A break-in can shatter your feeling of safety at home forever. In the U.S. a home is burglarized once every 15 seconds. The good news is it is one of the most preventable crimes. Taking a few simple steps and learning about how a criminal chooses a target can decrease your chances of becoming a victim.
What do most burglars look for?
- Something worth stealing.
- Easy access and low visibility.
- A house where nobody is home.
How can I prevent break-ins?
- Make your home look occupied all the time.
- Use automatic timers on lights when you are away.
- Always park your cars in the garage, and with the garage door shut. A burglar may otherwise notice a pattern that a closed garage door or no cars in the driveway means no one is home.
- Never leave notes on your door that can tip off burglars.
Make your house look the same whether you are away or at home.
- Have a trusted neighbor pick up the mail and newspaper. If possible, do not have either stopped. That gives information about you being away from home to people you don't know.
- If away for an extended period, have a plan in place to have the grass mowed or snow shoveled.
- If you are away from home on garbage pickup day, ask a trusted neighbor to put your garbage cans out to the street and take them back in.
- Even if you don't need specific help, always tell a trusted neighbor if you are going to be gone for a few days.
Don't give would-be burglars a place to hide!
- Make sure there is good lighting around your home, especially around where you park.
- Install motion detector lights around your house instead of just leaving lights on all night. The lights coming on and turning off attract the attention of neighbors.
- Remove bushes and shrubs from around the house, especially under windows and next to doors.
- Install a security alarm system with a loud alarm and/or flashing lights.
Use common sense:
- Always lock all doors and windows when you leave the house.
- Use a peephole to identify visitors before opening your door.
- Do not hide spare keys outside your house, instead give one to a trusted neighbor.
- Do not invite strangers into your home.
- Do not have money or jewelry lying out in view from a window. If possible, keep jewelry and other small valuables and important documents in a safe deposit box.
- Avoid telling others about the valuables in your home.