Home Security: Locks, Stock and Barrels

Last week I was in store (the movie theater) and overheard a conversation from the next isle (stall). One woman said to another, “Hey, it’s great that the condo has been cleaned, but what I want to know is how she actually got into my condo to clean it.” The person she was with replied with an attitude, “Don’t you remember, you gave her a key last year?”

It made me wonder how long she owned her condo in Bonita Springs and how many other keys were floating around that she had forgotten about. Maybe she was just a tenant and had an illusion that she was the only person to ever hold a key to the condo. Maybe she had purchased her condo and not changed the locks after the closing. Maybe that was just one of a dozen keys that have been passed out over the years to neighbors, tenants, housekeepers, home watch or trades people.

We’d all like to believe that when sellers walk away from a closing table or tenants leave a rental, they are moving on to their next life. Their ties with their Bonita Springs home are severed and they don’t look back.

It may surprise you to learn that some home buyers don’t even bother to change the locks after closing. It just never occurs to them. Some tenants don’t ask to have the lock changed, change the locks themselves or just go buy a new door knob. Yikes, I know. It may not occur to them that the previous occupant that moved back to Minnesota isn’t the only person that had a key. The seller or tenant didn’t look back but it doesn’t mean others still do not have access to the home.

Who else has the keys to your real estate; your home, your condo? Whether you’ve lived in your home for years or you’ve just moved in it might be time to assess the security of your home and family and your rogue key situation.

I’ve lived here for a couple of decades and so have many of my friends and family. I’m whipping them down on the tracks as an example for you. I can tell you that a good portion of them haven’t ever changed their locks, their security system code or their garage door code; you know that numeric touch pad mounted outside the door. They just assume that it will never be used against them.

Several people that I know have those garage door touch pads, even a family member or two, and most of the village has the code at this point. People pass that code out with reckless abandon, like it’s their phone number and it’s not as important as it actually is. Consider this: How much sense does it make to have hurricane resistant door yet pass the code out to every Tom, Dick, Harry or Donna?

For many people trust comes easily and they may have never thought that they should be more guarded about their own home and personal property. For some, dependence on the help of others to care for their home has been how things “get done” while they’re away for months up north. There is probably at least one neighbor with a key and over a series of a few years more than one neighbor probably ended up with a key.

When I heard the women talking about the housekeeper getting into the condo there was Christmas music playing in the back ground. It made me wonder about how busy and distracted so many people will be for the next several weeks. Our guards might be down, our doors not locked or we still might not know who has access to our home, all the while holiday gifts are getting stock piled to give out.

It’s always the right time for you beef up your home security or to just get started on a home security plan. You can start by calling a security company that will give your home a complete inspection from the perspective of a burglar or prowler. You’d be surprised how simple and easy it is to make your home less vulnerable to burglary and crimes of opportunity.

A simple Google search will give you scads of things to help make your home intruder resistant. Before I start hearing guns cock all over the place, this isn’t about taking out burglars Dirty Harry style, it’s about making it less easy for them to let themselves in. Your house may be protected by Smith and Wesson but it’s not while you’re at gymnastics class with your kids or digging yourself out of a sand trap on the golf course.

At the very least consider having your doors re-keyed and locks reinforced. A professional locksmith can give you a few security tips and also help you reset your garage door openers, too. You may not be the only person that has a working door clicker to the garage.

If you do install any improved security features be sure to run them by your insurance agent. Premiums are often adjusted for homes with security systems. If you don’t bone up your home’s safety measures make sure you take a firearm safety class so you don’t accidentally hurt somebody with your current “security system”.




Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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