To best protect your home, look at it from a burglar’s perspective. What are the vulnerable parts? Burglary is always a crime of opportunity. Reduce your odds of being affected by crime by taking some preventative steps.
Crime proofing the inside of your home
The goal of indoor crime proofing is to secure your home and make it appear occupied at all times. Below are some simple tips to deter burglars from entering your home:
Securing your premises
- Close blinds and curtains at night so that a burglar can't scope out your belongings.
- Lock all doors and windows before leaving your home.
- Lock windows so that they can't be opened from the outside. If they can't be locked, you can pin them by drilling a hole through both window frames and inserting a bolt or metal pin. The pin must be easily removable in emergency situations.
Making your home look occupied at all times
- Use timers to maintain normal lighting patterns.
- Leave a radio on when you are away from your home for short periods of time.
Protecting your valuables
- Consider marking or engraving your valuables with a unique identifier known only to you.
- Take an inventory of your home on a videotape and/or in photographs.
- Keep jewelry and negotiables in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place (e.g., not your bedroom).
Monitored alarm systems
There is no perfect deterrent to protect your home against a burglar. However, statistics show the chance of having your home broken into is significantly reduced if you have a 24-hour monitored alarm system.
Statistics also show that the amount of property stolen from homes equipped with a 24-hour monitored alarm system is less than that from homes without such a system. Burglars just don’t have as much time to act when an alarm is activated.
A 24-hour monitored alarm system provides peace of mind and security for your entire family against the possibility of home intrusion, whether you’re home or not.
Alarm systems can also monitor smoke, fire, temperature change, carbon monoxide and water escape. Alarms get help there sooner, minimizing damage and danger.
Securing your premises
There are many things that you can do to the exterior of your home or in your yard to deter burglars and make it more difficult to force entry.
- Keep your shrubbery cut back so it doesn't block windows and doors.
- Illuminate as much of your property as possible.
- Exterior doors should be solid, not hollow. Metal doors provide the best protection against forced entry.
- Use a fencing style that won't conceal a burglar's activities. Remember, if you can't see out, others can't see in.
- Secure any glass that is less than 100 cm or 40 inches from a door lock. Either coat exterior glass with an acrylic or polycarbonate to strengthen, or replace it with laminated or tempered glass.
- Door hinges that are on the outside should have a non-removable centre pin that can't be tampered with.
- Install deadbolt locks.
- Place hinged security bars over basement windows. Remember to keep the key nearby in case of emergency.
- Pin sliding patio doors together when closed. Another easy security step is to drill a hole in the upper track and insert a screw that extends out into the runner to prevent the door from being lifted up and out of its track.
- Ensure that a burglar cannot access the roof from high trees or a ladder left outside.
What not to do
- Don't install a nameplate outside of your home with your full name. A burglar can use this information to find your number in the phone book and call to see if you are home.
- Don't leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend or family member that you aren't home.
- Don't leave spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under a door mat.
- Don't leave cash and handbags in plain sight in your home.
- Don't leave any doors unlocked when you are at the other end of your home or in your yard.
If you are going on vacation, it's especially important to make your home appear inhabited. Enlist the help of trusted neighbours, family and friends. Here are some things you can do to keep your home safer:
- Stop all mail delivery.
- Arrange for a neighbour to cut the grass or shovel snow.
- Cancel all deliveries during the time you will be away.
- Maintain normal lighting patterns by using electronic timers.
- Ask a neighbour to put one of their garbage bags in front of your house on collection day.
- Leave a radio on, with a timer if necessary, to simulate normal use.
- Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway.
- Arrange for neighbours to pick up flyers.
- Don't talk about your vacation plans with strangers or service people.
- Use your work address on your luggage tags so a potential burglar can't locate your home.
- Lock your garage door.
What to do if your home is burglarized
- Don’t stay - always think of your safety first.
- Never confront a burglar or block the exit route.
- Immediately go to a neighbour's home or nearby location and contact the police.
- Upon the discovery of a break-in, and after the incident has been reported to the police, you should contact your insurance broker to arrange a time to meet with an adjuster.