Burglary Prevention Tips

By: James Hopkins

'Uninviting Burglars' Part 2

Burglars, thieves, and muggers are opportunists. They're watching for little details that will lead them to an easy victim. Here are some things to know to help keep your home and family safe.

AN OCCUPIED HOME
When leaving your home, make sure all your windows and doors are secure.
Keep a light or radio turned on or put them on a timer.
Turn your answering machine volume down.
Never leave a note on your door for delivery persons.
If you have an alarm system, remember to turn it on! If you have a babysitter, make sure they know how to arm/disarm the system.
At night, close your curtains or pull your shades.
Never leave a key outside under a welcome mat, above a doorway, etc. Those are the first places burglars look.
When arriving home, if you suspect someone is inside your garage or house, DON'T GO IN! Get away quickly and go to a neighbor's house and call the police.

VACATIONS
Have a neighbor or friend pick up your papers, mail, and flyers.
Have someone take care of your lawn and/or snow shoveling.
Leave a key with a friend or neighbor and have them occasionally change drapery positions.
Have someone park their car in your driveway.
Put two or more light timers in separate rooms set at different times (this indicates movement).
Lock the garage door track. Secure the garage windows the same as your home windows.

VISITORS
Use a peep hole viewer to see who's there.
Never rely on chain locks. Engage the deadbolt until you verify the identity of the person on the other side of the door. Utility employees carry ID cards. You can call the company to verify information.
NEVER - UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let someone in to 'just use the phone'. Offer to make the call for them.
Make sure children and babysitters understand they should NEVER let anyone in the house without your permission. Have them call you if there is any question.
Should someone come to your door late at night, answer the door. No need to let someone inside, but you're showing a potential thief someone is home. Mention you're not alone and 'a friend or relative is sleeping in the other room'.

DOGS
No need to get a trained attack dog, a huge dog, or a pure-bred dog. Any dog can be a first-rate burglar deterrent. As an added bonus, dogs also make wonderful companions.
To find the best fit for your family and home, stop by your local Humane Society.
If you can't have a dog, buy a leash and hang it outside the back door.

MOVING
Change all the locks on every door, including the garage.
Change the code for the garage door remote, .
Change locks if you lose your keys.

TELEPHONES
Have telephones in more than one room.
When setting up your answering machine or voicemail, never say 'We're not home'. Instead, say 'We're busy' or 'We're unavailable'. Use 'we' instead of 'I'.
Don't give your full or last name in the message. Either give your number or give only your first names. Single women may wish to have a male friend leave the message or use the machine's pre-recorded message.
Make sure children and babysitters never tell a caller they are alone. Have them say 'My parents can't come to the phone right now'.
Never volunteer any information to unknown callers. NEVER give your name, address, or any bank or credit card numbers to someone calling you unless you know them personally.

GUNS
For your children's protection, guns should be locked in a cabinet or fitted with a trigger guard. Ammunition should be kept in a separate secure area. With that in mind, how much time do you think you would you have to arm yourself should you hear a noise?
Even for people with no small children at home, police statistics indicate a 4-5 times greater chance of you being harmed by your own weapon!

PRESENTS
Never leave empty TV, VCR, computer, or packaging from expensive gifts on the curb. If they won't fit in the recycling container, consider taking large boxes to a recycler yourself.

MISC.
If you are having a garage sale, have at least one helper to keep an eye on your items and money. Make sure your house is locked. Never carry more than a few dollars in your cash box.
If you have your name on your mailbox, use only your first initial with your last name.
Make sure any ladders and hand tools (burglar helpers) are safely locked away.
Never leave your garage unlocked.

In our grandparents day, people knew everyone in their neighborhood. Now, some families barely have time to see each other, let alone get to know their neighbors. Joining a blockwatch is a great way to meet your neighbors. You can find out what good/bad things are going on in your neighborhood. Problems are much easier to solve when you have input from many people. There is strength in numbers! A blockwatch normally has a good working relationship with their alderperson and the police department. Knowing your neighbors and the normal neighborhood activities gives you the advantage over strangers. As a bonus, you may make a new friend or two! If you see something you know is wrong, don't hesitate to call for help. If there is no blockwatch in your neighborhood, your local police department can provide information and instructions for starting your own.

REMEMBER
IF SOMETHING FEELS SUSPICIOUS, IT PROBABLY IS!
DON'T DISCOUNT YOUR '6TH SENSE'.

Stay safe,
Jim & Deb


Home Security
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