How To Prevent Home Burglary

When a burglar is casing your home, he looks for five basic requirements. Here's how to prevent burglars in your home.

Unless you have the Hope Diamond or a collection of original Van Gogh artworks in your home, you're unlikely to attract the attention of a criminal mastermind. Most burglars are not geniuses but opportunists who take advantage of a break in security in order to make a quick buck.

In fact, in thirty percent of cases, burglars enter a residence through an OPEN door or window.

So, what do burglars look for when they are casing a home? They have five basic requirements in mind, and with little effort, you can thwart them at every turn. Burglars want:

1. Some assurance that the home is worth robbing. Burglars are especially interested in small items they can grab on the run--expensive jewelry, coin collections, laptop computers, cash, etc.

What you can do:

*Don't leave valuables lying out where they can be viewed from a window.

*Don't let strangers into your home. A burglar may come to the door asking to use your phone, wanting a glass of water, pretending to be a salesman, etc. This is his or her way of looking around to see what you've got before coming back to steal it later. You can simply say a polite but firm no, or if you feel the stranger may need some assistance you can offer to make a phone call while he or she waits on the other side of the closed door.

*Don't brag about any valuables/collectibles you may have. Word gets around.

*Secure or hide valuables in the home. This suggestion is a last resort. Chances are that if a burglar gets into the home, he or she will find a way to get at your valuables. Better to prevent the entry in the first place.

2. Cover. The burglar wants to hide his entrance and will look for a place that is dark or conveniently hidden by shrubs.

What you can do:

*Remove shrubbery from around doors and windows.

*If you simply must have plant life around your house, pick a plant with thorns such as a rose bush.

*Install outdoor lighting.

3. Quiet. A burglar who makes noise is a burglar who attracts unwanted attention.

What you can do:

*Install a motion detector or a home security system. Home security does not have to leave you facing the poorhouse. For relatively little money, you can purchase an alarm that attaches to a door and produces a shrill sound when the door is opened without the proper key or code. Or, you may wish to spend more and purchase an alarm system that is monitored off-site.

*Place a "Beware of Dog" sign in the yard (whether you have a dog or not). The last thing a burglar wants is a dog barking and alerting the entire neighborhood of the attempted robbery.

*Place alarm warning stickers on windows and doors (whether you have an alarm or not). A burglar may suspect that you are bluffing, but few want to find out the hard way.

4. Privacy. Most burglars have no intention of confronting a home owner and will attempt commit their crimes when everybody is safely out of the way.

What you can do:

*If you have a garage, always park your car in the garage with the garage door shut. This way a burglar can't figure out whether or not you're home by watching to see when the garage door is open.

*When you are away from your house, leave lights and a radio or TV on. Better still, install timers so that these appliances will go on and off randomly.

*If you are going to the funeral of a loved one, ask someone to stay in the house while you are gone. Opportunists that they are, burglars sometimes read obituaries and rob the homes of the mourners attending a funeral.

*Limit your conversations about vacations, weekend road trips, business trips, etc. The fewer people who know you're gone, the better.

*If you are going out of town, arrange for lawn care, snow removal, mail and newspaper pickup, etc. Ask a friend you trust or hire a professional.

*Always remember, your home should look the same when you're gone as it does while you're there.

5. Ease of entry. If your locks delay a burglar for as little as five minutes, he or she is likely to give up and look for greener pastures.

What you can do:

*Invest in metal or solid core doors. Composite wood doors are easily kicked in.

*Make sure the hinges are on the inside of your door.

*Install heavy deadbolt locks on each door leading to the outside or the garage.

*Install wide-view peepholes on each door.

*Don't hide a door key outside. No matter how well you think you've concealed it, thieves are all but guaranteed to locate it in little time.

*If you have sliding glass doors, use blocking devices and anti-lift mechanisms. Sliding glass doors are also a good place for alarm warning decals.

*For windows or glass doors, consider using impact resistant or laminated glass.

*Keep unused windows bolted shut.

Burglars operate by weighing the gain of a robbery (money, valuables) against the possible risks (jail). If you follow these simple tips for home security, most burglars will decide that your house is a poor risk indeed.

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