June 26, 2019

Preventing burglary on vacation

With many homeowners taking their annual long vacations in July and August, it’s important to protect your belongings from opportunistic folks out there looking to take advantage.

Home burglary and vehicle prowls are still among the most common property crimes committed against U.S. homes every year, prompting security professionals and neighborhoods alike to increase prevention efforts.

As in every industry, the advancements in home security technology are staggering. Security cameras are nothing new. Just check out the local news. There’s a new story or video gone viral about burglars caught on tape practically every night.

But did anyone imagine 20 years ago a homeowner could watch their property via cell phone camera from the other side of the world? And with the option to verbally confront anyone you see lurking around the premises?

We haven’t seen anything yet, say the experts. According to security firm ADT, full-blown facial and retinal recognition security systems will be the norm - If it’s not you, no one is getting in. Try too hard, and an alarm is activated.

Not far down the road are drones that give chase after break-ins and snap pictures as the criminals try to escape.

With the proliferation of cell phone and security cameras, it’s amazing anyone ever gets away with burglary at all. But they do.

Beyond catching them on camera, the most effective weapons against burglars are simple:

Take steps to make crooks uncomfortable doing what they do – trying to sneak in and out, quickly and quietly. Trimming back shadowy shrubbery and installing motion detecting lights helps.

Keep up your guard! Take a critical look at your home security every three to four months. Don't become lax - crime prevention is a continuous process.

It’s important to maintain good communications with your neighbors. Agree to look out for each other! Make it look like you’re still home when you’re not. Have the neighbors take in the mail, move the cars and keep an eye out. Neighbors should be able to see clearly who is going in and out.

The first thing to do is to start reducing places around your home a burglar might hide. Trimming away vegetation from windows and illuminating areas where shadows fall are two of the best ways. Motion detectors and automatic lights are a good measure.

The next step is locking up. All doors and windows should lock from the inside. Sliding doors should have a regular lock plus a locking bar. Basement and garage entrances are sometimes overlooked, but should be visible, well-lit and adequately secured.

The next step is minimizing losses, and aiding law enforcement in finding stolen property.

Keep valuables, a home inventory list and as much of your cash as possible in a bank, not at home. Engrave all property with your driver's license number including the state.

Keep a list of serial numbers for watches, cameras, computers, TVs, stereos and other electronics. If you discover a burglary has already been committed, leave immediately. Leave the house undisturbed and call the police.

Many residential areas take the next step with organized "Neighborhood Watch" programs to maintain a visible presence and relay any information gathered to police.

These simple tips will help you feel secure in your home by making you a less attractive victim. If you would like professional advice and assistance in a thorough home security inspection contact your local crime prevention program.