Securing Your Home
When people imagine burglar-proofing their home, they usually think of fancy security and alarm systems. But there are cheaper ways to keep trespassers out. Start by buying locks— try not to be thrifty here. Most home security experts agree that the one place you can not cut corners is in buying locks. Inexpensive key-in-knob locks could be opened using a credit card or a screwdriver. Night latches and chain locks mounted on the surface of the door aren’t much help either: They could easily be broken. Invest in good deadbolt locks, which come in multiple varieties, and you’ll save in the long run since you will not lose valuables. Deadbolts must be one inch thick and have a one-inch throw.
Outside Looking In
If you’re worried about break-ins, think like a burglar when you evaluate the outside of your home. Landscaping might make your home look more attractive, but it can also help a thief gain entry. Huge trees near the house could assist a burglar climb in a second-floor window. Prune lower limbs to make this impossible. While you’re at it, prune trees and bushes near doors and windows so that they will not provide a hiding place while a thief tries to break in. That rose trellis might be lovely to look at, but make sure it’s placed so it can’t be utilized as a ladder to windows.
Do you have a high wooden fence all around your property? What you gain in privacy you might lose in a break-in: Criminals can work unseen behind it. Be sure all porches, yards, and entrances are well lit. While spotlights work well, a few less-expensive lights, strategically situated, can also be effective. And if you’ve been working outside, always make sure to put ladders and tools away. When you don’t, a thief may use them against you to gain access to your home.
Close the Door on Break-Ins
Good crime prevention begins at your front door. Prior to investing in expensive locks, be sure the door itself is a good one. If it’s a hollow-core door, it can be readily broken down. Entry doors should be metal or have a solid wood core at least 1 3/4 inches thick.
Protection for Free
Among the best ways to avoid burglaries doesn’t cost anything except a little time. Form a Neighborhood Watch or Block Watch program to encourage people to keep a watchful eye on the houses closest to them. The idea is to get people to call police the second they notice anything suspicious. Although a watch program can’t replace good locks and other home security measures, it’s added insurance versus break-ins.
To get a Neighborhood Watch program going in your area, invite everybody to an organizational meeting. Request the police department to send an officer or sheriff to offer tips on home security, self-protection, and what types of behavior to report. Neighbors who are home during the day can watch the homes of others who are working. There must also be a formal routine for notifying participants when someone is going away on vacation or business so they can keep a closer eye on that particular home. And if any burglary or other crime occurs, a phone network amongst neighbors can put everybody on the alert.