Break-ins: Is your home an invitation for burglars?

Break-ins, burglar

Since the arrival of deadbolts around 1960, burglars have become more creative when planning break-ins. However, FBI Uniform Crime Reports show that more than a million U.S. residents fall victim to burglars each year. One in four homes has electronic security systems.  It typically includes superior lock technology, reinforced glass and private security neighborhood patrols. However, some say if a burglar wants to get in, he will. Therefore, it might be useful to look at a list of uncomplicated steps you can take to discourage burglars.

break-ins, Door, Bolt

Think like a burglar to prevent break-ins

Thinking of break-ins brings to mind thieves in the night. However, the chances of this happening are higher during the daytime hours while you are at work. Interestingly, the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that about four in ten residential break-ins don’t involve forced entry. Many burglars are patient, and they watch homes for days to learn when and how to break in. How safe is your home? Open your blinds and curtains and take a stroll in a burglar’s shoes around your house. Take note of what is visible from the outside that would motivate a burglar to choose your home.

Bicycle, house
Chain the bicycle

Showing off could invite break-ins

Teach your children to chain their scooters or bicycles, or park them securely in the garage. Burglars judge the contents of your home by observing what goes on. What do you do with boxes and packaging materials for new electronics? For example, leaving the box of a new plasma screen TV in your recycling bin or trash can be like advertising. Imagine how much Mr. Thief will get for your brand new electronics on the street. You can be sure that they will want to explore your home to find other high-value merchandise.

Sliding door, suspect character
Secure sliding doors

Take steps to secure sliding windows and doors

Older type sliding doors are easy to pop off their frames. Place a steel bar or a sturdy dowel in the groove to prevent an uninvited guest sliding the door back. Locking windows is best, but hammering in a pin or nail to allow only a small opening can make entering from the outside just a bit more complicated. If you make the stopper removable, you can open the window as far as you want, and replace the pin to secure it when you go out. Also, make sure to add additional stoppers if you have air conditioning units in the windows.

Break-ins, Signpost, neighborhood watch

Advertise a home security system

Even if it is fake, put a sign in your yard to trick burglars. Also, make sure all the sides of your home are lit up at night, so as not to leave dark hiding spots. Moreover, leave a light or some music on in your home during the day to create the illusion that someone is at home. Tricking the burglars in this way doesn’t guarantee no break-ins, but it might give them second thoughts.

Home, trees, shrubs
Trim shrubs and trees

Secure your yard to prevent break-ins

Do not create hiding places or opportunities to sneak up to your house. Trim bushy shrubs in front of windows, and remove tree branches that could make it easy to access the upper story. Most importantly, trimmed bushes and tree branches will limit the hiding spots in your yard.

Tree, key
Don’t hide spare key in obvious places

The doormat is not for hiding spare keys

A pot plant or doormat has become the obvious place to look for a spare key. Leaving a spare key with a trustworthy neighbor or friend is a much better idea. Further, never tag your house key with your address or any other information. If you lose it, the one who finds it will know where to use it.

Break-ins, house keys

Know your neighbors

Neighborhood watch groups certainly lower crime rates and reduce break-ins. Moreover, it is always a good idea to learn to know your closest neighbors on all sides. Having mutual arrangements to watch each other’s properties will provide an extra layer of protection.

 

Don’t advertise that you’re on vacation

Overflowing mailboxes and mountains of newspapers outside your door are telltale signs that you are on vacation. Break-ins escalate during the summer vacation months. The best is to get a house sitter while you are away. However, arranging with your neighbors and neighborhood patrol services to keep a lookout is also a good idea. You can even inform the police that you’ll be away, and ask them to patrol the area.

Mailbox, door
Arrange for somebody to empty your mailbox

Arrange for someone to collect your mail and newspapers, and it may be wise to arrange for someone to mow your lawn. If you go on vacation in the wintertime, having someone shovel the snow from your driveway will make your absence less obvious.

Lastly, but equally important is to ask the police to visit your property and assess the safety and identify vulnerable areas.

 

 

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