Our homes can never be 100% safe. One serious crime to which every person is vulnerable is burglary. If someone wants to enter your house, they will find a way inside. What can you do? Slow them down! Every home has the means of slowing down a crook.
Most commonly, burglaries are crimes of opportunity. An open garage door, an accumulation of newspapers or darkened houses in the early evening are open invitations to a would-be burglar. If unattended, keep your garage doors closed. Have a neighbor pick up your newspapers, put a timer on an interior light if you are going to be away, and don't forget to use double key deadbolts on your exterior doors.
Tips to Discourage a Burglar
Remember to report all suspicious activity, and if it can be done safely, record license plates of suspicious vehicles that you may see. The following are some tips to help discourage a would-be burglar.
There are many types of alarms available commercially. The most important factor in selecting an alarm is to determine what your individual needs are and then select an alarm which will best meet these needs.
Always lock doors, windows, and gates.
Thumb Turn Deadlock
A "Thumb Turn Deadlock" can be used on all exterior doors where windows are not in or near the door. Exterior doors should be of "solid core" construction. The bolt should have at least a one inch "case hardened" throw and the strike plate must be attached securely through the door frame into the home structure using at least 1.5 inch "case hardened" screws.
Sliding Glass Doors
The most inexpensive way to secure a sliding glass door is to insert 1.5 inch pan head (large head) sheet metal screws into the top of the door frame at both ends and in the middle. In addition, insert a dowel stick into the door track. This will keep the door from being lifted and removed from the track and from being forced open. The most effective protection for this type of door is a sliding bolt with a locking device.
Double Hung Sash Windows
An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert a nail or an eye bolt. The window can't be opened until you remove the nail. Make a second set of holes with windows partly open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders. Eye bolts can provide strong resistance against jimmying. If you live in a high crime area, it might be best to use them.
Casement or Louvered Windows
Removing the crank handle when the window is closed will offer some protection by preventing the entire window from being opened once one section is removed. When the handle is removed, keep it at least forty inches away from the window so that it is out of the burglar's reach.
To prevent a burglar from concealing activities, exterior lighting should be installed to illuminate all doors and windows. Numerous commercial ornamental and functional lights are available with sensors or timers which will turn the lights on and off.
Thick foliage provides the burglar with a place to work undetected. Keep shrubs away from all doors and windows. Large trees near the house should be well pruned so that the tree will not provide access to the second floor of the residence.
Keep all ladders locked inside the garage when not being used. Make your home look like someone is there even when you are gone by having the grass cut in summer months and the snow removed from the sidewalk and driveway in winter months.
Do not display your name on the mailbox. A burglar will be able to locate your telephone number from it and call your house to see if you are home.
Remember to always keep your garage door closed. This will prevent thefts from your garage. When it is left open, a burglar can tell by the number of cars who is and who is not at home. Once a burglar is inside the garage, he can work on your house or property undetected.
The insertion of an inexpensive door viewer will allow you to determine in advance whether the door should be opened for an otherwise unknown person ringing your bell.
Your best security device is your neighbors. Arrangements should be made with your neighbors to report any person or condition which is not consistent with the neighborhood. Statistics show that in neighborhoods where residents are concerned with their mutual safety crime rates are lower.
Advise your neighbors when you will be gone for an extended period of time. Ask them to report anything out of the ordinary to the police immediately.
The best lock available will not prevent a burglary if the security of the key is neglected. An experienced burglar is aware of the common places a resident chooses to conveniently "hide" a house key. Instead of trying to hide a house key, trust a neighbor and give them the extra key for your house.
Remember to remove other keys from your ring when cars are taken in for service and left in parking lots. Burglars have been known to duplicate house keys while the resident never realized what happened. If you return home and you find a door or window unexpectedly left open or broke, do not go in. Call the police immediately.