More than three million burglaries committed in the United States in 1996 accounts for 24 percent of the reported serious crime. About 66 percent of all burglaries, or approximately two million, are committed in houses and apartments. About 69 percent of all burglaries required forcing a door or window to gain entry. Most houses and apartments are protected by simple and ineffective door and window locks. Modern hardware is available for door and window locks which will stop the amateur and slow up the experienced burglar.
There are generally three types of burglars: the professional, the semi-professional and the amateur. Although the average home owner will probably not have to face a professional thieves who focus on extremely valuable items, you need to be aware of the semi-professional and amateur burglars.
Residential burglars are often male teenagers who live near your home. They are opportunists who look for easy targets. If the risk of detection is too high, the average burglar will not attempt to enter your home.
How to Protect Your Home
Overgrown or extremely large trees or shrubs can hide burglary activity, especially around your home entry points. For security sake, have them trimmed or moved.
Fences can be as effective part of your security, but they may be a liability in hiding a burglar's privacy. Tall chain linked, fences provide security without sacrificing visibility.
Dogs can also be a valuable asset to home owners. Any dog that bark at strangers brings unwanted attention to a thief. Larger dogs can even discourage an intruder from entering your yard or home.
Street lights are another important crime deterrent for your neighborhood, but personal residence should be well lighted. Porch lights and motion-sensitive lighting are recommended for most homes.
You do not want to help a burglar break into your home, so watch what you leave in your yard. Be sure to put tools away after you are done. Your own ladders, screwdriver, hammers, or pliers can be used against you.
The average burglar has only two options for entering your residence: doors and windows. For external door frames, opt for solid wood or steel. Hinges should be positioned on the inside of the door so that a thief with screwdriver will be unable to remove the entire door. Dead bolt looks are a necessary investment. Sliding glass doors are a common entry point. For maximum security, use vertical bolts. Also, place a solid wood rod on the inside track to hold the door closed.
Garage doors are another frequent entry point. The door that connects your garage to your home should have solid wood or solid core construction. Secure it with a deadbolt lock. Don't rely on the electric garage door opener as your security measure. When you are leaving, take a few seconds to watch the door close completely.
Back doors are a popular target because they are offer concealment from the street and owners leave them unlocked. It's important to keep your door well lighted and install a deadbolt. These doors should have a solid core as well.
All ground windows should have key-operated sash locks. Keep your windows closed and locked when you are away. Screen and storm windows should be securely fastened to the structure.
Upper windows should be secured and locked. Keep your second floor secured by trimming tree branches away from the house to prevent climbing, and do not store ladders where burglars can use them.
When you move into a new house, apartment or condominium, change all of the locks immediately. Because keys have a tendency to multiply, you don't know who will have access to your home.
Talk to your neighbors about your concern about burglary. Ask them to report any suspicious persons or activities around your home to your law enforcement agency. Alarms on doors and windows are the surest way to detect a burglar, but watchful neighbors alert to unusual activity who will notify law enforcement authorities are an effective means of detection.
Vacationers provide burglars with plenty of time to enter your home, remove large items and search leisurely for hidden valuables. If you are planning a vacation, take precautions to protect your home. The key is to create an illusion of everyday activity. Ask the police to check your home and patrol your neighborhood while you are away. Stop the mail and newspaper deliveries, or have your neighbor collect them while you are away. Secure all doors and windows, pet entrances and garage doors. Transfer all valuables to a safety deposit's box. Place a timer on indoor and outdoor lamps to illuminate your home at night, and make sure that no blobs are burned out. Have a trusted friend or neighbor check your home each day. Never indicate on your phone answering machine that you are on vacation.
If you want advice or assistance for your home or your neighborhood, contact the Lafayette City Police Department. You don't have to be one of the more than 2 million residential burglary victims and neither do your neighbors. Remember. Crime prevention begins at home.