LED vs. plasma? The type of TV doesn't matter to thieves; tips to protect your home

You wanted a new television and did the research between LCD vs. LED vs. plasma TV. You asked your friends the benefits of their LCD vs. plasma vs. LED TVs. Once at the store, you asked the sales associate to talk about the quality and prices and narrowed it down to LCD vs. plasma. You finally chose a plasma TV, and with the TV finally purchased, you head home, set it up and take the box out to the curb with the rest of the trash. And that was your first mistake.

Whenever you purchase electronics or expensive items, take precautions to keep it away from prying eyes. Thieves love to check out parking lots for people who made big purchases or follow people home who have valuables in their car. Keep your expensive electronics out of view in your vehicle. If your new TV doesn't fit in the car trunk, cover it with a blanket in the back of your pickup or SUV. When you get home, pull your vehicle into the garage, and close the door. Wait to take the TV out of the vehicle until any passerby can't see you.

Once you have the TV set up and have filed the warranty, user's guide and receipt, cut off any bar codes you may need for a manufacturer's rebate, then immediately break down the box and put it in a garbage bag. Place the bag in the trash bin and cover it with more trash throughout the week before setting it out on the curb. If there's a cardboard TV box visible in your trash, people will notice, especially thieves. For insurance purposes, take a photo of the TV and jot down the serial number and any other specifics that aren't immediately obvious, such as whether it's an LCD, LED, plasma or 3-D TV and what its size is. Though you think this information is obvious and easy to remember, such specs are hard to recall for sure once the receipt is gone and the TV isn't in front of you anymore. 

It's not just about things

Stolen electronics can be replaced. But don't forget that your family's safety is a large consideration in staving off thieves. You don't want anyone breaking into your home to steal your electronics and traumatizing or physically harming your family. To keep everyone and everything safe, follow some simple safety tips.

When you can, leave a vehicle in the driveway to make people think you're home when you're not. This is especially important when you're on vacation. Burglars are less likely to enter a home if they think people are inside. Install timers on lights and appliances. If the lights and TV are on, people will think you're home. Vary the times and days you program the lights and TV to be on.

Thieves want to get in, get your stuff and leave. The longer it takes to get in, the less likely a thief will burglarize your home. So make sure all windows and doors are locked when you're not home. Make it difficult for a thief to see any valuables. Shut the blinds and draw curtains before you leave the house.

Let your light shine. Place solar lights along the walkway. Trim shrubbery and add lighting to minimize the places where thieves can hide from passersby. Set up motion-sensing lights. Install an alarm system. You can call your local police department or crime watch group for more tips. Following these and other tips will help you keep your property and, mostly importantly, your family safer.

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