Important Steps to Making Your Home a Fortress of Self-Preservation

HOME SECURITY--24 x 7

Surviving Disasters from Home Burglars



Walter Shaw was a burglar. One of the best in the U.S. His gang even robbed the homes of Liberace and the Firestone family. His infamous ring was called the "Dinner Set Gang" and they were successful at robbing more than 2,200 homes.

But, after a buddy "narked" on him, he spent 11 years in prison and then went straight. He is now 63 and has co-authored a book called "A License to Steal" which is being made into a movie.

Mr. Shaw says that it doesn't take much cost or work to secure a home from becoming a break-in candidate. In fact, it's the little things that cause a thief to move down the street to an easier target. Why risk getting caught trying to overcome a well secured home? There are plenty of unaware suckers and easy pickings with less risk next door or around the corner. They typically prefer going for the "low-hanging fruit".

FBI statistics show that home burglaries are up 8% nationally and rising ever since 2000. In 2009, thieves stole and fenced $1.5 billion in stolen goods. Most of these items were electronic equipment and video games.

Given these economic times, it will get even worse in the coming years. Quite likely, it will even turn more violent when criminals turn to armed robberies as the economy inflates and fuel prices rise creating more desperation.

Recently, a beauty queen in Florida had her home broken into by her pizza delivery man. He pushed his way into the home when she answered the door, overpowered her, and dragged her upstairs to rape and rob her. Her fiancé in another room came to the rescue and while he was being beaten, she escaped, ran into the office and got her "Pink 38" revolver and came back and shot the thief 3 times, killing him.

Thank God for guns, huh?" The police arrived in time to record the incident and take away the body of the thief and rapist rather than those of the victims.

The check list that follows was sourced from a municipal government in Colorado. We considered its format a bit redundant, however, and it gave no reasons as to why an item was important to do.

We consolidated the list of action points to make it shorter and then supplemented it with rationale behind each security point using input from Mr. Shaw's book to get the best insight from one of the great home thieves of all time.

We added some additional information from other report sources including personal experiences and some other related studies. Finally, we had it reviewed for accuracy and completeness by a sheriff's deputy with over 16 years experience.

(Not all of the points will apply to every home especially if you don't have a basement or a two story home. Also, apartments and condos will not always be affected by all of these factors but in all cases, the points will aid the owner or renter with sufficient knowledge to achieve the concepts of good theft prevention. Additionally, other measures may have to be taken if you live in a very high crime area such as windows with bars that open from the inside only.)

All External Door Entrances and Internal Entrances from Garage or Basement to Living Quarters.

Are the door(s) made of metal or solid wood construction?

Doors can be of the "hollow-core" form that are easily kicked in by a boot and strong leg. But metal and solid wood doors will take a significant force or ramming tool to breakdown if the latch/strike plates are properly anchored.

Are the door frame(s) strong enough and tight enough to prevent easy entry?

Given enough time and tools most doors can be compromised enough to gain entrance. The point is not to give a thief a head start by having the internal framing exposed by lack of well-anchored molding or exposure of the internal door framing studs.

Are all of the door hinges on the inside of the doors?

Putting door hinges on the outside makes it very easy for a crook to remove the door by removing the 3 anchor pins in the hinges with a punch or screwdriver, and hammer.

Are all of the door windows more than 40 inches from their door locks?

Doors look nice with decorative windows in or around the door but thieves love this arrangement because they simple smash the glass and reach in with an arm and unlock the door. If you have this situation, the easiest way to defend against this is to use a keyed deadbolt lock that you lock with a key. (Be sure to remove the key but keep it close enough to quickly unlock for you or a family member in case of a fire).

Are the doors secured by a deadbolt lock at least 1" long?

It's best to have two locks on each entry door with one being a deadbolt lock having at least a 1" solid bolt. If shorter than this, the door could be forced hard enough inward to cause the tumbler to flex enough to allow the door to open. It is pretty hard to do this with a 1" bolt.

