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Minimize Your Risk of Burglary

Robber in a house

Don't be an intruder's next victim.

According to the FBI, there are four burglaries every minute in the United States.

Burglars like an easy target – one where they can get in and out quickly and unseen. The more you can do to slow them down, eliminate easy access or simply scare them off, the better. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of burglary.

Lock windows and doors – This includes garage doors. Also secure windows that house air conditioning units.

Strategic landscaping – Thorny bushes under windows will make thieves think twice. Keep bushes and hedges trimmed to avoid hiding places, and cut away tall branches that reach upper story windows. Landscape lighting can also rob thieves of hiding places.

Inside lights – Use timers on lights near the front and back windows as well as the front door to give the appearance someone is home. Timers can also be used to turn on radios or a TV to ward off intruders.

Hide valuables – If items such as a big screen TV, expensive audio system or computer are visible from the street, use privacy curtains so people can’t see into your home. During the holidays, don’t leave wrapped gifts in front of windows. Also, after an expensive purchase, don't leave the box beside the trash or recycling bin.

Deadbolt locks – Believe it or not, many thieves come in through the front door. Installing a deadbolt lock will make your door that much harder to open. Make sure to install any lock far away from windows that are part of the door.

Patio doors – Thieves don’t want to smash sliding glass doors because that creates a lot of noise. They’d much rather slide a door open. Secure sliding doors by placing a sawed-off broom handle or dowel in the track.

Don’t advertise – If you’re away from home, don’t broadcast this information via your answering machine. Put a stop to your mail and newspaper. Let local police know when you’re gone, or ask neighbors you trust to keep an eye on your house. Depending on the season, have someone shovel snow or cut your lawn.

Spare key – Don’t hide a key outside. Someone could see you retrieve it. Instead, give a spare to a neighbor or friend who lives nearby. Or, put the spare in a combination lockbox that’s hidden outside.

Get police input – Check if your local police department offers security evaluations for your home, and identify security steps you can implement.

Alarm systems – Alarm systems deter thieves because they increase the chance of being caught. Thieves will usually bypass a property with visible alarm signs.

Home safe – A home safe can be a wise investment to keep the smash and grab burglar or dishonest worker from stealing important documents and personal property.

If you come home and it appears your house has been broken into, don’t enter! The thieves may still be inside, and it’s not worth your life to find out. Instead, call the police from your cell phone or from a neighbor’s house. Don’t touch anything. The thieves might have left fingerprints.

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