Burglary Prevention


The days are getting warmer, the nights are growing nicer and soon it will be a fine time for everyone to be out and about again…including burglars.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, there were 27.6 burglaries per 1,000 households in 2011. That number actually represents a decrease from the previous years, but there is a significant increase in theft of certain items: electronic devices and household appliances.

Having an updated home inventory list of items of value in your home is important. There is free software available to help you track items in your home. In the event that something happens, the more information you can provide (such as receipts, photographs and appraisals that verify value) about stolen items, the quicker the claims process will be.
Once you create your inventory, make sure to keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safety-deposit box. You also can e-mail a copy to yourself to create an online record that can be accessed by computer.

Focus on prevention
You can minimize the risk of a burglary in a number of ways. First, don’t announce that you are not at home via social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking sites have become places burglars look for targets. Announcing your vacation on Facebook or checking in at the airport on FourSquare makes you a target.

The first thing a burglar looks for when choosing a house for a break-in is one with no one in it. If you make your house look occupied when you’re gone, most burglars will just look for an easier target. Here are a few ways to do that.
  • Use automatic light timers throughout the house and have them turn on and off at times that simulate your normal patterns. Look for light timers that have battery backup so the timer doesn’t stop if there is a power failure. Using timers that have more than one on-off cycle can create the illusion of movement from room to room.
  • The same kind of timers you use on lights can also be used to turn radios or TVs on and off.
A burglar is more likely to try getting into a house where there is less chance of being seen. Taking away the robber’s cover goes a long way toward protecting your house.
  • Thieves can hide behind trees and shrubs. Trim back or remove any shrubbery next to doors or windows. If you are going to use plants next to the house, you should use thorny plants such as holly or roses.
  • Use outside security lighting to illuminate every access door. The main entrance should be illuminated with a fixture that has two bulbs or with two fixtures in case one bulb burns out.
  • Use exterior lighting with motion detectors for the yard, driveway and other outside regions. If lights come on when someone approaches, a burglar is less likely to try breaking into your home. Also, if the lights are activated by motion rather than being left on all the time, your neighbors are more likely to notice if someone is moving around your house.
  • Remember the back and side of your home offer some concealment for a burglar who is trying to break in. So pay close attention to securing all entrances, and if possible avoid installing a tall privacy fence since that offers even greater concealment.
Staff Writer