connection between leaving her front door wide open and these robberies, but I was never able to do that.