If you are going to be away from your home for some time one of the best things that you can do is to make your property appear to be occupied. Don't leave any clue that you are away.
Just before you leave for a vacation mow your lawn, and if possible arrange for a trusted neighbor to keep your grass trimmed while you are away.
Contact the post office and have them hold your mail while you are away. Cancel newspaper deliveries and have a neighbor regularly check your mailbox for flyers.
Tell trusted neighbors how long you will be away and to call the police if they notice anything suspicious. If possible arrange for someone to act as a house sitter if you're away from your home for a long time. (Ask them to take care of TRASH CANS)
The fencing around your home should be designed to prevent a thief from easily climbing over. An experienced determined thief would probably get over most fencing or walls but a good boundary can deter a casual thief. Walls, hedges or fencing however, should not be so high as to shield the burglar from view and allow him to work unseen.
Keep trees, plants and shrubs near doors and windows trimmed so burglars can't make use of the shadows. You might consider removing trees close to your home.
Fit motion-sensitive lights round your home, the movement sensors will ensure that an intruder is bathed in light if they approach your building. Remember that darkness is the thief's friend. Leave some lights turned on when you are out. An occupied home will usually have more than one light on, so to give the impression that someone is at home. Timer switches are an easy method of triggering one or more lights.
As daylight hours grow shorter in winter months, reset the timer to come on that much earlier. Timer systems can be set up to light different rooms at slightly different times each day. It is also a good idea to leave a radio on when you are out or connect a radio to a timer.
A security survey of your home can be performed by calling the Community Policing Unit @ 215 885-1600 ext 482 to make an appointment.
Burglary Prevention Tips – Doors
- All external doors should be of solid core construction and be a minimum of one and three quarter inches in thickness (alternately metal clad doors can be used.) The door needs to be fitted with a strong, high quality keyed door lock and deadbolt. Remember also that a good solid door is of little security without a good solid frame.
- Many doors are fitted with glass panels that present a security risk. Consider replacing the glass with solid wood, properly affixed, or replace with laminated glass.
- Double doors (French doors) need extra security, as they are easily forced open. Flush lever bolts need to be fitted to the top and bottom of the doors. Locking the doors to each other is not enough. Ensure that the bolts are long, strong and mounted into a solid frame.
- If you have an attached garage the door leading from your garage into your home should be regarded as an external door. Once the burglar has gained entry into your garage he has all the cover he needs to work on the door into your home. Make that door as secure as your front door.
- The standard locks fitted to garage doors are usually of poor design. Make sure that each side of the door can be secured to hamper the thief prying open a gap. Don’t drive off leaving your garage doors open, always close and lock them.
- Sliding glass doors are an easy target for the burglar; the locks fitted as standard are often of poor design. Fitting special locks or clamps will increase security and prevent the sliding doors from being so vulnerable.
- Some older types of sliding glass doors can be lifted off of their tracks very easily. Install an anti-lifting mechanism such as a pin that extends through both the sliding and fixed parts of the door. Modern glass sliding doors should be supplied with multiple point locking systems fitted as standard.
Burglary Prevention Tips – Windows
- Sliding glass windows need the same security measures as sliding glass doors.
- Fit key operated locks to all windows; most windows are fitted with only latches as standard. Latches are a poor deterrent to the burglar. Remember that upstairs windows are also vulnerable and need locks.
- Even very small windows such as bathroom windows need locks; a burglar can get in through any opening larger than his head. Remove keys from locked windows whilst you are out and keep them in a safe place.
- Louver (slated) windows are particularly at risk because the slats can be easily removed. Fit a special louver lock or replace them with fixed glass.
Burglary Prevention Tips - Don't make it easy
- Don't hide a spare key under a mat, under a rock, in a flower-bed or any place else that you think that a burglar will never find it . . . because it will be found, burglars know all of the places to look.
- Don't ever leave a note on your door saying "Back in 5 Minutes" "Gone to the Shops" etc.
- Do not leave ladders unsecured in your garden or anywhere on your property, lock them away otherwise a burglar will make full use of them to enter your home. Same goes for garden tools or any other kind of tools. A garden spade for example could be used like a crowbar to force open a window or door. Lock your tools away in a shed with good quality strong locks.
Burglary Prevention Tips - Other Things You Can Do
- It may be unwise to open your door without knowing who is calling. Install a door viewer (peephole) with a wide-angle lens - this will enable you to see who is standing outside your door without opening it.
- When moving into a new home change all the locks. The family that you bought the home from may be honest but you don't know how many copies of keys have been made, or who has them.
- Make out a list of the serial numbers of your items such as TV sets, PCs, cameras etc. Store this list in a safe place. Photographing your more valued possessions is an excellent way to keep a record of what you own. Engrave, or write with an ultraviolet pen, your zip code or driver license number on your possessions. This will make it easier for police to return recovered stolen items.