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Reducing Burglary Risks

By on May 13th, 2013

Keep your home safe and secure!

Make small changes to reduce burglary risks.

While security systems are the most effective deterrent for potential burglars, there are many ways in which you can help improve the safety and security of your home and belongings even further. Even small changes can make a big difference – especially this time of year as we approach the summer season, when statistically, home burglary trends tend to rise.

Secure Windows & Doors

While you might like a nice breeze at night, leaving windows open more than just a few inches can be dangerous (and costly). If valuables are placed near the window, they can easily be reached. And worse, a criminal can and will easily open, unlock, or even break the window to gain access to your home. You can better prevent this by keeping the window closed, or by inserting removable eyebolts in holes drilled into the window sash where they overlap. If need be, you can even install fixed metal bars to block window access completely. Be sure to properly secure window air conditioning units too. Use sturdy screws through the window frame to prevent burglars from removing the unit to get in.
Aside from open windows, many burglars will kick in doors to gain entry to your home. It’s a common misconception that the “better” the door, the harder it is to break in – when actually, it’s the doorjamb that makes all the difference. When a door is kicked in, the doorjamb will often split near the lock’s strike plate, so whether you have a wood, fiberglass, or steel door really makes no difference from a security standpoint. That said, you can easily strengthen this weak spot by installing a 1-inch long deadbolt lock and a reinforced metal box strike using 3-inch long screws that lodge deep in the framing beyond the doorjamb – a $10 solution.
If you have a sliding patio door, it’s more likely that the glass will be broken. Professionally installed window film is one option. According to manufacturer claims, it can resist blows of up 400 foot-pounds, but because it was designed primarily for safety (shatter-proof) and not security, it’s certainly not an ideal solution. Be sure to ask our trained technicians about glass-break sensors and motion detectors – both affordable add-ons to any Damar-installed security system.

Maintain Landscaping

Take a close look at the shrubs and plants surrounding your home. Are they so tall and dense that you can’t see through them? Do they obstruct windows? Or better put, are they big enough that a potential burglar could hide behind them without being seen?
This Spring, while you’re mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, and generally prepping your home’s exterior for the new season, take an extra minute to cut back the overgrown landscaping. You’ll quickly and easily eliminate a common hiding spot for would-be intruders, and your plants will be healthier too!
While you’re at it, look for any large tree branches that could provide easy access to second story windows or the roof of your home. These should be trimmed back too. Another tip is to place loose gravel in flowerbeds around the house. It will make a noisy crunching sound when stepped on – a great warning signal for you and would-be intruders.

Improve Lighting

Just like landscaping, proper lighting can make all the difference. With the simple flip of a switch, those dark hiding spots in and around your home are instantly transformed from high-risk areas to comfortable indoor/outdoor living spaces. These poorly lit areas often include the back door, deck or patio, doorway(s) to the garage, basement stairwells, and walkways along the sides of the home – and this is especially true for homes that back up to woods and parks, golf courses, and other secluded areas. Motion lights, and lighting installed high enough that it can’t be easily tampered with are both great options, but even little light can go a long way in these tight spots. If the budget is tight or installation is problematic, you might opt for solar-powered landscape lighting. Whichever option you choose, it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to brighten up your home.
And if you’re planning to travel, don’t forget to install timers before you leave. They are an inexpensive tool to keep lights and other electronic devices turning on and off throughout the day and night. A well lit home is an extremely effective deterrent for criminals, and besides, who doesn’t like coming home to a bright and cheery house?

Connect With Neighbors & Your Community

More often than not, home burglaries occur in the evening or through the night. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce daytime risks. Most neighborhoods have at least a few residents home during the day, and sometimes all it takes to prevent theft is an obvious sign that someone is watching. Cars parked in the driveway or on the street out front, open windows or garage doors, or even kids playing in the yard are all signals that someone might be around to notice and report a break-in. If you’re home, make it obvious! You and your neighbors can help make your neighborhood a safer place to live just by staying alert. Make a point to watch for unusual activity, take down license plate numbers for suspicious vehicles, and if need be call the police!
Make a point to meet your neighbors and learn their schedules. You can share the responsibility of protecting your neighborhood and help create a better community.

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