It's no secret that crime is increasing every year and is invading what once were considered "safe communities." Burglary occurs on the average of 20 times a minute with an estimated $1,000 loss for each occurrence. Most burglaries could be avoided if homeowners would take some basic, common sense precautions."
Single family homes are twice as likely to be burglarized than apartments. While receiving a lot of publicity when it happens, hotels and motels account for less than 3% of all burglaries. The most likely things to be stolen in a burglary are cash, small electronic equipment, home computers, cameras, jewelry, furs, tools and hand guns.
Few people really bother about security until something happens to them or a neighbor. The public's complacent attitude is the burglar's best friend and your worst enemy. There are many things the average person can do to make their home less of a target. This report will get you started on the right road. Remember, the two things a burglar fears most are being seen and having to take too much time to complete the crime.
While burglars typically "target" a home when no one is home, if you surprise one in the act, your chances of being injured are too high to attempt to intervene. A sobering statistic shows many homeowners attempting to defend (themselves, family members, or their property) with a weapon end up having it turned on themselves.
A SECURITY SURVEY
Sometimes off-duty police officers will complete a security survey for a nominal fee. A few words of caution are in order if you have some third party security company do a survey for you. Many of course will do a free survey to get their foot in your door and try and sell you their security devices. So be forewarned that a locksmith will probably try and sell you better locks, an alarm company a security system and so on. So use common sense.
PUT YOURSELF IN A BURGLAR'S SHOES
One thing every homeowner should do at least twice a year is take a walk around and through your property with a close friend or neighbor who is not too familiar with your house. Start outside and ask yourself "how would I best break in? The purpose of not doing it alone is your pal may spot things you'll overlook. Return the favor and complete a survey for your friend.
Besides the obvious "lived-in" look, don't get into a habit of doing certain things only when you're not home. Chances are good that you can tell when your neighbor isn't home. Remember it's a burglar's job to know the same things. Most professional criminals can tell nobody's home at least four or five houses away.
Several dead giveaways are always closing the drapes ONLY when you're not home. Having no garbage cans out collection day, or an empty can sitting at the curb, are tip-offs you're not home. So are closing up the house as tight as a drum in the hot summer months without the air-conditioner running. Turning on a certain light or two and every other room is in total darkness. Ditto for picking up all the kid's toys, taking in the dog, shutting the garage door if you frequently leave it open, and turning off the lawn sprinkler.
Many people before leaving turn on the "burglar light, " the light over the kitchen sink. You might as well hang a sign on the front door you're not home! If you use an answering machine never leave a message that you're not home. Instead say you can't come to the phone right now. If you don't have a machine, turn down the volume on phones before leaving so they can't be heard from outside - another dead giveaway that nobody's home.
EFFECTIVE BURGLAR DETERRENTS
You've probably head it several times and it's true! A dog is one of the best deterrents. Not because it's vicious, it need not even be seen, but it has to be heard. A dog with a menacing bark will scare away a lot of would-be burglars, not only because they don't know what kind of dog you have and what risk it would be to them if try tried to break in, but more likely because a noisy dog will create a disturbance and get attention - the last thing a burglar wants!
If you don't have a dog there's nothing stopping you from pretending. A Beware of Dog sign on your fence, a dog house in the back yard, even a loose dog chain or bowl can drive away a potential burglar. Don't be fooled by companies that provide cheap electronic "dogs" who bark none stop if a intruder trips a relay or otherwise signals his presence. Most experienced prowlers are familiar with these devices and won't be fooled or scared off.
Electronic devices that are effective besides the typical whole house alarm systems for windows and doors are infrared or motion detectors that sense movement or the heat given off by one's body. Anyone approaching too close will trigger any number of attached devices. The most effective are powerful lights or burglar horns that either flood the area with light or fill the air with a deafening sound without notice. Just like a barking dog, the would-be burglar will usually hightail it out of there for fear of being discovered.
To be effective, the sensitivity of such devices much not be set too high or stray animals will set them off too frequently which will get you on the wrong side of your neighbors. Also be sure such devices are high enough that they can't be easily turned off or broken.