Keep Your Home Safe

 In Block Watch

Residential burglars know many of us are lax when it comes to home security. While there is no guarantee that you will not be the victim of a crime regardless of the precautions taken, simple measures can descourage a burglar.

To deter, delay, deny, or detect a burglar:

  • Always lock your doors and windows when leaving. Sash windows can be “pinned” to prevent someone from forcing open. (note #1)
    Sliding doors and windows should either be drilled and pinned or secured with a patio door lock.
    Basement windows can be nailed/screwed shut, barred, or glass blocked.
  • Never leave a house key under a doormat, in a flower pot, or on the ledge of a door.
  • Exterior doors should have a one-inch deadbolt lock that can only be opened with a key. The strike plate should be secured with 3” long screws. Replace rotted door frames with new, solid wood.
  • Make sure the perimeter of your home is well lit, especially front and back door areas. Lights should be out of reach from ground level.
  • Trim all shrubs and trees which obstruct a clear view of the entrances and windows of your home.

When Away for any length of time:

  • Use timers so lights, radio, and TV go on and off at various times to indicate that someone may be home.
  • Have someone you trust collect daily mail, newspapers, or anything else that might be delivered or left on your property.
  • Give a neighbor your trip plans and an emergency phone number.
  • Ask a neighbor to use your garbage cans, mow your lawn, shovel your walk, and park in your driveway.
  • Don’t advertise on social media websites when you will be traveling.

General Guidelines:

  • If your residence has a jimmied door or a broken window, don’t go in. Confronting a burglar can be dangerous. Instead, call 9-1-1.
  • Do not leave the porch light on during the day.
  • Never open the door to strangers. Always demand to see identification before opening the door. If the person acts suspicious or refuses to provide identification, call the police.
  • Draw and/or close all curtains, blinds and shutters at night and when away.
  • Make sure all side and back gates are closed and well locked.
  • Do not leave notes on your door indicating you are out or when you will return.
  • Do not keep your cash and jewelry in predictable places like nightstands or drawers.
  • Move valuables (laptops, electronics, purse, and keys) away from outside view and off of countertops, hooks, and chairs next to entryways.
  • Keep garage doors closed and locked at all times, even when close by. “Pin” the overhead door track so it cannot be forced open.
  • Invest in an alarm system; if you have an alarm system, be sure to use it. Inexpensive battery door/window and motion detector alarms are a deterrent.
  • Mark electronics, tools, mowers, snow blowers, etc. with your driver’s license number, and keep a record of all serial numbers, and receipts. Take pictures so police can return recovered items and a claim can be filed with insurance.

Be active on your block so youget to know your neighbors. They are your best crime deterrent. They may spot a burglar before you ever know someone is attempting to enter your home. Watch your neighbors’ houses as you would your own. Be watchful of area businesses as well.

You are the eyes and ears for the police. Be cognizant of suspicious activity on streets, sidewalks, and alleys. Trust your instincts. Don’t worry about bothering the police. Provide as much information as possible to help officers identify the suspect or connect to patterns of other reported activity. (See Notes 2, 3)

Note 1. Pinning can be easily done in double hung windows by drilling an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window into the frame of the upper window. Eye bolts or nails can then be inserted into the holes. A second hole can be drilled in the upper window frame so that with “pin” inserted the window can be partially opened, but not enough for someone to climb in.

Note 2. District 3 Non-emergency number is 933.4444.  When menu options start, enter “9” so the call gets recorded.

Information needed by police: What happened? When? Where? Is anyone injured? Vehicle description and license number? Direction of flight? Description of persons?

Note 3. What is suspicious?
Strangers wandering, sitting in parked cars, or driving slowly. Persons looking into windows, yards, vehicles or garages, or loitering, going door to door trying doorknobs. Property being removed from or placed into vehicles or buildings. Open or broken doors or windows. Heavy human traffic to and from a residence. Unusual noises like gunshots, screaming, sounds of a fight, breaking glass, barking dogs. Apparent open-air business transactions conducted from a vehicle. Abandoned vehicle.

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