Posted on May 23, 2012 in Disasters, VRBO by ShannonNo Comments »

The latest buzz heard around Bend and Sunriver is about break-ins to unoccupied homes. A group of squatters actually moved into a Sunriver home for the winter, rearranged the furniture, took out some walls and made themselves at home. The unwanted guests moved the ping pong table from downstairs to the upstairs and couches outside. The owners arrived for vacation and found a trashed and damaged home as they watched the squatters run out the back door!

Another home in Bend was damaged when someone broke in and left the hot water running full blast in the sinks. Yikes on that heating bill and water damage repair.

Both homes have near-by neighbors and still nothing was reported or even looked amiss.

Just a few more reasons you really want to have someone reliable watching over your home and a good security system never hurts. A weekly home check would easily have prevented the amount of damage to the Sunriver home. The Bend home is under surveillance and the promblems were caught and quickly contained. Keep an eye out for my next column in the Sunriver Scene – To Arm or Not To Arm. Give me a call if you need help with your Central Oregon home.

Posted on May 10, 2010 in Disasters by ShannonNo Comments »

This week I have a guest blogger,  Kory Friedman – Security Consultant from Apex Alert  to outline some great tips on security.   I have been using Apex with many of my clients and they take great care of us  (yup I follow everything below and have a security system at my house and office).    Kory can be reached at 541.728.0301.

