Common Sense is your best anti-theft device
Like other crimes, a robbery can be a completely random event. However, when planned, there are certain things a thief will look for when watching out for a potential burglary, and there are steps the homeowner can take to minimize this risk.
Here’s a good checklist before leaving your home empty or to beef up your burglary protection:
Survey your home from the street and look for any valuables that can be seen from the street. Don’t give thieves a reason to show up.
Before leaving for any length of time, make sure all windows and doors are closed, including your garage door. Many burglaries occur through garage doors and interior house doors. Doors must have deadbolts with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate. Place a piece of wood or metal on the track of any sliding door to prevent it from swinging open.
Don’t leave your home in the dark when you’re away, create a sense of activity by using timers on lights, radios, and televisions. Install low-voltage outdoor lighting to keep your surrounding yard well-lit. Install motion detectors in dark areas to the sides and back of the house to alert you to any intruders.
Suspend your newspaper delivery while you’re out and ask your neighbor to pick up your mail. You can even ask them to park in your driveway while you’re gone. Never leave a message on your answering machine saying you are on vacation.
Keep all shrubbery near your walkway or driveway trimmed; eliminating possible hiding places. Consider planting cacti or rose bushes under windows that may be especially vulnerable. Notify your neighborhood watch that you will be out.
Make sure your security system is on when you leave. Engrave your name on all electronic equipment to help the police recover your property. It is more difficult to sell stolen property that has the owner’s name on it. Make a videotape of your possessions and record the serial numbers.
Get a safe, not only for your jewelry, but also for important documents. Identity theft is a crime that is on the rise and you want to minimize the availability of your personal records.
The more you can do to identify an intruder, the better your chances that your home will not be targeted. Studies have shown that if it takes more than four or five minutes for a burglar to break into a home, they will move on. If you increase your vulnerability by adding a well-lit area or a barking dog, that minimizes your risk again.