A Crime of Opportunity
Break-ins are a crime of opportunity, where entry is gained due to carelessness of homeowners. Follow these ten essentials and you will all but eliminate the chance of unlawful entry.
1. Lock all your doors 24/7*
Most unlawful entry is through doorways. And about 50% of those are through doors left unlocked. An unlocked lock is not a lock!
- 51% of break-ins occur during daylight.
- 49% occur after dark.
- 8,600 break-ins a day. 1 every 13 seconds.
2. Deadbolt all exterior entrances.
Most burglaries are the result of forcible entry.* Every exterior entryway into your home needs a deadbolt with a full 1″ throwbolt.
- Treat the door from the garage to inside the house as an exterior door.
- Exterior doors should be solid, 1-3/4″ hardwood or fibreglass, with secure frames.
3. Intruders fear the spotlight.
An intruder’s greatest fear is being seen. Don’t give them a place to hide.
- Good exterior lighting around your perimeter creates a psychological barrier.
- Consider motion activated light fixtures.
- All porches and other entrances should be lit with at least 40-watt bulbs.
- Trim the overgrown bushes, tree limbs, or landscaping to the height of porches or windows.
4. Glass can shatter your security.
- Locks less than an arm’s length away from glass panels and sidelights require glass brick, grates or grilles.
- A sliding glass door is lifted into position when installed – and easily lifted out if you’re not careful. Adjust screw in the door track to limit clearance. Add a wooden dowel or broom handle too. Ensure children can remove easily in the event of a fire.
- Retrofit ground floor windows with locking hardware.
5. “While you’re on vacation, I’ll just let myself in.”
Maintain the appearance of occupancy at all times.
- Use automatic timers to turn on different lights at different times.
- Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers. And, occasionally use your garbage cans.
- During the winter, arrange to have snow shoveled.
- Most break-ins occur between 10am and 3pm. Put a radio on a timer. Turn the ringer on the telephone down.
6. Start a neighborhood watch.
Neighbors watching out for each other is the most effective method of crime prevention. Host a Neighborhood Watch get-started meeting for your block, and invite a police department representative to assist with planning, education, training and prevention techniques.
7. Remember that key you thought you put under the mat?
- Never hide keys under a mat, or taped above a door jamb: Burglars know these places.
- Leave a key with a trusted neighbor.
- Don’t place identification tags on your key or key rings.
8. Help the police help you.
- House numbers should be at least 4″ – 6″ high, reflective and visible from the street.
- Numbers should be illuminated at night.
- Report strangers running through private yards or alley ways or anyone looking into windows of houses or parked cars.
- Call the police. Don’t worry about false alarms. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Call 911 if an emergency threatens human life or property. If not an emergency call your local police department directly.
9. Burglars prefer cash.
Burglars want cash or items easily fenced for cash; small electronic equipment, computers, cameras, jewelry, hand guns. Don’t make it easy…
- Empty stereo and television boxes in the alley is a strong temptation to “inquire within”.
- Hide your valuables or keep them under lock and key.
- Engrave your valuables with “THIS PROPERTY STOLEN FROM …” and include your driver’s license number. Marked property is difficult to fence and easier to recover.
10. Gone in 60 seconds.
Research by The National Crime Prevention Institute shows that burglars generally will work no longer than 60 seconds to obtain entry.
Weiser exterior locks offer a number of features tested and proven to resist kick-ins, saw attacks, picking attempts, wrench-offs and prying.
* FBI Statistics: Uniform Crime Reporting Program ADDITIONAL SOURCES: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics: National Crime Victimization Study; Alaska State Troopers; Bellevue, WA Police Dept; Newport Beach, CA Police Dept; Simon Hakim, Temple University; National Crime Prevention Institute.