How To Prevent Break-Ins & Home Invasions

How can you stop home invaders and thieves from breaking into your castle? Outside of getting a moat, here are a few practical suggestions.

Keep Your Doors Closed

Burglars are the ultimate opportunists and will take advantage of an open door or window to slink into a bedroom, kitchen or living room and take what they can grab.

Keep your doors locked and if you want to have your windows open now that the good weather is here, you can install locks that prevent them from being lifted more than a few inches. You’ll get the fresh air and no one else can get in.

Lights & Noise

Leaving lights on at night when you’re gone makes your home look lived in. Add a radio or two blaring away and it might be enough to fool a passing prowler that there’s life inside. 

It Doesn’t Pay To Advertise

If you’re not in and you want to leave a message for someone, here’s a plea from police: don’t. Answering machines that tell strangers you’re going to be away for a week are an open invitation for someone to come over and rifle through your things unfettered.

Don’t leave notes for deliverymen, either. They’re a walking billboard that though the lights may be on, nobody’s home.

Stow The Usual Suspects

Police say the most common targets of thieves are the old standbys – cash, wallets, purses, credit cards, identification, jewellery, car keys, laptop computers and electronic equipment. Pay special attention to keep them secure.

Stow Your Car

Thieves will take anything that’s not nailed down – even if it’s sitting in your driveway. We recently detailed a disturbing new trend – crooks taking the catalytic converter out of cars to sell the precious metals contained inside.

They’ll also go after your cell phones, stereos, even your CDs. Your best bet – keep any attractions in your trunk or glove compartment, and best of all, put your car in a locked garage.

Keep An Eye Out

There’s nothing like people who know an area. Your next door neighbours generally are aware of who belongs and who doesn’t. If you’re going away for a few days, ask them to keep an eye out for anything or anyone who doesn’t look right. And set timers for your lights.

If Your House Has Been Broken Into

Rule number one is don’t go in. The person or people responsible could still be inside, and they may be armed. Your presence could make them desperate.

Rule number two is call the police from your cell phone or a neighbour’s house. The sooner they get there, the better the chances of solving the crime.

Rule number three is don’t touch anything. You never know what may wind up being crucial evidence.

And rule number four is preparation – use a camera or video to keep pictures of all your valuables. It’s the best clue you’ll have if they disappear. Also keep serial numbers of any equipment. It’s the easiest way to track it if it’s pilfered.

How To Stop Home Invaders

Once they’re in, it’s too late. So keeping them out is key. Here are some hints about how to safeguard your home from the bad guys.

Don’t Open The Door To Strangers

It’s a piece of advice we constantly remind our children to follow, but adults should consider it too. Door peepholes are common in apartment complexes, but it may be a good idea to install one in the front entrance of your house.

Ask To See Company I.D. Or A Badge

People with bad intentions have been known to knock on doors disguised as repairmen, delivery workers, or any one else in uniform. Before you open your door, ask to see his or her credentials, especially if you haven’t made an appointment for someone to visit your home. And ask for the phone numbers for their superiors if you’re still feeling uneasy.

Offer To Call The Police For Strangers In Distress

If someone who appears to be hurt knocks on your door, don’t open the door, but offer to call the police or emergency services for them.

Have More Than One Phone Line

It’s a good idea to have a second telephone line or a cell phone in your home. Burglars may lift a receiver in the house. And remember cordless phones don’t work if the power is out. Keep at least one landline inside.

Install An Alarm

You may sleep better knowing authorities will be notified as soon as someone tries to enter your home.

Check Your Locks

Call a professional locksmith and have them inspect your home and suggest the best way for you to secure your house.

Take A Walk Around Your House

Stroll around your home and try to spot any weaknesses or areas that a burglar could penetrate.

Keep Your Drapes Closed

One of the easiest methods of discouraging thieves and the one that may be the least commonly followed. Except for the times you need a little light, letting people on the street see that new big screen TV or other expensive item in your living room is the surest way to become a target. Be careful of when you’re disposing of the box it came in, too.

Change Your Routine

If someone is staking out your home, they’ll want to know your daily pattern. Change it up once in a while.

Safety Deposit Box

Store your valuables in a safety deposit box. Thieves can’t steal what’s not there.

Give Up Your PIN

In some cases, victims have been brutalized or threatened for their bank card number. Giving false information won’t help, since one gang member can try it out, while you’re still stuck as a hostage. They may get away with a few hundred bucks but remember all ATM’s have a withdrawal limit, and unless you only have a little bit in your account to begin with, they can’t wipe you out in one day.

Source: Toronto Police

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