Are the strike plates adequate and properly installed with 3" screws that go from the casing into the stud framing?

Most home builders use only small ¾" screws to attach the strike plates to ¾" soft wood casings ! These screws are not enough to anchor a door from being kicked in. Either the screws fail or the casing gives in. The first thing I do on any new or different residence is to remove and install 3" screws that anchor into the framing studs behind the strike plates. Very cheap prevention!

Ensure that the locking mechanism cannot be reached from a mail slot or pet entrance or that the pet entrance won't be so large as to allow a small thief to enter through.

Many folks don't think about the risk of openings to the home for mail or pets. This can be just like a window in the area. Make sure that the opening isn't too large and it's at least 40" from the door lock. Large enough pet openings could allow a smaller thief to enter through the pet entrance.

Are the doorways visible from the street and/or a neighbor's view?

Thieves prefer viewless entries to prevent neighbors from knowing about their intentions or being able to identify them. Trees, bushes, and architecture can prevent witnesses from seeing a thief so address the situation if at all possible. A more expensive technique is to have the area monitored with a motion detector that turns on lights and/or a security camera.

Do the doorways have a screened security or storm door with adequate bolt locks and that can't be unscrewed from outside?

Putting a locked, security door/screen is an excellent way of allowing fresh air in while keeping thieves at bay. Better to talk to an unknown visitor through a secure, screen door than being totally exposed to a bad guy when you open the door. Additionally, it's another layer of deterrent by making the thief have to go through two doors with two locks on each.

If the door is alarmed, by the time the thief gets the security door open, the alarm triggers, and then it would be realized that getting past the second door would greatly increase the thief's chances of getting caught. He'll take off if he is smart.

If you are in the home when the alarm goes off, you have time to call 911, get into a defensive position or location, or acquire a weapon and await the thief's entrance if the police don't get there in time. (If you have a weapon and are near enough to the door, advise the thief that you are armed and have called the police or your alarm system has). This should unnerve most any robber and they'll will quite likely abandon their efforts quickly.

Are all external facing bolts or screws designed to be one-way and non-retractable?

Because security doors have to "pull out" so you can "push in" the main door to enter, the situation arises where the security door hinges and anchor plates are on the outside with screws needed to attach the frame to the entry. To fix this, good security doors use a special bolt on the hinges that prevent them from being removed without grinding their heads off.

Because of their location, it would be fairly difficult to get a grinder into the rather tight location quickly. The frame screws have heads designed that can't be backed out. They screw only one direction. So, the only way to get by them is to spend expensive entry time, grinding the heads off and there are at least 6-8. If your security door doesn't have these, for certain, go to a hardware store and acquire these special bolts, as soon as possible, and install them.

(Some experts suggest that the bolts that come with a security door are of questionable strength and the heads can sometimes be twisted off with pair of channel lock pliers. If you don't want to risk this happening, you could replace them with bolts that have greater strength. Or, use lag bolts with 6 marks on the hexagon head indicating high strength. Then once the security door frame is plumb, ratchet them in tight and use a drill with a carborundum stone to grind off the corners.)

If the doors are sliding glass, patio doors, make sure the sliding panel part is secured.

Sliding glass, patio doors are easy to lift up out of their lower track and remove the sliding section. Best thing is to use a "charley-bar" which can simple be any hard material that won't bend inserted on the inside track when you are away to prevent it being slid back.

Additionally, to stop a robber from lifting up the sliding door within its track, use a key operated lock that fits in back of the sliding door on the lip of the metal track. Being keyed, makes removal difficult. The only way in then is to smash the glass and a robber wants to avoid as much noise as possible.

The danger in using a keyed system is that you MUST keep the key in the area and handy in case of a fire or some other emergency. (Of, course if you have a decent alarm system, breaking glass monitors will pick up this sound and trigger the alarm).

Are the entrances lighted with at least a 40-watt light bulbs or LEDs?

