Carl Monday: 20-cent solution to make your home safer from burglars

Carl Monday: 20-cent solution to make your home safer from burglars

SOUTH RUSSELL, OH (WOIO) - It happens in neighborhoods across America every 13 seconds.  There are 2 million break-ins a year.  Two out of every three of those happen at someone's home.

Chief Investigator Carl Monday tracked burglaries for the past year in Cleveland and 15 other local communities.  No city is completely safe.  No home is burglar proof.

"Nothing can guarantee that your house will be 100 percent invulnerable," said South Russell Police Officer Michael Kramer.

He was conducting a security assessment for a resident of the village.  He said there's plenty you can do to minimize chances of becoming a victim.

He offered some practical suggestions for the homeowner, like making the home more visible for first responders and making the property less appealing
to a burglar.

Something as simple as replacing the screws in your door frames with longer ones can make it tougher to break in.  It's a 20-cent solution.  But it doesn't replace a good security system.

"They're very effective, they're very common and are very helpful," Kramer said.
But as Monday found, every security system has its limitations.  Even one costing several thousand dollars can be compromised, especially if it's connected to your Wi-Fi.

Monday and his team met up with Benjamin Brooks, a security consultant for SecureState, a local cyber security company.  With the permission of a homeowner, we asked Brooks to try and break into the home by cracking the Wi-Fi security code, using his company laptop, a cheap antenna and a special wireless card.

Within an hour, Brooks secured a virtual key to the homeowners front door.  From the palm of his hand, he disables the door lock and walks right through the front door.  Thousands of dollars in home security equipment, easily hijacked.  Brooks says he could drive through any neighborhood, and target a vulnerable security system up to a quarter mile away, from the front seat of his car.

He suggests homeowners with systems connected to Wi-Fi use a more sophisticated password and a voiceprint.  Or simply, "turn off your Wi-Fi,"
said Brooks.

Even if you can't stop a burglary in progress, you'll want to catch them in the act, on camera.  One popular security camera and motion sensor doubles as a doorbell.  Ring, the company that makes the doorbell system, sent Monday a ringing endorsement of its product: Videos of homeowners who caught burglars in the act of breaking in.

You can even monitor who's at your door from your cell phone, from anywhere you have cell service.  In the end, even in the relatively secure confines of South Russell, we all want to make our homes as safe as possible.

Officer Kramer adds, "You live in a good place and a safe place.  But even in those kinds of places, anything can happen anywhere."

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