 As far as I’m concerned, there is no better place to live than Central Oregon.  I came to visit Bend from Southern California six years ago and it didn’t take me long to decide this would be my home.  The views are stunning, the people are friendly, and it seemed about as idyllic a place as you could get in terms of raising a family.  It’s so safe, I was told, that many people still leave their doors unlocked.  As a San Diego transplant and Security Consultant, I can’t leave the doors unlocked even if I want to.  It’s so ingrained in me to lock the door behind me that I often hear my husband yelling at me from the other side of the garage door because I flipped the lock not realizing he was outside.   You could say I’m living in fear.  But those folks who still have an open door policy might be surprised to learn that Bend’s property crime levels tend to be higher that Oregon’s average level. (You can visit to see how your neighborhood stacks up).  I design security systems for a living.  It’s my job to make sure that if a burglar attempts to get in to your home, he or she is not going to make it very far.  I want to prevent you from becoming a victim of property crime.  While a monitored security system is the best line of defense if they do get in, there are things you can do to make your home not worth the effort.There is no such thing as a burglar-proof home but you can make your house less desirable to break in to.  The enemies of the burglar are time and attention. The longer it takes to enter and the more noise he makes increases his chances of being seen and caught. Homes not easily and quickly broken into are most often bypassed for easier targets.  Follow these tips from and you’ll likely avoid becoming a statistic.  Tip #1 Make your home security system like an onion, not an egg. Layers upon layers are not only the best deterrent, but the best defense against break-ins.     Reason: It is easy for a criminal to bypass a single line of defense. Multiple layers not only slow him, but serve as a means to alert you or your neighbors that someone is trying to break in.  If, like the tip of an iceberg, enough of these deterrents are visible, most of the time the would-be intruder will simply choose not to even try. If he does try, then the layers he did not see will impede him.A good example of a layered defense is a thorny bush outside the window, double locks and/or bars on the windows, and safety coating on the windows.  Tip #2 Pretend to be a burglar
Walk around your property and ask yourself: How would I break in? Examine your house from the street, where are the blind spots?  What are the most vulnerable areas and, therefore, more likely to be attacked? Stand outside the windows and look in, make sure no valuables, like expensive electronics or artwork, are visible. If you can see your belongings doing this, so can criminals.
Tip #3 As well as locking something, you must also protect the lock and its components
A common combination of cheap locks and small construction flaws, that we tend not to notice, often give criminals the “cracks” in security they need to break in.
     Reason: Many home door locks can be quickly bypassed with a knife or screwdriver slid in the gap between door and frame. After that the criminal can easily work the tongue of most cheap locks out of the door frame. A thin kitchen knife slid between sash windows can “tap” a normal window lock open. Hasps and locks can be hammered or twisted off in a few blows, or simply cut off with bolt cutters. Many sliding windows and doors can simply be lifted out of place.Tip #4 Brace doorframes and put multiple locks on all outside doors
What he doesn’t know *will* hurt him. With a little extra work, the bracing can be hidden behind the doorframe’s internal molding and will not be noticeable from either inside or outside. For the burglar, this is like unexpectedly hitting an invisible wall.
     Reason: The most common means of breaking into homes is simply by kicking in the door. Most doorframes are made of 1 inch pine which saves the contractor money. This makes them vulnerable to this basic assault. Multiple locks and bracing under the molding make this kind of entrance unlikely and will not destroy the beauty of your home.Tip #5 Find alternatives to normal deadbolts in doors that have windows (or windowed frames)
Talk with a locksmith about what is available.     Reason: Most burglaries occur during the day when you are away at work. Unfortunately, many back doors are decorative and windowed. It is easy for a burglar to punch out a small window, reach in and unlock the door. Since they are off the street and out of view this is why most break-ins occur through the back and side doors.Tip #6 Treat inside garage doors the same as an outside door: multiple locks and bracing.
Even though it is inside your home, it must be able to withstand a full out assault. Often, the doors that access the house from the garage are hollow-core and have cheap locks (if they are locked at all) which is why break-ins through garages are so common.
     Reason: Criminals often cruise neighborhoods looking for open garage doors. Once an open garage door is found, they pull in, close the door, park their car and then start piling your possessions into it. Although they might still do it occasionally, criminals no longer need to cruise the neighborhood with a stolen garage door opener pushing the button to see whose door will open, an incredible number of  people just leave the door wide open for them when “just running down to the store.”Tip #7 Plant thorny bushes in front of all vulnerable windows.
Thorny landscaping not only adds beauty to your home, but makes even getting close to such windows an unappealing prospect.
Tanya Carlsen, Landscape Designer with Carlseng Designs, suggests planting Barberry.  She says it’s a great thorny bush that does well in our climate.  Other options include Rugosa roses and Wood’s rose.  While they don’t have good thorns, they would be better than a softer shrub at deterring thieves.Tip #8 Look into safety-coating the most vulnerable windows.
Safety coat is an adhesive plastic sheeting that makes breaking out windows difficult.
Tip #9 Get and close heavy drapes — especially on rooms where there is expensive equipment. Thin, sheer drapes –although attractive — also allow burglars to look inside.     Reason: It is often amazing how often a home intruder will walk up and look through the windows of a home to see if there is anything worth stealing. Sheer curtains allow him to do this. He knows what he wants to steal before he even breaks in.Tip #10 Make sure sliding glass doors and windows are installed correctly.
Not everyone in the construction industry is a rocket scientist. And their incompetence and laziness can cost you plenty.
     Reason: An estimated one quarter of all sliding glass doors and windows are installed backwards (so the sliding part is on the outside track). This allows the criminal to simply lift out the panel and enter.Tip #11 Install motion detector lights in areas where no one should be.
This way, you know something isn’t right when they go off.     Reason: Most people put safety lights where they do the least good. While they illuminate your approach as you pull into your driveway, such lights are often hard to see if you are indoors. Put them along the side of the house or back, so that someone lurking there sets them off.  You can also install a security system that can automate your lighting, so that lights can turn on at a specific time of day.Tip #12 Get a dog.
A barking dog, whether inside the house or in the yard, is proven as the best deterrent to burglars.Tip #13 Create a neighborhood watch on your block.
Even just the signs often sends would-be burglars elsewhere.Reason: An alert and involved community is the criminal’s nemesis. It is often reason enough for him to try business elsewhere. Tip #14 Make sure the gates are locked if you have a fence. This is especially important with accesses to the alley.Tip #15 Leave the stereo/TV on
An empty house “feels” empty. There is no vibration or noise inside that indicates someone’s presence. Put the “vibes” in.  If you read this blog then you already know how important this is.  Shannon and the Home Fridays staff put the vibes in your home so it appears lived in. 
Tip #16 Etch your name on all electronic equipment TV/stereo/computer and then tape it
Etching, in and of itself serves as a deterrent in case of a break in, failing that it greatly assists the police in the recovery of your property.Tip #17 Get a safe!
It’s not just cash and jewels that need to go in there, but your important paperwork.
     Reason: Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the US. Although many people think burglars are going to go for jewelry, silverware or electronics, what most people don’t realize is that the greatest damage to you will be if the criminal gets access to your personal identification and financial records!!! A criminal can clone your identity and steal everything you have, up to and including selling your property. Passports can sell for as much as a thousand dollars. Tip #18 On top of everything else, get an alarm system.
This is another layer of the onion. You can go anywhere from a basic system to one that is incredibly high tech.
     Reason: Now that you’ve made it slow and difficult for him to get inside, an alarm is far more effective since it gives the cavalry a chance to arrive in time. In addition, burglar, carbon monoxide and fire alarms do wonders to keep your home owner’s insurance down.