At night, darkness to a home's accessible entrance is the robber's best friend. They love darkness, so don't supply it. You must have good lighting by the front door and walkway to the garage if you don't have an internal door exit from the living quarters.

You must use at least 40 watt incandescent bulbs which don't burn a lot of electricity while providing suitable lighting. Better yet, there are plenty of LED flood lights available today that are very cheap to install and are very low in electrical cost. They provide very good lighting and are a great deterrent for "bad guys", especially if they are on a motion sensor and a "dawn to dusk" light sensor.

If you have a garage, park your car in it at night time, that's what it was designed for. Today, with gas being so expensive, $70 in gas is an avoidable loss to say nothing of someone having a much better chance of stealing your car.

Is all landscaping kept trimmed to less than 2' below all windows?

Robbers love to be discrete and shrubbery provides great concealment that allows them to stay out of sight, making it difficult to see them. Don't make it easy for them. Keep your plants trimmed.

For the front door, are tree limbs cleared to approximately 6' below the canopy?

Some folks love greenery but when it blocks visibility between the street or neighbors home, it allows the thief to spend quality time entering and leaving your home. Keep it cut back for your safety.

If no security door is available, does the door have a suitable "Peep" Viewer?

If your residence doesn't have a security door which is often the case for rental property or condos, make sure a viewer is installed at the right height for both adults and children. It may require a lower one for smaller children. Teach the kids when they can and cannot open the door.

Ground Floor, Upper Floor, and Basement Windows

Do all of the windows have adequate locks in operating condition?

Every window in the home that can be opened regardless of level (2nd story or basement) needs to have a suitable, operational lock and they need to be used at all time when you're in the home or out.

In hotter climates, so many people, leave their windows open in the evening to get cool, fresh air at times and then fall asleep. They sometimes wake up to find a visitor in the room often resulting in rape for women and beatings or death for others.

If you do open a window, be sure you are in the room and alert to possible entry. Also, if possible, it would be suggested that you use a keyed lock on the sliding portion of the window at all times to prevent it from being opened too wide for entry. If it's not keyed, it can be removed by a robber by their reaching in and turning the screwed version out.

Do all of the windows have screens or storm windows that lock from the inside?

Screens are not a deterrent unless they are of heavy screening material that can't be easily cut with a blade. Some areas have special storm windows that provide additionally protection from bad weather. They should have locks also which makes it a problematic deterrent in having to get through two windows.

Are exterior windows free from concealing structures or landscaping?

Same rationale as above for entry doors.

For upper story windows are all ladders kept inside when not in use?

Why provide a tool for easy access to upper story windows? Often times folks feel that the upper story windows are safe to leave open or unlocked. Most robbers know this and if they can get around back of the residence and at a second floor window the chances if it being unlocked or even open are high. Recognize this and be careful. Apply the same thinking as you would to first story windows.

Are trees and shrubbery kept trimmed back from all windows at all levels?

Same reason as for doors above. Visibility is often a deterrent to a good robber.

Garage Doors and Windows

Is the automobile entrance door to the garage equipped with adequate locks?

A lot of people leave their garage doors open and also their entrance door when they are home. Some leave the entrance door unlocked at all times. And, even if the entrance door is locked, things in the garage are open to even junior thieves. This items could be bikes and expensive tools or even cars. Leaving the door unlocked could be dangerous when you're home and leaving it unlocked when you're away just makes things easy for robbers to remove most of your furniture and expensive items with a truck once they get your garage door open. How might a couple of robbers get your garage door open when you are gone?

There are only a certain number of electronic combination signatures within a residential addition. Thieves can obtain electronic equipment that can send your garage door opener a correct command by matter of elimination or by copying yours when you use it and they are close by if they have the right equipment. (Same for cars with electronic lock systems).

Additionally, should they get the garage door open by some electronic or physical means, they can take their time in breaking into the living area and you might even supply the tools for them. Once in, back up the truck! You'll come home to an empty house!

If you're home for an extended period of time, we would recommend that you block the track with a clamp or unplug the opener if possible.

