CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If you hide a spare key under a mat or a rock, your hiding place may not be a big secret to crooks.
Wesley Heights residents received an alert that thieves may be taking hidden keys to get into their homes.
"It is really pretty simple to look and find the key. it is easy for the homeowner, but it's also easy for the thieves," said Julius Ulanday of Security Consultants. "Don't waste time locking your door and putting a dead bolt and doing all this stuff to your door, if you are just going to leave the key outside."
Ulanday installs security systems. He says if you need to leave a spare key for someone, there are many options that won't put you between a rock and a hard place.
"A lot of realtors use this, is basically a lock box key," he said.
Ulanday says you can hang a lock box on your door knob or a banister. You can also mount one on your property permanently.
"You can put in a four-digit code and issue it to up to 100 people," he said. "Hopefully you don't have 100 people with access to your house.
Ulanday said it would cost about $20 and is difficult for a thief to break. He also recommends keyless entry locks. You can give your friends or family a code. or unlock yourself using an app. These locks are sold at big box stores and can be a DIY project or you can have it installed professionally.
Ulanday also recommends a video doorbell. It rings to your cell phone and snaps an image of the person at the door. This can come in handy because believe it or not, most burglars knock first.
"Much safer than a rock for sure," he said.
Home break-ins are down 15 percent this quarter but CMPD is also encouraging residents not to hide keys outdoors.