Tip #8 Plant rosebushes or cactus in front of all vulnerable windows.
Thorny landscaping not only adds beauty to your home, but makes even getting close to such windows an unappealing prospect
Reason: The second most common way of breaking into homes is through rear or side windows. A thief can work on such windows with little chance of detection. Standing in the middle of a thorn bush to do it, however, is not a pleasant experience.
Tip #9 Look into safety-coating the most vulnerable windows.
Safety coat is adhesive plastic sheeting that makes breaking out windows difficult.
Reason: It’s not going to be fun for him, standing in a rosebush only to discover that the window isn’t easy to break either. Instead of a quick pop, he now has to stand there and repeatedly pound before he can even reach the lock. Wait until he discovers that the window has window stops as well.
If you can afford it, there are many quality windows that are not only good to keep inclement weather out, but provide serious burglar protection, as well.
Tip #10 Put a secondary lock that prevents the panel from being moved on all windows. This is repeating what was mentioned earlier, but it is important enough to warrant such emphasis.
Reason: Put stops on the frame on all sash windows. This allows them to be opened, but only so far. On sliding windows and doors, the best type of lock is a pin that goes through both frame and sliding part. This prevents the window from being lifted out.
Tip #11 Get and close heavy drapes — especially on rooms where there is expensive equipment.
Thin, sheer drapes –although attractive — also allow burglars to look inside.
Reason: It is often amazing how often a home intruder will walk up and look through the windows of a home to see if there is anything worth stealing. Sheer curtains allow him to do this. He knows what he wants to steal before he even breaks in.
Getting into the habit of closing heavy drapes not only keep your home warmer in winter but lessen the chances of your home being targeted by a burglar. Without this ability to see into the home, there are less guaranteed results for him, which helps to serve as a deterrent.
Tip #12 In really bad neighborhoods, get safety bars on the windows.
In so-so neighborhoods, you might want to consider putting them on side windows — especially ones that are perfect break-in spots.
Reason: When it comes down it windows are always breakable. A set of regular bars on high risk, non-bedroom windows are not likely to destroy the looks or value of your home. And the added security is well worth it.
On bedroom windows, it is advisable to spend the extra money and get the releasable bars that can be jettisoned in case of fire.
Tip #13 Make sure sliding glass doors and windows are installed correctly. Not everyone in the construction industry is a rocket scientist. And their incompetence and laziness can cost you plenty.
Reason: An estimated one quarter of all sliding glass doors and windows are installed backwards (so the sliding part is on the outside track). This allows the criminal to simply lift out the panel and enter
Tip #14 If you use a pole in the track to secure sliding doors and windows make sure it is the right length.
It should be within a ¼ – inch of the track’s length.
Reason: If the pole is not long enough to keep the criminal from slipping his fingers in, it is of no use. Staple or tape a piece of string to the pole to make it easy to pull out when it is in the track.
Better yet get a “track stop” or “track lock” that you can put in the tracks. They are far better than the “poor man’s version” of a dowel. Better yet get sliding window/door bar (jamb bar).
Tip #15 Install motion detectors in areas where no one should be.
This way, you know something isn’t right when they go off.
Reason: Most people put safety lights where they do the least good. While they illuminate your approach as you pull into your driveway, such lights are often hard to see if you are indoors. Put them along the side of the house or back, so that someone lurking there sets them off.
Position them so you can see when they go on. The lights are adjustable, so even if you have a blind wall you can turn the lights so they will both illuminate an area and attract your attention. Put them high enough so that they cannot be knocked out of service by someone jumping.
Look into low voltage and/or solar powered outdoor lighting. This kind of lighting illuminates your property at very little cost.
Tip #16 Get a dog.
A barking dog, whether inside the house or in the yard is proven as the best deterrent to burglars.
Reason: It doesn’t have to be a 250 – pound Rottweiler named Spike, even a smaller yappy dog serves as an early warning system. Not only does the intruder risk a bite, but the barking attracts attention. And there is no such thing as a stranger intimidating a dog into silence.
We don’t recommend dog doors. It is not uncommon for thieves to bring small children and send them through these and have the child open the main door. Also, since many burglars are, in fact, teenagers, it is also common for them to bring a younger child with them to do this. If you do have a dog door already, either a) put the dog out and lock the door during the day or b) make sure the access gates to your yard are locked. That way the criminals cannot simply walk by; open your gate to let the dog out and then return when the dog has wandered away.
