Burglary is mostly a crime of opportunity. Following are tips on preventing home burglaries, vandalism, and other property crimes by controlling access, providing visibility, and maintaining your property, in addition to tips on protecting your home and property when you are away. These tips can significantly enhance the security of your home and property.
- Install dead-bolt locks on all exterior doors, which should be solid hardwood or metal-clad, with interior hinges.
- Install additional locking devices on all sliding glass doors and windows
- Install locks on gates, garages, sheds, etc.
- Install an excellent side-yard gate and keep it locked at all times.
- Use fencing, gates, landscaping, pavement treatment, signs, etc. to define clear boundaries between your property and adjoining properties.
- Consider installing a home alarm system that provides 24/7 monitoring.
- Keep all doors and windows locked.
- Lock gates, garages, sheds, etc. after each use.
- Don’t keep large sums of money at home.
- Don’t leave keys in mailboxes, planters, under doormats, or in other prominent hiding spots.
- Learn to recognize who belongs in your neighborhood.
- Know who is at your door before opening it.
- Ask for photo identification before letting anyone in you don’t know.
- Never say you aren’t home on your answering machine message.
- Keep valuable papers, stocks, bonds, expensive jewelry, coins collections, etc. in a safe or bank deposit box.
- Don’t store valuables at home unless you have a security closet or a safe that is well-hidden and bolted securely to the structure.
- Leave outside lights on after dark or have outdoor lights controlled by a motion sensor.
- Check lights regularly and replace burnt-out bulbs.
- Trim bushes to eliminate possible hiding places, especially near windows and sidewalks.
- Install a wide-angle peephole in your front door so you can look out without being seen.
Maintaining Your Property:
- Keep property in good condition and free of trash, litter, weeds, leaves, graffiti, dismantled or inoperative vehicles and other things that indicate neglect.
- Repair/replace broken windows, screens, fences, and gate locks.
- Use screens, wired glass, or other protection for light fixtures and bulbs.
- Remove loose rocks and other objects that could be used to vandalize or burglarize your property.
Protecting Your Home and Property When You Are Away
- It is essential that while you are away, you are still able to keep your home safe from burglaries. The following prevention tips are designed to help decrease the likeliness of such an event to occur.
- Use timers on lights, radios, TV’s, etc. to make them go on and off during the day and night to make your home appear occupied.
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery, or have neighbors pick up anything left at your home.
- Arrange to have the lawn cut and the bushes trimmed.
- Double-check second-floor windows.
- Ask neighbors to watch your home and report any suspicious activities. Leave your itinerary with a neighbor so you can be contacted in an emergency.
- Activate your burglar alarm and notify your alarm company that you will be away. Then if an alarm occurs when you are away, the company will not call your home first to verify the alarm; it will notify the police directly. Also, provide the alarm company with an up-to-date list of persons to contact about the alarm, and he needs to secure your home after a burglary.
- Notify the Crescenta Valley Station and request “Vacation Patrol Checks” for your home while you are away.
- Disconnect your electric garage door opener and padlock door, preferably on the inside.
- Make sure that exterior areas will not give your absence away. Make sure that your street address number is visible from the street and is well-lighted at night, so the police and other emergency personnel can locate your home quickly.
- Have several timers attached to lights in various locations throughout the interior of your house. One time can be programmed to turn one light on and off several times during the evening. Several timers performing the same function can give a very “lived-in” look to a home. This same practice with home timers can be utilized with TV’s and radios, providing an added sound element to the “lived-in” look.
All of these tips may help decrease the chances of your house and property being burglarized and may also help minimize the amount of damage and loss in the case of such an event.