July - Burglary is Everyone's Problem
Burglary is Everyone's Problem
Until the last few years, burglary was an issue that we read about happening in bigger cities. We were virtually exempt from this serious crime; however, all that has changed, unfortunately. Regardless of your place of abode, whether it is your home, a condo, an apartment, or a manufactured home we are all susceptible to a burglary. According to FBI statistics, homes are burglarized every 15 seconds.
The authorities say that burglary is probably the most preventable of all crimes. The police say that burglars look for what they call "targets of opportunity," which in their opinion are "easy pickings." There are some fairly simple precautions that you can take to protect yourself, your family and your belongings. If you live in a condo, apartment or a manufactured home complex, you can talk to the manager, building superintendent or person in charge and ask them for increased security around the complex.
All sources of authority say that we should have a good security plan regardless of where we live. The plan should include strong windows, doors and door and window lock products. We should also practice good security measures such as keeping doors locked when away. If your area has a neighborhood watch program you should, get involved.
SECURING YOUR HOME
There are some easy and simple practices to take in securing our home or places of abode. Following are some ideas that will help deter the opportunity of a burglar,
- Criminals avoid the spotlight. Areas around the property: such as, garages, outbuildings, porches, yards and especially the entrances to various buildings should be well lit. Obviously, burglars like to hide in dark places, so it makes sense to reduce as many of these areas as possible.
- In the areas of your dwelling, it is good to have lights with motion sensors, photocells or timers to come on at dusk and turn off in the morning.
- Landscaping shrubbery should be kept trimmed at the bottom of window levels to discourage anyone from hiding in the bushes.
- When leaving home, leave lights on and a radio playing when possible. A good idea is to hook up some table lamps on electric timers to come on at dusk and off in the morning.
- If you are leaving home overnight or longer, arrange for the newspaper and mail to be picked up or held until you return. Accumulated mail or papers appears as a "blank check" for the possibility of a break-in.
- Turn the sound down on the telephone, answering machine or other sound devices so that they can't be heard from outside of the house.
- Lawn, walks, and driveways should appear as normal as possible. If you clean these areas after mowing or cut the grass on a regular basis, arrangements should be made to keep these areas looking just as they do when you are home.
- If you keep your cars in a garage, keep the door closed when you are at home and away. The burglars won't know if you are home or away, this will be another determent to discourage them or at least make it more difficult for them to decide whether to break in or not.
RECOMMENDED LOCKING SYSTEMS
According to authorities, the average burglar won't spend more than five minutes trying to break in a residence, so if we have good strong windows and locks, doors and locks, this will help discourage the person as they are trying to break in.
- Spring bolt locks appear effective, but they aren't. They can easily be opened with a credit card or other simple devices, by simply pushing the bolt back.
- Deadbolt locks should be installed on all exterior doors and the doors on attached garages. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has a grading system that measures the security and durability of locks. The grading is based on a #1, #2 and #3, with #1 being the best grade. So they recommend using the #1 grade on all applications.
- Pin-type locks or key locks work best in securing patio doors. We also use steel rods placed in the channel of the door track and screws can be placed in the top of the track to reduce the chance of lifting the door out of the top track.
- Strike plates installed with sufficient screws to make it more durable will also deter a burglar because this makes the door harder to kick open.
- If you are moving into a new or newer existing home, change all door locks regardless of the opinion of the former owner.
Assume nothing or take nothing for granted, change all the locks and clear your mind.
Automatic security systems can be effective, if nothing else, they will deter the burglar from entering or staying long while he is in. Another security system to be considered is a lockbox for jewels and other valuables, which should be hidden inside the home for added security.
FIGHT YOUR LOSSES WITH PREVENTIVE MEASURES!!
Excerpts: www.statefarm, safety link
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.