Are you concerned about getting locked out, so hide a key in a baggey in a safe spot near the front door? Do you like to leave windows open a little to let in the nice fresh air? Have you ever forgotten to lock and secure the sliding glass door?
Burglars break in to 65,000 American homes per year. That’s a scary statistic, but you don’t have to become part of it if you know how to protect yourself, your family and your valuables.
How to Buglar-Proof Your Home
l Think that hollow plastic rock out front where you keep your key fools anyone? Never leave keys in hiding places outside the house. It’s a burglar’s job to know where to look.
l Always keep your garage door closed and locked. Don’t leave it open the three inches for the cat to go in and out. If the cat can crawl under it, so can a burglar.
l If you have bushes or hedges around your house, keep them well-trimmed so burglars can’t hide from the neighbors while trying to break in.
l Plant prickly, thorny shrubs or bushes under windows to discourage prowlers.
l Bright lights outside around all doors and window discourage break ins. Install motion triggered lights around corners of the home.
l When you’re away, be sure to make it look as if someone’s home—put some inside lamps on a timer. Ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail. Arrange to have your lawn cut while you’re away.
l Install a solid core or metal-clad door fitted with both inside hinge pins and a minimum one-inch throw deadbolt lock.
l If you must have decorative window panels on either side of a door, be sure that they’re made of unbreakable glass.
l Doors with windows require a double key deadbolt. The key to a double key deadbolt should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home, in case of a fire or emergency.
l Secure garage doors with cane bolts and hasps.
l Door hinges should always be inside the home to prevent them being removed from the outside.
l Install a peep hole in the front door.
l Double hung windows can also be secured with the pin. Drill a hole at an angle through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window, then insert the pin.
l Padlocks should be used on your garage doors, storage sheds, fence gates, or tool boxes.
l Secure crank Windows by drilling a hole through the latch frame and handle, then insert a metal pin or nail through the hole to lock the window in place.
l Don’t forget to lock the doors when you leave. One-quarter of all burglaries occur due to a door or window left unlocked.
l Visit the Crime Prevention Unit at your local police station. They usually have booklets, pamphlets, and pertinent information to help you burglar-proof your home. Many police departments will send an officer to your home to evaluate the likelihood that you’ll be burglarized, by identifying security leaks. They will also come to homeowners or neighborhood meetings to encourage neighbor awareness and cooperation to protect against home burglaries and assist in joining Operation Identification (which reduces the chances of a home being burglarized by 50 percent.)
l Engrave all valuables with your social security number. Engravers are available from each Crime Prevention Unit for a modest deposit fee.
l Place Operation Identification stickers on doors and windows.
l Record the home address, social security number, and telephone number with the Police Department and this information will be put onto the NCIC computer system. Confiscated property can then be traced back to the owner.
l Make a videotape of your valuables.
l Be aware of the times when burglars are most likely to strike—Easter, for example, or Mother’s Day, when a lot of folks are at church and then go out for brunch. This leaves a long interval for burglars to hit many houses on a street. Take extra precautions on those days.
l Never carry duplicate sets of keys in your purse, briefcase or car. If your purse or car is stolen, which usually contains identification and home address, you might as well have just handed a key to the burglar personally.
l Never leave a ladder outside or proper against the house.
l Don’t leave notes on the door saying “Be right back!”
l If you have a keypad garage door, reprogram the code.
l Never leave your garage door opener visible in your car.
l Even if you can’t afford a burglar alarm or a security service, you can still put a sticker in a window indicating that you do have an alarm.
l Pull drapes and shades at night. Leaving them open is like being on a lighted stage in a dark theater, you and your belongings are clearly visible. Leave a light burning through the night.