Don't Give Burglars a Helping Hand
Most home burglars are amateurs looking for easy targets. They're looking for homes that present the least risk of detection, the greatest potential for gain, and the maximum opportunity for escape. They're looking for homes that appear unoccupied and unprotected, are without adequate locks or lighting, have open or unlocked doors and windows, and that provide easy concealment from neighbors and passers-by.
Unfortunately, the burglar doesn't need to look around very long to discover "Welcome Burglar" signs unwittingly left around many homes. It is even more unfortunate when you realize that all it takes to make your home less inviting to a burglar are several easy, effective, and inexpensive crime prevention measures. By following the following suggestions, you can decrease your chances of becoming a burglary victim.
Look at your home through a burglar's eyes. Does it look like an easy target? Are there obvious security weaknesses?
Survey Your Home's Exterior
Don't let landscaping cover doors and windows. Keep shrubs trimmed low to prevent easy concealment by an intruder. Consider using prickly plants as hedges for an additional barrier.
Consider high efficiency lighting such as high pressure sodium which emits a golden light, low pressure sodium which emits a yellow color light, or mercury vapor which emits a purplish-white light.
Additional lighting tips include:
- Mount lights to the eaves with an automatic timer.
- Have lighting on all four sides of your home.
- Keep your present lights in working order and turned on after dark.
- Ensure that bulbs are bright enough.
- Consult an electrician for installment and proper maintenance.
- Photoelectric cells can be added to lights to automatically turn them off and on.
Learn About Locks
Don't forget to lock up! Even the best locks provide no protection if left unlocked. Securely lock your home even if you plan to be away for only a few minutes.
Crime Prevention experts recommend deadbolt locks to provide the security needed for exterior doors. For a deadbolt lock to be effective, the door frame needs to be made of heavy wood or metal, and the strike plate area (pictured left) should be reinforced by installing a standard 8" long high-security strike plate with extra long screws (3" to 4"). The bolt should extend at least one inch into the door-frame to provide adequate security.
When you move to a new home, or if you lose your house keys, contact a locksmith to change the tumblers inside the lock. The change can be done quickly and inexpensively, and it makes your old or lost keys useless.
Garage / Sliding Glass Doors
Open garage doors attract burglars. Make a habit of keeping garage doors closed and locked. An open door with no car in sight is a clear invitation to a burglar, especially if the garage is used to store such items as bicycles, power mowers, garden tools, and other easily stolen property.
Sliding glass doors are particularly vulnerable to attacks by burglars. Sliding glass doors need to be protected from both lifting and prying.
Other Security Don'ts
- Don't open your home to strangers. A wide-angle door viewer or peephole installed in your front door allows you to see who is outside without opening the door. Ask for positive identification from repairmen or solicitors who claim to have business inside your home. If you are suspicious about the visitor, telephone his/her office.
- Don't leave a repair or service person alone in your home.
- Don't leave notes outside your residence announcing your absence.
- Don't leave an extra key hidden outside your home.
- Don't leave your house keys with your car keys. Lost or stolen house keys that contain your name or license number can be easily traced to your front door.
- Don't display personal information with house keys. Lost or stolen house keys that contain your name or license number can be easily traced to your front door.
- Don't keep large sums of cash or easily stolen valuables such as jewelry unprotected in your home. Place items seldom used or needed in a safe deposit box or a home safe, and the rest in places that are not obvious.