Is the external garage door kept closed and locked at all times?

This is a regular side door to the garage. It falls under the same security needs at all exterior doors above.

Are garage windows adequately secured?

Same issue as for all windows above.

Is the external garage entrance secured adequately?

Same issues for all external doors above.

Are tools, ladders, and other equipment kept in the garage?

Generally they are and their isn't much you can do about that other than securing against entry as discussed above.

Are all garage doors lighted on the outside by at least a 40 Watt bulb or LEDs?

Front garage lights on each side of the garage door at night are decorative and are a good security as well as safety measure for legitimate visitors. However, it would be good if they were turned on by a light sensor rather than remembering to turn them off in the morning.

Leaving the garage exterior lights on all day is not recommended since it gives the would-be-robber a key that the home is probably vacant because no one turned off the lights. So, these can be a two-edged sword if not handled properly. Side entry door lighting should also be managed by a light sensor if street lighting fails to illuminate enough.

Maintenance

Are garbage and recycling bins taken in immediately after pickup?

Living them out for all day is a signal to drive-by opportunist that no one is probably home. So, it's not a good idea to leave too long. If you are away, have the neighbor agree to bring it back in for you if you have to leave it for the refuse truck.

Are newspapers and mail picked up every day especially when you're gone?

These are also clues to absent homeowners. Get a neighbor to pick up for you and keep until you get back. Be sure and offer to reciprocate for them.

Is the structure of your home painted and in a condition of good repair and landscaping kept trimmed?

Unkempt homes and yards scream carelessness. Robbers might take an interest in the potential laxity of this kind of homeowner.

Are old automobiles, boats, trailers, or other vehicles stored away from your front yard?

This are not only targets for theft, but they give cover for the uninvited.

Is all graffiti removed immediately?

Same concept which suggest homeowner laxness.

Are windows and doors locked when you are away from home?

There are people that leave their cars with the keys in the ignition and unlocked as well as their homes. This is especially true in more rural settings. Today, you just can't take the chance because somebody traveling through would be happy to take advantage of your openness. This includes when you are just going down to the corner store for a minute.

There is a demonstration video that clocked a thief expert taking only 31 seconds to break into a home, grab a computer, and purse with money, ID, and phone. Not bad for 31 seconds of work.

Same thing happened to my wife. She went to the store for 30 minutes at noon and came back to find the front door kicked in and our expensive, camera equipment gone! We did find out that if your stereo or TV are too old, they won't typically steal them! We didn't know whether to feel offended or lucky!

If you have a security system, are they on when you are at home or away?

Only 20% of people with a security system use them when they are away and even less when they are home. The security system and the yard signs are a deterrent to robbers. Thieves would just as soon go to the next house that is empty without a security system than tackle yours unless they are just arrogant and up for the challenge.

Robbers simple don't know how good your system is anyway, so why take a chance. When you are home, it gives you a 'heads up" that someone is breaking into your home when your might be distracted. It buys you some time to react correctly and protectively. And, when you're away, why wouldn't you use it? Why all of that expense and leave it disabled. Doesn't make much sense.

Is valuable property such as jewelry, laptops, IPods, etc. visible through open curtains or blinds?

Curious eyes viewing such available material increases the chances that a thief would consider his reward-risk formula and attempt a break-in. So, why entice them with bait unless you're policemen setting a trap?

Is your mailbox clearly marked with the street address?

This only applies if your mail is delivered to your yard but it can be a second way for policemen to identify your home quickly as they drive by.

Is your street address clearly visible from the street with numbers a minimum of 3 inches high and made of fluorescent material rather than reflective? Or, are the numbers of your street address visible at night by electric lighting?

Both police and fireman need to be able to easily and quickly identify your home in case of a robbery or worse. Reflective material is not as suitable for night viewing as electric lighting or fluorescent letters that don't glare when a flashlight or beam light is pointed at them.

Building Lighting

Are building numbers illuminated?

