One of the most most common threats to your home or residence is burglary. According
to the FBI statistics, a house is burglarized every 15.4 seconds. Although burglary
is a property crime, becoming a victim of burglary can leave you and your family
feeling vulnerable and violated. To avoid becoming a victim of burglary, it is important
to first gain an understanding how the common burglar thinks.
The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most
people are away at work or school. The summer months of July and August have the
most burglaries. Burglaries are committed most often by young males looking for
items that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Some of their
favorite items are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, notebook computers, DVD, CD & MP3
players, video game consoles, and other small electronic devices. Statistics tell
us that most burglars use force to enter a dwelling, but they preference easy access
through an open door or window. Ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, pliers,
pry bars, and hammers are most often used by burglars.
Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a
selection process. Burglar's tend to choose homes that are unoccupied and those
that have the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and the best escape
routes. What follows is a list of suggestions to minimize your risk by making your
home unattractive to potential burglars.
- Light the outside of your home to make it more visible to your neighbors. Outside
motion detector lights can make very difficult for an intruder to approach your
residence without being seen.
- Trim bushes near doors and windows to reduce hiding places for burglars.
- Make sure that all outside doors are solid core or metal and install high quality
dead-bolt locks. Make sure you can unlock all doors from the inside without a key
to allow a quick escape from a fire.
- Install peepholes in all outside doors.
- Borrow or purchase an engraver to mark stereo equipment, computers, cameras, lawnmowers
and other valuables. Engraving makes stolen property more difficult sell and can
also lead to the apprehension of the criminals who initially stole it.
- Don’t keep expensive jewelry, valuable collectibles, or large amounts of cash in
your home. If you do, ensure that they are stored away in a hidden safe or other
- Keep a list of your valuables and their serial numbers. A videotape, photograph,
or sales receipts will not only help with insurance claims, but will aid in the
prosecution of individuals who are apprehended with these items in their possession.
- Install locks on windows. Windows are a favorite access point for burglars. All
sliding doors should have "ventilation locks". Screens and storms should be latched
on the inside. Include locks on garage and basement windows.
- Don’t advertise your absence. Never leave a message on your answering machine that
says you are away for a few days or on vacation. Before you leave, set timers so
that lights, TVs, and radios go on and off. Have someone pick up the mail, pick
up newspapers, set out trash, mow the lawn or shovel snow if you are away. If your
home is going to be vacant for an extended period of time, you may also contact
the North Bergen Police Department to give notice of your absence.
- Close your garage door. An empty garage says you’re not at home. Thieves can easily
steal bikes, lawnmowers, snow blowers and other valuables. Burglars can close the
garage door and take their time to steal valuables and burglarize your home.
- If possible, install a garage door opener with a light. A remote opener and a lighted
garage will help you enter and leave your home safely. Test the door to make sure
it reverses easily when it hits something.
- Even if your vehicle is parked in your garage, lock it and keep your valuables out
of sight. Don’t store the title for your car in the glove compartment. You will
need it to prove ownership if the car is stolen.
- If your residence is equipped with a burglar alarm or other electronic monitoring
device, make sure that it is operating properly. An alarm system that doesn't work
will not protect your home. In addition, repeat false alarms will diminish the alarm's
effectiveness by causing your neighbors to believe that "it is just another false