The FBI states that there were 1.56 million homes burglarized in 2008.
The average burglar typically is not very sophisticated in their approach or methods of entry. The vast majority of burglaries are opportunistic in nature and not well planned.
Finding a potential Target Home involves the primary considerations of sizing up the ease of entry, avoiding detection, and avoiding any confrontation with an occupant. A simple knock on the door or phone call can reveal whether the home is occupied. If there is no response, it is easy for the burglar to simply try all the exterior doors or windows to see if any have negligently been left unlocked. Surprisingly, it is not uncommon for unlocked doors and windows to be the entry point for a large number of home “break-ins”.
If all doors and windows were properly locked, then a quick shoulder or kick may be the trick to splinter the frame and the door will give way. If the front door is sturdy and resists an entry attempt, the burglar will try a back, garage, or side door, particularly a sliding door. Back and side doors are often less robust and secure than the front door, or sometimes feature small glass windows (lites) that can be broken, allowing an intruder to reach in and unlock the door. If that fails, the next option is making entry by a window, although burglars will rarely break large panes of glass, due to the risk of detection created by the noise.
If the would-be intruder cannot make entry within 2 - 3 minutes, more often than not they will move on to an easier target. Spending more time or exerting more effort increases the risk of being caught, and there are many other easier targets to choose.
Why not take some simple steps, now, to greatly reduce the chances of becoming a victim of Burglary or Home Invasion?
Identifying household security risks and developing a plan to address them is the first step in any home security makeover. A comprehensive home safety and security review, conducted by a trained security professional, will reveal weaknesses in your home security perimeter that should be corrected. A layered approach to security is advisable. A greater number of barriers to entry and an increased chance of detection will greatly reduce the risks to your family and home.
Making your home a less inviting target is the best way to get would-be intruders to pass you by. Most residential burglaries occur during daytime hours when occupants are likely to be away. Make your home appear to be occupied at all times by leaving a radio playing inside your home while you are gone, and put lights on timers to turn them on and off at appropriate times. Don't ever allow newspapers or mail to accumulate outside your home. Keep shrubbery or trees near windows and doors well trimmed to deny burglars a hiding place, while they work to enter. Posting a "beware of dog" sign on a fence or pole can also make a intruder think twice about trying their luck.
It is not possible to make your home burglary-proof, but you can make it much harder for an intruder to enter. Exterior doors should be solid wood, fiberglass, or metal with 3" screws securing the lock strike plates and hinges. Weak or damaged doors and frames should be repaired, replaced, and/or equipped with reinforcement plates. Quality deadbolts should be installed and used consistently by all members of the household, when at home or when departing. Sliding doors can be protected with the addition of auxiliary locks that are widely available. Windows should also be securely locked. Some of these upgrades can be performed by a moderate to advanced DIY enthusiast, but most certainly by a licensed and bonded locksmith. High Security Locks can provide sturdier hardware with the addition of pick and bump resistant features.
A professionally installed and monitored home security system can detect unauthorized entry and notify law enforcement authorities that assistance is required. A security system is important to help protect against intrusion. If someone does illegally enter, the loud siren will usually drive the intruder off, and it notifies occupants to take appropriate action. Only a monitored alarm system can give you the peace of mind of knowing that first responders will be summoned automatically when needed, whether you are at home or away. As a side benefit, using an alarm and deadbolt often qualify the home or business owner of insurance discounts, which can pay for or reduce the cost of the upgrades.
Taking action before a break-in is much easier and less costly than after the crime is committed. Don't wait until it's too late to prevent a frightening and costly burglary or home invasion.
- Artcile provided by Gregory Parks, President and CEO of Accurate Security Pros Inc., February 2010.
***Some ideas and pieces of this article were borrowed from George White’s Jan. 18, 2010 article in the Chicago Home Safety and Security Examiner.