Five On Your Side spoke with a number of experts on the subject of burglary: From former professional thieves to the current heads of security companies. Here are their tips on how you can better protect yourself from “The Uninvited”.
* If you have an audible alarm system, don’t advertise it. This means NOT having signs or stickers announcing the type of system you have (such as lawn signs or window decals.) The reason for this? It just gives criminals advanced warning on what they will be dealing with and even how long they’ll have to steal from you before the police arrive. It also takes away the shock and surprise factor of an alarm suddenly going off when they didn’t expect one. Experts say more than anything else, it’s the unexpected that makes thieves walk away from a break-in.
* We all desire privacy, but large hedges, big fences that block the line of sight, and other methods of creating a barrier between you and your neighbors comes with a price. In short, that privacy is more inviting to thieves wanting to break-in to your home. So consider doing without these items so your neighbors have a clear view of your backyard. It may keep thieves from breaking in to your home. (Another thing: Get a motion-sensitive light for that backyard.)
* Check to see that not only your doors are locked, but also your WINDOWS. Experts we spoke to say that unlocked windows are frequently an easy entrance for crooks, often because home owners didn’t know they were unsecured.
* An additional tip regarding windows: Drill a 3/16" hole through the inside window frame, on a slight downward slant, and halfway into the outside frame. Then place a nail in the hole. This will make the windows even more difficult to open from the outside.
* If you have an attached garage, be sure that the door between it and the house is locked. Often home owners will leave, locking the garage, but not the door to the house. Thieves know this.
* Don’t leave (or let your children leave) items of value on the front lawn and other places, outside the house. Bicycles, lawn mowers, barbecues and other items should be moved inside before you leave. While these aren’t much of an attraction to professional burglars, to beginners they can act as attractants that then lead to an actual break-in
* Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Put deadbolt locks on ALL of your outside doors.
* When moving into a pre-existing home, have ALL the locks changed.
* If you have an alarm system, have it tested by an independent electrician or other expert at least once a year. Also, make certain that besides ringing inside the home, that the phone connections are working and alerting either your alarm company or police directly.