Same reason as for homes above. Usually these kinds of buildings have expensive tools or inventory that are just as valuable to a thief as electronic gear. And, because they are not part of the home, it is much more difficult to detect or be aware of a burglar breaking in. (Actually had a good friend whose commercial building on his property was broken into, $10,000 in tools taken, and the tools were used to steal his new pickup.)

Are building accesses illuminated?

Same reason as for homes above.

Are front, side, and back areas illuminated?

Same reason as for homes above.

Does outside lighting provide a cone of illumination downward to walkways, preferably from the side?

Same reason as for homes above. And, the further the building is from the main home, the more challenging it is to monitor it outside of using an alarm system.

Does illumination provide a level of lighting between buildings to distinguish forms and movement?

Line of sight isn't much good at night without decent lighting.

Other Things to Consider if Feasible

Do you have a small barking dog?

Walter Shaw, the master thief, said he wouldn't bother with a house that had a small barking dog. The homes with the big, bad security dogs could be managed but not the "little yappers" that can be heard for blocks away. We would recommend the Min-Pin, great watchdogs , they don't eat much, and everybody is a stranger to them even neighbors until they know you approve of their presence.

Other experts believe that large breeds that fit the watch dog profile is one of the best security deterrents God ever made. Their bark is distinct and translates to "a big dog lives here" by anyone coming onto your property or a neighbor in the area.

If the internal home perimeter is entered by a robber, the potential of a large dog attacking them is quite great. At a minimum, they can do brutal damage to a trespasser in seconds and their attack is persistent. Why take the chance of injury or even death if you are a thief? There are other homes without these deterrents.

Do you keep your car keys near your bed stand at night?

Here's a tip, especially for the ladies or kids at home alone. Keep your car keys with you in the bedroom and lock your bedroom at night. (By putting a solid door on your bedroom gives you a safe room to secure your defense, call for help, and resist intruders).

Make sure you have your cell phone with you in case the land line is cut, you can call for help.

Do you have personal weapons in your possession, easily accessible for protection, and do you know how to use them even in the dark or low light situations?

In Montana, a young 14 year old girl was left home and upstairs by her dad going to work and she was waiting to go to school. Two illegal aliens broke into her home having stabbed and killed someone down the block already. Now they had that victim's revolver.

The young girl heard them breaking in and ran and got her shotgun. She shot the first guy in the groin when he reached the top of the stairs! Then she went on offense and shot the second guy between the neck and shoulder as he ran up the stairs to his fallen buddy. He ran out the door and died in the street by bleeding to death. (Oh, the young lady was a skeet championship shooter. Our hats off to a young lady of courage.).

A Self-Protection Scenario with a Gun

If you have a gun and you are faced with a break-in at night when you are sleeping, what are the recommended steps for self-protection?

  1. If your bedroom is a "safe" room and you're not already in it, go to it quickly and lock the door. If you are already asleep and you're awakened hopefully you locked your door.
  2. Next get your weapon in hand quickly and prepare it for use.
  3. Then call for help with your cell phone.
  4. If the intruder tries to enter the room, use your car key pad to trigger you car alarm in the garage or street. This noise coupled with your home alarm system will unnerve most robbers.
  5. Then advise the intruder in a loud voice that you have called for help minutes ago, that you are armed, and that they need to leave NOW.
  6. (Some folks say that an intruder hearing the chambering of a shotgun shell unnerves even the most persistent thief unless they are high on drugs or alcohol or are intent on murder or rape.)
  7. Next, get back from the door as far as possible and wait in a ready firing position. When forced to defend yourself in your home at night, it is recommended to take a low profile position such as squatting or laying down in advance and wait for your attacker to come to you. Provide them with the smallest target possible.
  8. As they enter the doorway, they typically will be looking for you standing and by the time they locate your lower position, you've bought yourself a split second to fire first. If you could afford a laser sight, especially for a women, this is ideal. Laser sights tell the user accurately where they are aiming especially in the dark or low light. (Nothing like an intruder seeing the laser light on his chest to make him lose control of his bladder without firing a shot !)
  9. If they get through the door before help arrives, fire a shot to the chest and the rest towards the head until they stop or you gun is empty. This will happen in seconds, so be mentally prepared for the action.
  10. When the police arrive, tell them that you were being attacked and give no further information until you talk to an attorney familiar with self protection with firearms. No offense to the police, but things said before being read your rights can be held against you in court if you have to defend yourself for civil or criminal acts.

