Insuring Your Safety: How to Prevent Home Burglary
Over three million households will experience the unlawful breaking in and entry from familiar and unknown assailants. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the United States Department of Justice, roughly twenty-eight percent of all burglaries involve the violent victimization of one of the household members. Traditionally, law enforcement agencies defined burglary as property crime, except where a household member becomes a victim during the crime. If a household member becomes a victim of another crime during the burglary, then the NCVS classifies the crime by its violent category, such as robbery, simple assault, aggravated assault, and sexual assault. Over sixty-five percent of all burglaries involved offenders that the victims knew on a personal level, whereas twenty-eight percent of all burglaries involved strangers. In addition, twelve percent of all burglaries involved a violent altercation with a firearm. A reported nine percent of all burglary victims suffered serious injuries, whereas thirty-six percent of all victims sustained minor injuries. Without implementing sufficient preventative measures, the rate of burglaries will continue to rise and place more victims lives at danger.
Neighbors should remain vigilant and call the police immediately to report a burglary while witnessing the crime, or even if suspicious activity arises around them. Neighbors must look after each other to prevent the upsurge in criminal activity. Household members should not place themselves in danger by running to the phone during a burglary; however, they should take the time to report the crime as soon as possible. Call the emergency hotline to receive immediate assistance, especially if a household member suffered injuries during the burglary.
Homeowners should illuminate their property with sufficient lighting, especially with motion detectors to prevent burglaries. This will prevent burglars from entering the property, because it will give off an illusion that people are currently in the house. Homeowners should lock all outside doors and windows before leaving the house or going to bed, even if away for a short time. Always keep the garage door closed and secure to ensure that nobody can enter through any backdoors. Homeowners should also arrange with the Post Office to hold their mail while on vacation, or to forward it to a friend or neighbor. Ask a neighbor to cut the yard during the weekend if leaving on an extended vacation. Replace all worn doors and windows with secure devices. Install deadbolts on all outside doors. Purchase special locking mechanisms for all sliding glass doors to minimize its vulnerability. Lastly, ask a hardware store or locksmith for alternative locks if no other devices exist.
Homeowners should never tempt burglars by leaving expensive lawn mowers, barbeque grills, bicycles, and cars out in the open for everybody to see. Always secure outside garden sheds and garages with these items to draw less attention to the property. Install curtains and blinds on garage and basement windows to prevent prying eyes from peering into these storage units. Do not leave notes on the door that telegraph "vacancy" to all neighboring burglars. Homeowners can further prevent home burglaries from taking place if they use a little common sense. For instance, experience burglars understand that most people will leave keys under doormats, mailboxes, flowerpots, and other inconspicuous places
Homeowners should understand the quality and effectiveness of each locking device. Keep in mind that no locking device, regardless of its quality, can truly keep burglars from entering the property. Even deadbolt locks provide minimum security against a seasoned locksmith. Remember to periodically change the locks, especially if the keys become lost, stolen, or if moving to a new residence. Install door hinges on the inside of the property. Trim all trees and shrubs to prevent intruders from hiding in them, especially around the windows of two-story houses. In fact, pin each window by drilling a 3/16-inch hole downward in a slanting position through the inside of the window.
Homeowners should consider installing a reliable home security system to provide peace of mind, especially while vacationing for long periods of time. Check with several alarm system companies to find out the best options available on the market. Homeowners should always use the pre-installed alarm system, unless it has become defective over the years. In addition, homeowners should activate newly installed alarm systems. Burglars know that a large portion of homeowners fail to arm their home security systems, simply because they forgot before leaving the house. A sticker or decal will not deter burglars from entering a home.
If homeowners find signs of an unexpected intrusion, then they should back away from the premises and call the local authorities from a neighbor's phone immediately. In addition, they should resist touching any of the evidence once the local authorities arrive to investigate the scene of the crime. All witnesses should jot down the license plate numbers of all suspicious automobiles to help the authorities find the burglars. Lastly, all witnesses should pay close attention to the facial features, clothing, shoes, tattoos, piercings, and other signs to identify suspicious individuals to the local authorities.
Follow these links to learn more about home burglary prevention:
- Victimization During Household Burglary
- National Crime Prevention Council: Robbers are Equal Opportunity Criminals (PDF)
- The United States Department of Justice: Burglary in the United States
- Make Your Home Secure: Burglary Prevention Checklist (PDF)
- Home Security Handbook (PDF)
- Preventing Home Burglaries
- Burglaries: How to Prevent a Home Burglary
- Burglary Prevention
- Victimization During Household Burglary (PDF)
- What To Do Before The Burglar Comes
- Community Awareness: Home Burglary Prevention Tips
- Columbia Police Department Wants Yout to Prevent Home Burglaries
- Tips for Preventing Home Burglaries (PDF)
- Burglary 101 (PDF)
- Top 10 Simple Ways to Discourage Break-ins