I just got an email from reader Sarah that was filled with great tips on how to protect yourself from theft. Here are her suggestions, with a few of my own added in:
1. Write down all serial numbers whenever you buy electronics, and keep your receipts. If you have expensive jewelry and fashion items, keep an inventory list with pictures.
2. Label your belongings (an idea: etch your license number into the back of electronics, in case the thief gets rid of the serial numbers).
3. Keep your blinds closed. A potential robber may see something that he/she likes through a window, and may also be able to tell if you’re at home or not.
4. Get to know your neighbors. Friendly neighbors make excellent watchdogs; someone who doesn’t know you may think nothing of seeing a strange person entering your apartment.
5. Do not tweet, post, or Foursquare your exact address – especially if you’re a girl. Also, avoid going on and on about all the way expensive, awesome stuff you own and when you’re leaving the house every day.
6. Invest in an alarm system, if possible (ideally one with security lights and cameras that can be accessed remotely).
7. Password protect your laptop and keep backups of all your files (duh).
8. Watch out for your neighbors. If something seems off, doesn’t hesitate to alert the authorities.
9. If you live with a roommate or a significant other to whom you’re not married, make sure that both of your names are on your renter’s insurance.
10. If you have a blog, pay GoDaddy that extra little bit of money to make your personal information private (thanks to Liz for this tip!).
11. Know that this website exists: Pleaserobme.com (thanks, Jennifer!)
12. If possible, have a dog (not that Virgil and Lucy are particularly stellar watchdogs, apparently, but still).
13. Keep your super-valuables, if you have them, in an excellent hiding place. For tips, read this very interesting article, in which a former burglar tells you where you should hide your stuff.
14. Lock your doors each and every single time you step foot outside – even if you’re just going to check the mailbox. Why not? It’s a little annoying…but you know what’s more annoying? Having no purses.