Last weekend I was working outside in my driveway trying to build a box for my pickup truck. I finished the box, but as I was admiring my handy work, someone drove by and caught my eye. He was looking at all the stuff in my garage and I realized I had made a mistake.
I live on one of the main drags of our neighborhood in the suburbs of San Antonio. We get a lot of traffic down our street, especially on the weekends. Normally, I hardly pay attention to anyone driving by, usually only a quick peek to see if they are going to drive up the curb or something.
This guy was much different. I looked at him and he had slowed down to look past me into my garage full of stuff. I could tell he was cataloging stuff inside. Some people are just really easy to read. It’s a skill you can get with a little work, too. Just start paying attention to people and it will come.
Anyways, I knew I made the mistake of leaving the garage door open when it didn’t need to be. After he left, I looked at my garage. For me it looks normal. Boxes and crap piled everywhere (it’s a garage). But a couple things caught my eye. First was the steel target I had leaning on the outside because I had just repainted it that morning. Obviously that says I have guns in the house. The other problem I saw was the nice big toolbox I had sitting towards the outside and two motorcycles inside.
Right then I decided to do a little crime prevention. First, I won’t have the door open anymore unless I’m actually working inside or need stuff that is inside. No more leaving the door open for a couple hours while I work. Next, the target went away. Now I paint in the back yard, let it dry there and then put it back with the gun stuff out of sight. Last, I moved the shiny toolbox inside a little further and put the bikes one behind the other so they are harder to see.
What I’m trying to do is make it look less like there is anything worth stealing in the garage. I obviously don’t want to advertise that I have guns, and tools are always an easy sell to a pawnshop or swap meet vendor. Now the boxes of Christmas are on the outside. They are worth a ton to my wife, but no one really wants to steal them.
Go outside and look at your house. What would a criminal see if he walked by? Open your front door and garage door and look inside. What can you see? Better yet, what would a criminal see? Should you really have that Mona Lisa Painting hanging just inside the door where it can be seen from the outside?
In your garage, make sure you don’t have expensive things hanging or placed in the middle so they can just be quickly walked off with, or that someone could do a smash and grab and easily get anything worth value. Your kids $50 BMX could disappear, but I would more worried about the expensive racing bike you bought for $1,000. The criminals know the difference by experience.
Think about putting the expensive, easy to grab stuff towards the front and out of sight and the cheap stuff towards the front (my Christmas lights and pile of scrap wood hide tons of stuff). Preaching to myself here; the best thing would be to clean up the garage and put that expensive stuff out of sight, or locked in the house. Your garage is probably the least secure room in your house.