The truth is a dog, even a small dog; inside a house is not something a burglar wants to deal with. Getting bit is not fun.
Tip #17 Create a neighborhood watch on your block.
Even just the signs often send would-be burglars elsewhere.
Reason: An alert and involved community is the criminal’s nemesis. It is often reason enough for him to try business elsewhere.
Even if you can’t create an organized program, get to know your neighbors, especially retired folks who are home all day. Let them know who belongs there and who doesn’t. Have them watch your property and pick up your newspaper when you are on vacation. It is also a good idea to hire a trustworthy preteen/young teen neighbor to do such mundane jobs as mowing your lawn or taking out the trash. Such kids then have vested interests in your property and they are home to watch your property when adults aren’t. The kids like it because they get spending money and you get to watch TV on the weekend instead of doing lawn work.
Tip #18 Make sure the gates are locked if you have a fence.
This is especially important with accesses to the alley.
Reason: Each layer serves as a deterrent. The more layers and hard work the criminal has to do, the more likely he is to pass by your home. A locked fence is something he must climb over while carrying objects. If the gate is left unlocked, however, he can just walk
Tip #19 Leave the stereo/TV on
An empty house “feels” empty. There is no vibration or noise inside that indicates someone’s presence. Put the “vibes” in.
Reason: Although this is not a guaranteed deterrent, it can serve as a “bluff” to young, inexperienced prowlers. Even though they have “checked” to see if anyone is home (e.g. knock on the door), the unexpected noise, especially from the back or upstairs (any place they can’t look into), indicates that they made a mistake on their primary recon. Maybe someone is home and just didn’t hear the doorbell.
You might especially want to consider this strategy for vacations. Close the drapes turn the stereo/TV on in the room where the criminal is most likely to try to break in.
Tip #20 Etch your name on all electronic equipment TV/stereo/computer and then tape it
Etching, in and of itself serves as a deterrent in case of a break in, failing that it greatly assists the police in the recovery of your property
Reason: Items with your name and address cannot be easily sold. The reason for this is that anyone buying them is buying something that can easily be proven to be stolen property and they know it. What protects most buyers of stolen goods is the fact that it is difficult to prove something is stolen property. However, a name and address on an item combined with a police report is a fast way to end up in the county jail for possession of stolen property — even if the person who has it bought it off the burglar. As such, why steal something that you a) can’t sell, b) if you are caught with you’re definitely going to jail for?
Although it is better to record serial numbers, a faster way to assist the police in recovery is to video tape every room and all the items in them. As you tape say what it is (for example Sanyo TV, Hitachi DVD player, etc.,) Title the tape something like “Family Reunion” or something you will remember and put it in your video collection. This way, if items are stolen you can give the tape to the police; video and the etching will identify your property when the police encounter it, Which quite often they do, being called to homes where stolen property is present, but without a means to identify it as such, they cannot prove it. Also send a duplicate copy to a relative.
Tip #21 Get a safe!
It’s not just cash and jewels that need to go in there, but your important paperwork.
Reason: Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the US. Although many people think burglars are going to go for jewelry, silverware or electronics, what most people don’t realize is that the greatest damage to you will be if the criminal gets access to your personal identification and financial records!!! A criminal can clone your identity and steal everything you have, up to an including selling your property. Passports can sell for as much as a thousand dollars. And a passport and your checkbook…kiss all that money good-bye.
Make sure the safe is bolted through the floor and cannot be carried out. If you are in a situation where you cannot use such measures (such as an apartment) then invest in a large, heavy duty filing cabinet with locks. Do NOT leave the keys nearby.
Tip #22 On top of everything else, get an alarm system.This is another layer of the onion. You can go anywhere from a basic system to incredibly high tech.
Reason: Now that you’ve made it slow and difficult for him to get inside, an alarm is far more effective since it gives the cavalry a chance to arrive in time. In addition, burglar, carbon monoxide and fire alarms do wonders to keep your home owner’s insurance down.
Know however, that the bread and butter of most security companies is the service they sell you in support of the alarm system (calling the police, paging you if there is a problem or even sending their own guards). While shopping around is important, do your homework on security systems, providers and services first. And remember, you are investing for the long term. That is how you must think when investing in an alarm system.
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