BURGLARY PREVENTION TIPS
There are between 2-3 million burglaries a year in the United States. Victims of burglary often suffer from more than just the financial loss of the crime, the violation of your home and family by criminals can take a very serious emotional toll.
Very few burglars fit the Hollywood profile where they are stealing high end jewelry to sell to a “fence” after climbing down a rope and disabling an elaborate alarm system.
The typical burglar is a drug addict or petty thief.
How they often get in:
Unsecured doors and windows- Lock them, always!
Brute force- If noise is not issue, as when they know you are away, doors are kicked open and windows are broken out. Although it is difficult to protect windows from breakage, doors can be bolstered by adding deadbolts, hasps, etc., all commonly available from the hardware store.
How they know to target your home:
Children, workmen and neighbors- Persons visiting your home can observe what is in the home. They will see that stack of credit cards next to the computer, that glass and wood gun case in the den, if they use your bathroom they may see your prescription medications and perhaps even where you put your “extra” cash for trips to the store, etc.
If you frequently have visitors you do not know well, these items should be concealed from casual view. Once it is known what is there and where it is, someone may want to come for them.
-If possible, vary your work schedule, be unpredictable.
-Vary which lights you leave on, consider leaving a radio or television on.
-Trim decorative shrubberies so that they offer less concealment outside the home. There are actually decorative shrubs available that are painful to touch.
-Use lighting outside, particularly around entrances.
-Do not hide spare keys “under the rock near the door”, everyone knows to look there.
-Dogs, or even the threat of dogs sometimes makes a “crime of opportunity” criminal look elsewhere. A cheap dog bowl struck with a claw hammer looks like a big dog has chewed on it. Add a $5 length of chain and you have a simulated guard dog.
What if you are home when it happens:
Thankfully, the vast majority of burglars have no desire to confront you, they would rather wait till you are away. Some will risk the confrontation if they think it is worth it. This category of burglar is easily the most dangerous as they are quite possibly very desperate and quite possibly armed.
Your family should have a fire plan and should consider a plan for an intruder. Although the layout of each home is different, the priority is always the same, the lives of you and your family.
Designate a safe room- This does not have to be an expensive high-tech structure. This is the room in which you will consolidate and account for family members in the event that someone enters the home. Ensure there is a flashlight and a telephone in this room. This will also serve as your place to communicate with police in real time as you describe what is happening to the dispatcher. Secure the room with locks or furniture blockading the door.
Yell- “THE POLICE ARE ON THE WAY”! Start the stopwatch in the intruders mind. For most burglars this will be the end of it. Do not come out of the safe room until the dispatcher tells you. If you own a firearm DO NOT MEET POLICE AT THE DOOR WITH IT! The officers responding probably do not know you, the victim, from the intruder. We don’t want any mistaken ID’s when firearms are involved!
Firearms- If you own a firearm, never forget that it is a tool of last resort used only to prevent serious physical injury or death to you or another person (such as your family).
Do not try to “hunt” the intruder in the home. Yes, you know your home inside and out, but even the most tactically proficient searcher cannot safely do it alone. Who is going to watch your back? The best bet is to “Bunker up” in the safe room with or without a firearm. And if necessary, prepare to make a stand there. Ensure you have a flashlight; people have shot other family members in the dark from mistaken ID. And always remember; NEVER MEET POLICE WITH A WEAPON!
Training in the defensive and lawful use of firearms is available from a number of reputable sources; It is highly recommended that all firearms owners attend some kind of training.