For any crime to take place, three elements must exist: the criminal’s desire to commit the crime, the criminal’s ability to commit the crime and the criminal’s opportunity to commit the crime. We call this the “crime triangle.”
The criminal’s opportunity is easiest to control. The residential burglary safety tips below are not meant to be all-inclusive but rather to assist you with securing your home.
1. Create the illusion that someone is at home. Leave a TV or radio on in a room where a burglar would most likely break in or one that is visible from the street. Burglary deterrent TV simulators are another affordable option.
2. Use exterior lighting and motion detectors. This minimizes places a thief can conceal themselves.
3. Make sure alarm yard signs and window decals are prominently displayed on your property. They are a good first line of defense to deter potential burglars. Be sure to set your alarm, no matter how long you will be away from your residence.
4. Make sure all exterior doors have good, proper locks. Install 1-inch deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Also, consider an extended strike plate and 3-inch screws versus the traditional shorter screws for your strike plate.
5. Check to see who is at the door before opening it, especially if you’re not expecting anyone. Remember to “answer the door, but not open the door” for strangers.
6. Burglar-proof your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track. Optional home security equipment, such as a glass break sensor, can be used to detect when a glass door or window is shattered and alert you of a break-in. Also, several companies sell window security film that can be applied to glass windows and doors. If properly applied, the time it takes for a crook to gain entry increases significantly.
7. Keep garage doors closed at all times. Even when you’re home, it’s important to safeguard your belongings and your family. Keeping garage doors closed prohibits intruders from gaining access to a door that leads directly into your home.
8. Store cash, jewelry and other valuables in a safe or safety deposit box instead of lying around your home. Be sure to inventory all of your valuables. The inventory should include a description of the item (make/model), serial numbers (if applicable) and photos.
9. Follow the 2-foot, 6-foot rule. Shrubbery should be trimmed down lower than two feet while tree canopies should be trimmed up higher than six feet. This limits places of concealment around your residence.
10. Security cameras are a great addition in crime fighting. Place cameras to capture the ingress and egress to your house. Additionally, place a camera overlooking your driveway and the front of your home to capture any suspicious persons or vehicles.
Most importantly, if you see something, say something.
About the Author
Sergeant Menachem Green of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office serves as the supervisor of the Crime Prevention Unit. He is a designated Florida Crime Prevention Practitioner and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Practitioner by the Florida Attorney General’s Office.