There are many kinds of scenarios that you can imagine and should to pre-think out the best strategies to give you the tactical advantage.

Special Note: If you choose to defend your life and the lives of your family with lethal force such as a gun it is highly recommended that you do the following three things.)

  1. Know the laws of your area or state regarding the use of "deadly force". Use your library or internet to access your state laws regarding self defense with a gun. For example, in the state of Arizona the Revised Statutes start with ARS 13-401-408 and 11. Read and understand them. Transfer and discuss that knowledge to the appropriate family members.
  2. If you choose a gun as a weapon of self defense, you must be able to handle that weapon especially if your life or family depends on it. It might look good in the case but that is not going to save your life. You need to practice with it, know everything about it, and keep it clean and properly maintained if this weapon is going to be used for your protection.

    Don't forget, your gun needs to be LOADED with a cartridge in firing position, and safety on. (An empty gun is nothing more than a chunk of metal). Granted, shotguns, rifles, revolvers, and semi-automatic handguns all have different means of being put into operation quickly.
  3. Know what these ways are for your choice of weapon and make sure it is left in a safe state where children are involved but can be quickly retrieved and made ready for defense in seconds.

    And, when you need to use it, time is not in your favor, because the bad guy is minutes ahead of you. Something for you to think about, especially if you have little ones in the home. This is a very delicate subject and must be carefully discussed and planned before taking on such a task.

  4. Third and most important, will you be able to use this weapon to kill another human being if your life or the lives of your family depended upon it? For some, this is not an easy question to answer, but answer it you must.

    You must prepare yourself mentally. There is no shame if you cannot, however, if that is the case then having a weapon in the home is too dangerous as it can be used on you or your family if the bad guy takes it away from you. If you can quickly answer ,yes, then put it to the test by checking out a local shooting range and take a combat pistol class. This will test you on the ability to shoot or not shoot during certain scenarios and high stress situations. Their exercises will build your skill and confidence in defending yourself.

For a very practical discussion on personal protection and handguns, please refer to the article at this link and pay particular attention to what the author says about childern and guns.

Armed Self Protection Discussion

Remember, you can get training in the span of 8 hours by firearm trainers at target ranges that provide tutoring if you haven't been trained before. Highly recommended.

However, if you decide you are not physically or mentally capable of defending yourself in this manner, you should choose a quality home alarm system suitable for your family profile. (In fact, you can double your protection with personal arms and a security system. The security system buys you time to prepare for defense and it really does help you sleep better at night knowing your system will alert you 24 X 7 !!)

The alarm system should be connected to a well known monitoring company with communications to local law enforcement, hospital, and fire stations.



(Oh, make sure that motion sensors are not able to be set off by a family pet. Police have better things to do than find out that your home alarm was triggered by your pet?)

The security system must be able to operate off of a battery, should the electricity be cut off by a thief. Check if the alarm company offers integration with the new phone platforms such as the Iphone, Android, or Blackberry like ADT does for your prompt notification at all times.

Is your master bedroom set up as a safe room?

Just put in a solid core door, 3" screws into the strike plate, and a quality deadbolt lock. This buys you safety or at least a lot of time to get prepared. Patio doors and windows need to be secured as described above.

If you have a security system, do you have glass breakage sensors and internal home motion detectors that are only triggered by the body mass of a person?

When windows are broken, you can have sensor on each window or have detectors in areas that are programmed to determine glass window breakage. The latter is probably cheaper if your home has many windows.




Is your door bell in working order?

