Don't Attract Burglars To Your Home
by Ruby Bayan
We build our homes so that we can have a comfortable place to call our own – a private dwelling where we can relax and appreciate our assets, the fruits of our labor. Unfortunately, there is such a group of undesirable individuals called burglars – thieves whose mission in life is to infringe on our privacy and rob us of our precious possessions.
Some properties are more attractive to burglars than others -- a home can be a chosen target because of how it looks, how secure or protected it is, and how its residents behave. Therefore, with sufficient awareness on what motivates robbers to zero in on a particular home, as well as serious efforts to implement home security, you can succeed in keeping the robbers away.
Secure Your House
Here are tips on how to make your residence less attractive to burglars:
- Stay within the home embellishment level of your vicinity. Standing out as the best looking, most expensively designed and landscaped property in your neighborhood calls attention to burglars. Keep a conforming, if not low profile in the neighborhood. Blend in.
- Install visible deterrents. Aside from putting up fences and automatic porch and garden lights, many homes post “Beware of Dog” signs to discourage intruders. But sometimes these measures, and even real and vicious dogs, don’t hinder determined thieves. Storm windows, however, generally do. These windows are made of two to three panes of glass that are tough to shatter and make a lot of noise when smashed -- entry becomes difficult, if not conspicuous. Another visible deterrent is a lawn placard that says “This Property Protected by Acme Security System”. It helps if an alarm system is actually installed.
- Install an alarm system. Don’t wait until you get robbed before you purchase an alarm system. But if you have been successfully burgled, the message to thieves is that your property can be penetrated. Unless you have taken measures to prevent another break-in and installed an alarm system as added precaution, you can count on the thieves victimizing you again after you have recouped your losses.
- Lock your doors and bolt your windows. As common sense as it sounds, locking doors and bolting windows are efficient ways to prevent housebreakers from coming in. Reinforce or replace your hollow doors with solid wood or steel and secure them with double deadbolts for good measure. And whatever the weather, never let your windows and shutters say “this way in” -- the discreet entrance favorites of burglars are cellar, bathroom, backroom and exhaust windows. Also, keep your garage door locked, and be sure to secure the door that connects your home to your garage.
- Don’t reveal that you’re not home. If you’re going away for an extended period of time, don’t announce it to the world. Load your bags in your car at night or while inside a closed garage. You can install timers that will turn your lights on and off at night to simulate that someone is inside. Or you can advise a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your house, and gather the newspaper from your porch and the mail from your mailbox, while you’re away. Getting a responsible house sitter is another option.
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Sometimes we are just a little too friendly with acquaintances that we unwittingly reveal information that motivates burglars to break in. Here are precautions to take:
- Don’t reveal family schedules. Be wary about sharing information, however casually, regarding your family’s whereabouts, especially the times when no one will be home. Delivery persons, sales people, and installation and repair crews may be acquainted with thieves and your friendly banter about going on vacation or being away on a particular time could tip them. And never leave a note on your door about your timetables.
- Allow only invited guests into your home. Open-house parties and neighborhood events are blanket invitations to strangers who crash your party to case your house. If the burglary doesn’t happen during the party itself, you can be sure these criminal-minded strangers will have discovered how to break in and taken note of what to steal.
- Don’t be scammed. Door-to-door special offers and unsolicited phone calls are often used by thieves to find out when you’re home or not. When you do answer their calls, they ask when they can talk with you about their product. In fact, they just want to know when you won’t be around, which is when they do make their “calls”. Be careful with whatever information you give away.
Don’t Flaunt Your Valuables
You’ll never know when a burglar is watching and imagining what neat and expensive stuff you have in your home. Therefore:
For more home security tips:
- Unload new appliances and electronic gizmos inside a closed garage.
- Don’t leave the boxes that your new gadgets came in sitting and calling attention in front of your home. Break the boxes down or tear them up and dispose of them discreetly.
- Draw your curtains, blinds, or shades at night because after nightfall and with indoor lighting, the interior of your home becomes more visible from outside. Noticing your expensive items and decorations, a thief can be motivated to explore your home and feast on your valuables.
National Crime Prevention Council: http://www.ncpc.org/1sec1dc.htm
[First published at New2USA.com, 2000]