Burglary Prevention Advice
REMOVE THE OPPORTUNITY, PREVENT THE BURGLAR
Burglary victims often wonder why the burglar picked on their house. To find out the answer you will first have to consider, "How does a burglar’s mind work?" If we can take measures that tell the burglars that this building is too difficult or too risky a target, he will hopefully move on. For a start never leave a spare keys concealed anywhere near the front door because burglars know all the hiding places. With regards to key storage indoors ensure that your keys are stored away from the front door. Also, never label your house keys; in case you lose them and they fall into the wrong hands.
Remove temptations. Ensure that your valuable property is kept out of sight from the windows. Valuables, such as gold rings, diamonds, silver, etc., should be kept in a safe-deposit box at your bank. If this is not possible, then all valuables should be kept locked up in a reasonable hiding place in your home.
Jewel cases that are kept in the open should not contain any of your valuable jewellery. A few inexpensive but rich-looking pieces can be kept in the jewel case as a decoy. This may satisfy the burglar and deter unnecessary ransacking of your home in search of valuables. Large amounts of money should not be kept in the home at any time.
Make it look as though your house is occupied. Install timers which switch lights/radio on and off automatically. Have a neighbour/friend come over to clear your letter box or doorstep. Encourage a neighbour to park in your drive. If going out after dark, draw the curtains, leave some lights and a radio playing.
If you are away for extended periods. Cancel the delivery of milk and newspapers. Disconnect the telephone answering machine or reword your greeting message to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer. If you do not have an answering machine ensure that you completely plug off your phone or adjust the ringing tone to minimum so that when someone calls it doesn’t ring over and over without you there to pick it up. Enlist the help of a neighbour/friend/relative to keep a regular eye on your property and keep the front door clear of deliveries. If you are prepared to leave a key with a willing neighbour/relative ask for curtains to be drawn and lights to be put on at night. Set your burglar alarm. If you do not have one consider a ploy by installing a dummy alarm box in the hope that it will deter the opportunist thief. Notify your local police department that you are going to be absent, how long you will be away and where you can be contacted if necessary. Should a knowing neighbour or police patrol observe some person prowling around your home while your gone, they will not hesitate to take the appropriate action.
Many of us fail to take even fundamental precautions to secure our homes against robbery. Many have been lulled into thinking: "It cannot happen to me, not in my neighbourhood or in this well established city residential area." This approach makes the burglar's job much easier. If you still picture the burglar as a sinister thief operating at night, a handkerchief over his face, coat collar turned up and a peaked cap on his head, you are wrong!
Statistics indicate that in most cases the thief will most probably be one of the male youths in the neighbourhood, usually under 30 and most likely a teenager. He may be well dressed, wearing a recognizable uniform or suit jacket. It will more than likely be broad daylight.
The typical burglar does not want to harm you, just get into your home, steal what is available and valuable, and get out as quickly as possible, unobserved. Burglars like unlocked doors but if necessary, your door or window will be forced open to gain access. Of course, a burglar prefers that you not be in your home, so he/she may first knock at your door. If no one answers, the burglar enters. If you answer, the person will probably ask for directions to a particular street or block so you will not become suspicious. Some burglars will assume you are not home and enter without checking. Should this occur, do not attack the burglar who is as likely to be as frightened as you are. Try to memorize a description of the person, particularly facial characteristics. When the burglar leaves, call the police immediately.
Besides all that has been said above, another important factor in preventing this type of crime is making a security check of your residence to determine possible entry points and any weaknesses they may have. In doing your security check, ask yourself: "If I were a burglar, how would I break into my home?" Remember, the burglar likes to work unseen. Focus on entry areas protected by shrubs and side or rear entrances. Be well informed on how to secure windows, doors, etc., and what precautions you can take so that you may reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Home security is more than locks and lights. Your best protection is working together with neighbours to keep watch on each other's property.
HOW BURGLARS CHOOSE THEIR VICTIMS
What makes a particular house stand out as a tempting target for burglars? According to a previous research it has been noted that homeowners should ask themselves these following questions to determine if their house is inviting to an unwelcome visitor.
Is the house within three blocks of a major thoroughfare?
Is the house on a cul-de-sac?
Is the house adjacent to a wooded area, abandoned railroad tracks or park?
Is the house relatively more expensive than others in the neighborhood?
Are the occupants of the house newcomers to the neighborhood (within the past year)?
According to the research findings, if you answered "Yes" to three or more of these questions, your house may be a prime target for burglary.
On the question of "Do alarms deter burglaries?", the study also revealed that it appears they do. A home without an alarm is nearly three times as likely to be burgled.
INTRUDERS IN THE NIGHT
If you wake in the night and hear someone in you home, do not confront the intruder and try not to panic. Instead, switch on the lights and make a lot of noise. If you are on your own, pretend there is someone with you and call out to them. Ring the police as soon as you safely can.