Go out and play, but keep one eye toward home security

close-up-of-key-in-window-lock
Make sure windows have a secure lock.

Good weather gives you opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. It also gives some unscrupulous people the opportunity they are looking for to burglarize your home or car and take your valuable possessions. You cannot prevent 100 percent of the thefts, but there are steps you can take to minimize the potential problem.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.9 billion in lost property in 2011: overall, the average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,185. Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 74.5 percent of all burglary offenses.

These statistics clearly show that we have to be very aware of the potential for theft and take necessary steps to minimize this crime.

The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following tips to help you protect your property:

  • Light the outside of your home to eliminate hiding places
  • Leave some lights on in your home to make it appear occupied (timers on lights are a good option in the event you will be gone)
  • Plan landscaping to provide maximum visibility to and from your home
  • Cut tree limbs back from your home to prevent access to windows
  • Use a strong exterior door — either solid wood or metal — and add lighting at every door
  • Install locks on all sliding glass doors and place metal or wooden bars in the tracks to prevent opening
  • Make sure your windows are secure and have a good locking mechanism
  • Use strong and reliable locks; this is one of the most cost effective ways to help secure your property
  • Always keep doors and windows locked, even if you are going to be gone only a few minutes

Some additional suggestions for keeping your property safe:

  • Purchase a home security alarm
  • Let a trusted neighbor, friend or relative know when you are going to be gone for more than one night
  • Don’t allow newspapers or mail to accumulate; have a friend pick them up
  • Let your local law enforcement know if you will be gone for an extended time

While you may not be able to prevent every break-in, making a few changes in home security can help minimize thefts.

Note: This blog was originally published on April 17, 2013. The crime statistics have been updated to reflect 2011 numbers, the most recent figures available.


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23 Responses to “Go out and play, but keep one eye toward home security”

  1. Drew

    Cutting tree limbs near the house is a good idea. Little things like that are easy to overlook.

  2. Don

    get a dog- they are great to alert and they scare would be thieves; get a home security camera!!!

  3. John

    Stay safe everyone. Get a dog. Mine barks even even when neighbors get home!

  4. aaron

    Secured by ADT sign helps and infra red motion detectors in addition to alarms and camera, steel reinforcment on door hardware and frame will help slow down a forced door entry and last but not least motion detector pepper fog system to punish would be thieves if all else fails…

    • Roger

      I had ADT installed in my home a few months ago anf I feel much better. The signs are visible from the street and I know it will deter a break in. I also have LED lights at all the exterior doors and lights inside on timers. I am convinced that a few things like this will cause those breaking into homes to seek an easier target. Something else – it is critical to have close relationships with all you neighbors where we are looking out for each other.

  5. Vquest Investigations LLC

    We have handled security cases where following these simple tips would have greatly reduce the chances of being burglarized. Please don’t wait for the crime to happen to then do something about it.
    The sense of invasion is devastating to the home owners. So sad to see.
    Stay safe my friends

  6. Jak

    All the above r great ideas BUT purchase a gun, take training class & get a carry permit. As all these ideas only deter the honest thief & the real deviant psychopath will break in when u r home to get u to reveal the safe combination or hidden items or to terrorize, rape, or murder just 4 fun & enjoyment

  7. Terri

    A fiberglass door is also strong. The area you need to be concerned with is the handle. You can get a multipoint lock installed by the manufacturer, or a metal security bar which can be added to the door. It makes the handle area of the door stronger so they can’t kick the door in.

  8. Greg Smith

    I live in a neighborhood where everyone is likely to have a gun. We also have big dogs that run loose. No one has an alarm. We live 30 miles from the nearest big city. Nobody is afraid.

    • CEF

      Be Carefull, while crime, home robberies and other offenses might be lower where you live I’ll bet they are Not At Zero. Living in a ruel area has its own issues. Check with your local police department. Sure the numbers will be lower, but, run them as percentages against how many homes or persons live in your area. After the shock, your eyes will be wide open.

  9. debbie

    other things to remember are: do you have a second story? Is the ladder right there in plain sight? Lock it! I saw a show that revealed former burglers showing how they would break into a house. That was one technique. Also, if you have a garage that is attached to your house, think about getting one of those garage openers, but make sure it is a good one and cannot be rigged to open without a combination, key, etc. Some burglars have found a way to open them, they just drive through the neighborhood with their devises and who ever has a cheap garage door opener that can be opened with it, boom that is the target! Dogs are the best they say, but one problem for me, is what about when I take my dog with me? Problem solved! Put up “Beware of dog” signs! Even if you don’t have a dog! you can even go as far as buying a dog house, and put that in the yard!
    Nobody wants a dog to bark and give away their presence! Be safe!

    • Vickie

      I have heard, that if you do have a dog, and you have those signs posted, you are admitting the dog(s) are viscous. If they would bite anyone, you could be sued for owning a viscious dog. The criminals are the ones with all the rights.

      • Taggart

        That’s not true.

      • John D

        I was told this by the police when I lived in the UK so instead of ” Beware of the Dog” I change it to the sign that shows a picture of the breed of dog and it said “I live here”

  10. John Fembup

    Think carefully before you tell the police you will be away. The information you give them will not necessarily be secure. And you will have no control over who else within the station will also receive the information,

    A trusted neighbor is a much safer bet.

  11. Bill

    Hi All! I just thought of something I have never done. Buy some of those large, strong, high fence sections and make, put a well scuffed kennel inside, and a beware the dog sign at the side of your house. Probably effective, and great for the truly paranoid.

  12. Cheryll Hettich

    I was a recent victim of a burglary in Rockford. Not much you can do if they surveille your neighborhood. I had my dead bolted steel door kicked out of the framework. Neighbors heard the boom but didn’t look to see what it was. A neighbor called police to tell of men dressed in black walking neighborhood before hand. I was robbed of my safe containing important documents to me, jewelry and a coin collection and other various household items I am now realizing. And seeing online for sale. They got me good. Once it leaves the house it belongs to them. This is a new profession with little consequences. I believe they would have come in regardless if I were here or not. Lights mean nothing, they left them all on for me and left the door open…just like motel 6

    • Tre

      So sorry to hear. That almost sounds like someone who knows you broke into your home. That is another thing to be mindful. Those with kids tend to tell their friends about going on vacation or gifts they’ve received and their so called friends break in and steal. Many burglaries are done by people you know.

  13. Roger

    I read comments about protecting a powered garage door. I have a switch in the electric cable to the door motor. When we leave I close the door and turn off the electricity. The switch is not immediately visible for someone in the garage looking around. I then leave the house through a double locked door. My my exterior doors are lighted.

    • Roger

      Ihave done the same thing with a swich for the power garge door. It located in a hard to see lacation.

  14. kim

    There are different schools of thought on the lighting thing. No one is likely to be driving by my house at 3am to see a thief. Hopefully the culprits will stumble in the dark trying to break in holding a flashligh! Lights only make it easier for the thief and —waste precious energy.

    • Jonathan

      And I thought it was just me.
      Now motion flood lighting, that’s an attention getter if you don’t have a crazy amount of bats, wild animals etc at night.
      But speculate just the same Kim

  15. Mark L Cassidy

    I put one of steel doors the cops don’t like on so when I open the door the bad guys can’t just push their way in.

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