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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Bob Stuber's Tips on Protecting your Home

Aired July 26, 2002 - 09:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well crooks are working overtime these days. July and August, the two busiest months of the year for vacationing, and that means busy times for the burglars as well. People go away on vacation this time of year and their homes sit there like great big targets just waiting to welcome thieves who want to break in and take everything you've got.

Joining us now to talk about what we can all do to protect our homes, from Sacramento, California, former policeman and founder of the Escape School, Bob Stuber.

Bob, nice to have you with us. Welcome back.

BOB STUBER, FOUNDER, ESCAPE SCHOOL: Good morning. My pleasure.

CAFFERTY: All right, the common things that we all do wrong in addition to letting the newspapers pile up in the driveway, what are the common mistakes people make?

STUBER: Well when you're gone on vacation, it's all a game of trying to create the appearance that you're not gone on vacation. You want people to think you're home. So, yes, you start with the newspapers and the mail. You don't want them to pile up, but you also don't want to put in a stop order because you don't know who that -- is going to get a hold of that information. So you let the mail, you let the newspapers keep coming, but have a neighbor pick those things up every day. Don't leave them outside for more than one day.

And remember, we're talking about creating the appearance. So with your lights, you want to make sure your lights are on motion detectors. If somebody did come up to your house at night, it's the action of the light coming on that sends the strong message, not just the light being on.

And here's one big mistake that people make a lot, it's the garage door opener. If you leave a car at home, don't leave your garage door opener in that car, especially if it's outside on the street. Bad guys know to look for this and that gives them one step closer in the house. They get in the car, they get the garage door opener. Next thing you know they're in the garage.

And one more tip for outside has to do with the hide-a-key. A lot of people hide keys around their houses and they think that they found the best place, nobody else will find it. Bad guys know where to look for keys. When they're sitting in jail that's the kind of thing they talk about, all the different places people try to hide keys. If you need to give a key or leave a key around, give it to a trusted neighbor, but don't leave -- don't leave it out so somebody can find it.

Inside the house, it's a whole different story. Still, you want to create the appearance that, you know, somebody's in the house. So let's go back to the mail real quick. If your neighbor picks up your mail and your newspapers and they're going to leave them for you, don't leave them in a place where somebody can look in the window and see that the newspaper and the mail is piling up on a desk somewhere. That's just like leaving it in the driveway.

And also inside, put your lights, if you can, put your lights on a timer. But don't be regular with it. Try not to create a predictable pattern. And put a radio on the same timer. That way if you have the lights coming on and you have a radio coming on, that creates a great appearance that somebody's in the house.

One other thing I want to show you, it has to do with the deadbolt. This is a typical deadbolt. This is what you find on most houses. It's a deadbolt with a latch on one side. If you have glass in your door or anywhere near your door, you want to get a deadbolt that's keyed on both sides. That way if somebody was to break the glass and reach inside, they couldn't unlock your deadbolt, which is what happens a lot of times.

And when it comes to the answering machine, don't leave a message that tells people you're not at home. Let the message be the same message you always use, and remember to pick your messages up every day so that if somebody calls, they don't get that long beep telling them that you haven't picked your messages up in a while. That would be just like leaving the mail in the driveway.

Just a few of those smart tips like that and you could really create the appearance that you're still home.

CAFFERTY: All right, Bob, thank you very much. Bob Stuber, the founder of the Escape School,...

STUBER: You bet.

CAFFERTY: ... with some good advice for all of us when we think about getting away for a couple of weeks on vacation -- Bill.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, absolute great reminders. Thank you, Jack.

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