As the New England economy continues to climb out of a recession, Netwatch USA, a full-service remote visual surveillance company with expertise combating copper and materials theft across four continents, announces six tips to prevent vacant or foreclosed homes from falling victim to copper theft or potential occupation by trespassers or squatters.
Metal theft continues to attract thieves across the country. Among the targets most often hit are recently foreclosed and vacated homes. These sites pose challenges to owners and banks who attempt to ward off would-be copper thieves, squatters and intruders. While unsalable homes are still a relatively small part of the national inventory of foreclosed properties, the Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that the worse the economy is in a particular region, the more damaged and vandalized foreclosed homes are likely to be.
The tips offered by Netwatch USA to protect vacated homes are:
• Keep up with lawn care and exterior maintenance. This will not only increase curb appeal once it’s ready to sell, it will also let would-be trespassers know that the house is regularly visited and may, in fact, be inhabited. Be sure to keep gutters clean, snow shoveled, and the lawn mowed. Be sure to remove all ladders and tools after maintenance to prevent them from being used for break-ins.
• Park a car in the driveway. If you have an extra car, keeping it in the driveway can be enough to make the house look inhabited. You may also want to ask a trusted neighbor to park in the driveway.
• Invest in automatic interior and exterior lights. Keeping pathways, doorways, and interiors well-light may scare off potential burglars. Consider automatic lights for the exterior and lights on timers for the interior.
• Lock up your circuit breaker. Effective lighting and certain surveillance equipment requires electricity, so lock the door to your circuit breaker. If kept unlocked, thieves can easily access the breaker and cut off the electricity, therefore disabling lighting and some traditional burglar alarms. To minimize electrical fire risk, turn off all unnecessary electrical circuits.
• Manage where the vacant property’s address is published. Until the property is ready to sell, keep the address as private as possible. Thieves will access lists of vacant homes which will make it easier and more efficient for them to find and break-in to homes.
• Check that you have the correct type of insurance. Confirm with your insurance company to see if your policy needs to change now that the property is vacant. More often than not, carrying construction companies’ risk policy will adequately cover you from copper theft and vandals.
“Abandoned homes are, by their nature, a challenge to protect and are especially vulnerable to copper thieves,” said Netwatch CEO David Walsh. “Simply nailing plywood to windows and doors is not enough to scare off intruders and can easily be removed by saws and pry bars. Protecting your property with an effective surveillance system along with proper security measures will discourage potential copper thieves. "
Netwatch provides real-time remote security monitoring to homes and businesses in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the USA. Intervention Specialists at the Netwatch Communications Hub direct operations through remote CCTV monitoring and intervene as soon as a security is breached alerting the intruders to the fact that they are being watched and that the police have been informed.
About Netwatch USA
Established in 2003, Netwatch monitors in excess of 27,000 cameras across the globe, from its Communication Hub. Netwatch was the first company worldwide to combine specialist video processing technologies with satellite communications to provide safe, preventative, immediate and cost effective protection solutions for clients. With more than 35,000 crimes prevented since start-up, the Netwatch system deploys the most advanced video processing technologies to alert its Communication Hub to unacceptable behavior on a clients' property. Live personalized audio warnings are issued to intruders preventing criminal activity. Heavily invested in R&D, Netwatch is committed to remaining the leader in the field of remote visual surveillance and thanks to the vast advancements in its proprietary software (Veritas externally and Cratos internally), Netwatch now operates in four continents with clients across Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the USA.