One of the favorite tricks of robbers, is to ring you doorbell, step away and see if anyone answers the door. We've experience this several times in large cities.

Do you have smoke/fire alarms in the garage and home?

Smoke and fire alarms can save lives if they exist in the home and are working. (Red light on). They can be separated from a security system or tied into it so that the system can call the fire department through a monitoring agency. Having these alarms in the garage where chemicals, gas, or a hot car could start a fire that would progress quite a bit before you might become aware of it and by then it might be too late to limit damage and loss to the entire home.

Do you have fire extinguishers in the home kitchen and garage?

Something as simple as hot grease or the cook's clothing catching on fire can be minimized with a small fire extinguisher. Just a plain good thing to have handy. Same for the garage where other more probably things can occur while doing activities in the garage. They are required on boats, why wouldn't you want access to them around the home. They are not that expensive.

Do you have security warning signs in front and back yards?


Put security advisory signs in the backyard as well as front. Thieves like to work from the back or side so advise them that you won't be an easy target.

If you have security monitoring onsite, make sure thieves know it. (Nothing quite so unnerving to a robber as to visualize seeing their face on TV at 5 o'clock for their neighbor to recognize them. It's important that the security monitoring is of high enough resolution so as to be able to ID the crook.)

Have you placed security warning window decals or stickers on all windows facing outward?

Thieves may miss your signs if they come in on the sides of the home or other areas, so be liberal with putting decals facing outward on many of your windows.

Those decals that indicate a big reward will be offered to capture anyone that successfully breaks into your home, are especially thought provoking to the would be robber.

Favorite entrances for thieves are through rear French doors or rear sliding glass doors. (Best entrance and exit, since if police arrive, they will usually be coming through the front door). Thieves work in daytime as well as night. Most homes have both husband and wife either at work or the wife is out running errands. Watch out for fake service people, coupon distributors, or solicitors with a fake permit.

Thieves don't have the time or usually the skill to disable a security or surveillance systems. It's also too difficult figuring where the monitors are all located. Surveillance cameras are the kiss of death for thieves. Be sure and let them know you have this type of equipment on signs and window decals.

Block Watches.

If in the suburbs, have a Block Party and invite the police to report the thefts and other types of crime in your area. It can be surprising as to the amount of crime occurring in your neighborhood.

Get with the neighbors, if it's considered necessary based on current police reports or recent break-ins in your area, and set up a Block Watch. Put up signs telling visitors that they are being monitored by the residence. Almost as good as a security camera !

Do you avoid talking about your absentee plans in public?

Don't talk about your plans to leave the area in public or with strangers. Keep this information between your neighbors, family members, and best friends.

Car mechanics, hairdressers, barbers, bankers usually have plenty of ears around to pick up facts regarding a planned absence. Thieves have support folks everywhere also that will snitch on innocent people.

Storage of Valuables

Safest place to keep safes and important things is in the kitchen believe it or not. It's the most difficult place to search since it is central to the home and has so many things to search through. Thieves like the master bedrooms, offices, and living rooms where most of the electronic valuables are located.

Trash Containers

Leaving your trash container out for a long period of time is an indicator that you have left the area and put the trash out as the last thing to do so it gets picked up sometime during the week. Then it continues to set there for some days awaiting your return. You might as well hang on sign on it saying "hey, we're not home-help yourselves !"

As suggested previously, have a neighbor take care of this for you while you're absent.

Leaving your trash can out the night before with product containers from new purchases helps the thieves size up the new stuff you just bought.

Often, once robbed, a robber will monitor your home for indications that you've replaced your stolen stuff after being reimbursed by your insurance company for some of your losses.

If you carelessly advertise the fact by placing the packaging in the trash, the thief will come back again and try to take this new stuff if you haven't done anything better to deter them.

Sources:
City of Greenwood Village, Colorado's Home Security Checklist.
"License to Steal", Walter Shaw.

Verification by:
Deputy Sheriff--16 Year Veteran.


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