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Burglary Prevention

Burglary Prevention

Whether you live in a rural or urban setting, every home in every neighborhood is a target for burglary. Most homes contain valuables that are very attractive to burglars: televisions, stereos, cash and computers. Justice Department statistics say that an average family has a one-in-four chance of being the victim of a serious crime each year. Even worse, burglary is often compounded by violence. Listed below are some sound tips to help you protect your family and home.

  • If exterior doors are hollow-core, replace them with solid wood, fiberglass or steel.
  • Make sure exterior door hinges are on the inside rather than the outside – where an intruder can remove the pins and pull the door out of the frame.
  • If you have double-hung windows, bolt the upper and lower sashes together or insert a metal bar in the track to prevent opening.
  • To secure sliding glass doors, add a bolt lock or use a “charley bar” to block the door closed.
  • Use bars to secure basement or garage doors and add bars to basement windows.
  • Most home burglaries occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., so get in the habit of locking all doors and windows whenever you go out.
  • Invest in high-quality, name-brand deadbolt locks for all exterior doors.
  • If you have a double-cylinder deadbolt that is operated by a key both inside and out, keep the key near the door so every family member can find it and exit quickly in case of fire.
  • Alarm systems are an effective deterrent. Nine out of ten convicted burglars agree they’d avoid a house protected by an alarm system.
  • Security system decals and signs are also an effective deterrent.
  • According to the FBI, more burglaries occur in July and August than in any other months.
  • Make sure your security system includes a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas.
  • Never leave an answering machine message indicating you’re not at home. Instead, just say you “can’t come to the phone.”
  • Use timers to turn lights, televisions and sound systems on and off at different times to give your home a “lived-in look” when you are away.
  • Install motion-detecting outdoor floodlights around your home. Remember to mount them high enough to prevent intruders from disabling them.
  • If there’s a Neighborhood Watch Program in your community, join it. If there’s not, start one. Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to your local police.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • If you have elderly or incapacitated friends or relatives, check to make sure their security devices are all in good working order.
  • Some burglars scan newspapers for wedding and funeral announcements and special community and holiday events that might take you out of your home, so be especially careful on these occasions.
  • Don’t let mail, newspapers or flyers accumulate while you’re away, tipping off criminals. Have the post office hold mail, have newspapers suspended, and have a neighbor or friend clear away flyers.
  • To a burglar, an empty trash can may mean you’re away. Keep some trash on hand, and consider asking a neighbor to set out trash for pick-up at your house.
  • Don’t leave valuables in sight through windows, where they will tempt burglars.
  • Use an etching pen to mark an ID number, like your driver’s license number, on valuables.
  • Make an inventory of valuables in your household and store it somewhere other than your home, such as in a safe deposit box.
  • Leave curtains slightly parted so your house doesn’t have an empty look.
  • Never open the door to a stranger. Install peepholes in all exterior doors so you can identify whoever is outside. Do not rely on a door safety chain, because these can be broken easily.
  • Ask for I.D. from service representatives who come to your home, and if they don’t have it, check with their company to verify identity before letting them in.
  • If you’re planning to go away, be careful whom you tell.
  • When vacationing, leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbor to keep a car there and move it around from time to time.
  • Have someone mow your lawn, rake leaves and shovel snow while you are away.
  • Prune overgrown trees and shrubs to eliminate hiding places for intruders.
  • Many garage door openers respond to common codes, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions to program yours with a unique code no burglar’s opener will match.
  • Keep your garage door locked at all times, preferably with a deadbolt lock.
  • Thieves always look in mailboxes, under doormats and above doorways for keys. Don’t make it easy for them to get into your home.
  • Don’t put your name or address on your key ring, because it might lead a thief right to your door with key in hand.
  • When having a car parked or serviced, leave only the car keys.
  • If there’s any chance a previous resident may still have keys to your house, re-key the locks.

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