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Crime Prevention : Burglaries

Residential Burglary Prevention Tips

  • The guiding principle of burglary prevention is the following: Make your home more difficult and risky to attempt to enter. A burglar will bypass your home if entry requires too much effort or they risk being identified in the process. The following tips follow this general principle, and many of them do not cost a lot of money.
  • Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks, which are more resistant to twisting, prying, and lock-picking attempts, on all exterior doors. A quality deadbolt lock will have a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used to shear off lock cylinder pins.
  • If you have a sliding door in your house, use a secondary blocking device, such as a slat of wood, behind all sliding glass doors. Keep the latch mechanism in good condition and properly adjusted, as well as the sliding door rollers. Use anti-lift devices such as through-the- door pins or upper track screws.
  • Use highly visible alarm stickers and decals, “beware of dog” decals or neighborhood watch decals on your windows, doors and sliding glass doors.
  • Always remember to LOCK your doors before leaving home, especially garage doors, even if you are not going far or don’t anticipate being gone for long.
  • Open windows, visible from the street, could be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar. Ground floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins. Upper floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. Windows should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside. Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows, and through-the-frame pins work well for vertical sliding windows. For ventilation, block the window open no more than six inches, and make sure someone can't reach in from the outside and remove the blocking device, or reach through and unlock the door.
  • When you are out, do not leave valuables in plain view of windows and sliding glass doors. Car keys especially should be put away, as well as laptops, portable electronics, passports and important documents.
  • Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night. A dark home night-after-night sends the message to burglars that you are away on a trip. Light timers are inexpensive and can be found in most hardware stores. They should be used on a daily basis, not just when you’re away, so that you set up a routine your neighbors can also observe, allowing them to become suspicious when your normally lighted home becomes dark.
  • Exterior lighting is also very important. First, it allows you to see if a threat or suspicious person is lurking in your path. If you can see a potential threat in advance, then you have a chance to avoid it. Secondly, it acts as a deterrent, since criminals do not want to be seen or identified. Exterior lighting needs to bright enough for you to see 100-feet, and should enable you to see colors.
  • Alarm systems are obviously also deterrents, but their main deterrent value comes from the alarm company lawn sign and decals on the windows. These should be visibly displayed. Home and apartment burglars will usually bypass a property with visible alarm signs.
  • Keeping a safe in your home is a wise investment. Home safes are designed to keep the smash-and- grab burglar from gaining access to important documents and personal property. In order to be effective, however, home safes must to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving.
  • Marking or recording your property helps police identify stolen property and return your property to you if recovered. Take pictures of your valuable properties, especially jewellery, and record serial numbers if possible. Then email this information to yourself so that you always have access to it, even if your laptop or other device was also stolen during a burglary. Purchase invisible pens and markers and put your signature on all your electronics. Check the marking periodically to ensure that it is still there. If it is fading, make another one. Scan and store the receipts for your valuables in your emails as well so that you have proof of your ownership and their value. Finally, if possible, consider purchasing property insurance.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Communicate often, and establish trust with each other. Start a neighborhood watch program in your area. Contact your local police station to speak with a neighborhood officer who can help facilitate a watch group. The benefits are manifold. Good neighbors will watch out for your home or apartment when you are away, if you ask them. They can report suspicious activity to the police or to you while you are away. Good neighbors will occasionally park in your driveway to give the appearance of occupancy while you are on vacation. Consider launching neighborhood chat groups through applications like Whatsapp on smart phones than can enable everyone to be in easy and immediate contact.