Keeping Your Home Safe From Burglary
When we were kids the milkman delivered milk (in glass bottles) to our front door. A produce truck stopped in front of our house twice a week loaded with farm-fresh fruit and vegetables. And, we never locked our front door.
The cops knew who the crooks were and, more often than not, the crooks went to jail. Nowadays, alleged criminals have rights that didn’t exist in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Crime is looked at differently today. And for some un¬ known reason, front doors in most American cities stay locked now.
We suppose that every cloud has its silver lining. Look at the leaps and bounds that have been made in the electronic home security industry. If you didn’t detect a note of sarcasm in the last sentence then you just weren’t reading slowly enough.
Regardless of how or why it has happened, we Americans have a greater need for home security than ever before. Last year alone over 3 million residences were burglarized. And, according to Sheila Blake of Honeywell Electronics, folks with home security systems are 15 times less apt to be burglarized than fami¬ lies without a system in their home.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to thwart off thieves. According to Blake, doors are the first place that burglars will try. So first and foremost, invest in strong doors with strong locks. Don’t rely on a door lock that can be opened with a knife or credit card. We aren’t burglars, and we have opened doors many times with a credit card. Who knows maybe construction isn’t our true calling.
Keylocks on sliding windows is another good idea. Trouble is they’re expensive. Drilling a hole through both middle frames and inserting a steel pin is almost as effective. A broomstick in the sliding door track is another inex pensive locking method.
When you’re going to be away from home for a while don’t just leave one or two lights on all the time. Burglars case neighborhoods and can tell when lights are always on. Purchase small timers and connect them to several lights and set them to turn on and off at irregular intervals. This gives the house a lived-in look. And make sure to have ample exterior lighting. Burglars use the dark to cloak their activities.
And remember, when you’re away from home for an extended period of time, your neighbors are your best allies. Encourage them to report irregularities to the police. Point out your special concerns to them. For example: Some homes give crooks more chances at entry than others. A second story deck, a walk-out basement and windows or doors behind shrubs are just a few examples of areas where special attention may be needed. You can offer the same courtesy to your neighbor. Have them pick up your mail, newspapers and other parcels left at your door – or have the post office hold your mail and have your newspapers held by the carrier.
All of this doesn’t mean that we are suggesting that you shouldn’t look into an electronic security system. But with or without, the precautions we suggest will help to reduce the chance of burglary in your home. Both of our homes have perimeter and internal systems including window and door sensors, motion detectors, pad detectors, smoke detectors and heat detectors. Remote controls are also available that activate the alarm with the push of a button.
If you are considering an alarm system then there are two basic guidelines that will help you decide on how to configure it. If protection while you are home is critical, then monitoring the perimeter is important. If protection while you are away is your primary concern then interior motion detectors will do the job just fine.
Pad and motion detectors can be activated by small animals. So, pets need to be a consideration as well when designing the system that’s right for your home. And speaking of pets, most burglars avoid houses where a dog can be heard barking.
Beware of door-to-door repairmen. They may be thinly masked con artists casing your home for a future robbery. When enlisting the services of a repairman make sure that he is liscensed (where required), and get more than one estimate. Be sure to do a background check on the business. Check for a permanent business address ( not a post office box), at least three trade references, bank references and, most importantly, references from previous customers.
When working around the house, lock windows and doors. A quick entry and exit by a skilled burglar while you are in the back yard pulling weeds can net him a laptop, stereo, television and assortment of other easy-to-grab valuables.
Finally, make sure that your lawn is mowed regularly. Tall grass serves as an excellent camoflauge for burglars. Thick shrubry, tall brush and other landscaping should be thinned and well lit.
Remember, locks are made for honest people. Fortunately, most people are honest. A burglar proff system requires more than a lock. A combination of the options mentioned above will certainly help to keep some potential preditors “honest”.