Most burglaries can be prevented by the use of good locks, a few tools and simple precautions.
While no home can be made totally burglarproof, people need not live with undue fear. Everyone can take effective and practical steps to make their homes more secure. If the doors and windows of your home are locked and the doors are strong enough to resist a quick kick, the culprit will probably look for an easier target. Be Systematic - Look for the Obvious.
Begin with these steps:
Step 1: Start with your neighborhood. This is your first line of defense.
Step 2: Look at your yard and neighborhood areas from the burglar’s point of view
- Burglars don't like watchful neighbors who are collectively interested in the security of their neighborhoods. Join or start a Block Watch program.
- There is strength in numbers and a hundred sets of eyes will certainly see more than just one set.
Step 3: Look at the outside of your house.
- Trim trees and bushes that could hide burglars.
- Pay particular attention to trees growing near your house. Could a burglar climb a tree to get onto the roof, then enter through an unlocked upper story window?
- Keep your yard maintained to give the house a lived-in appearance. Cut grass, rake leaves, remove dead branches and debris.
- Install outside lights to brighten dark areas around doors or windows.
Step 4: Simple steps will make your house appear lived in when you are away for extended periods.
- Make sure emergency personnel can easily see your address from the street, even at night. Then check your doors, windows and other outside openings.
Step 5: When at Home
- Arrange to have your mail picked up and consider stopping newspapers at least one day before you leave to be certain your request was received.
- Remember to have the grass cut, the leaves raked or the snow removed as necessary.
- Use timers on a few lamps in rooms where the light will be noticed from outside the house.
- Have a neighbor check both inside and outside the house every few days. Ask them to pick up items delivered while you are away.
- If you have a clearly designated outside parking space (as is the case in many townhouse neighborhoods), ask a neighbor to park their car in your space sometimes.
Step 6: Garage
- When in your back yard lock your front door and vice versa.
- Arm your alarm system
- When in the home, it is a good idea to keep your doors locked.
- Consider keeping your blinds/curtains closed at night because people can see in and you can't see out.
- Garages are a favorite target for burglars. Be sure windows are curtained so thieves can't look for items to steal or check to see if your car is there. The door between your house and attached garage should swing inward, be solid core and have a deadbolt lock.
- Keep your garage locked, even when you are at home.
- If the overhead garage door is roller and track operated, install a lock in the track to block the roller and disconnect your automatic garage door opener before you go on vacation.
- Secure your other garage doors with deadbolts.
- Install lights near your garage to keep the area lit. Also, leave your headlights on until you park in the garage. If possible, have a remote control garage door opener installed. This will allow you to stay in your locked car until you’re inside your locked garage. Be sure the overhead door closes completely after you drive into or out of your garage.
- Do not enter the house in case the burglar is still there. Use a neighbor’s telephone to call the police by dialing 9-1-1. Watch your house until the police arrive.
- Do not touch anything until the police have finished checking your house.
- Give the police a list of serial numbers of missing items so they can return your property to you if it is found.
Unfortunately, break and enter (B&E) is a very common Major Crime. Given sufficient time and resources, a thief can gain entry to most homes. Most break-ins are crimes of “opportunity” and relatively unsophisticated in nature. Thieves will seek out the easiest opportunity or point of entry to gain access to a home. A burglar’s worst enemies are time, noise and light. It is important to recognize what could be an opportunity to a criminal and Take Action to “target harden” your home. This can discourage most burglars from attempting a break-in.