Since most break-ins are crimes of opportunity, following are some helpful tips on how to decrease the perception of opportunity and hopefully help you feel more secure in your home:
- Ensure your yard is well lit and keep Shrubberies around windows and other potential entry points trimmed. Crooks are less likely to attempt to break in if there is a high risk of being seen. Motion sensor lights are one way to accomplish this, as are surveillance cameras with an audible warning.
- When on vacation, have a neighbour or friend pick up your mail, leave a few lights in your home on timers, and if possible have someone come in occasionally to make your home look “alive”. If possible, have someone park a vehicle in your driveway for the time you are away. To reduce the risk of being caught, most Burglars stake out their targets. Make everything as unpredictable, this includes altering the on off times of timers to make it look like someone is walking through the home.
- Do not advertise the purchase of “high ticket” items by putting the boxes outside in open view. Break the boxes down and bring them to the nearest neighbourhood recycle depot or bin.
- Keep ladders and garbage bins hidden as they provide burglars with easy access to higher windows. While you are at it, you may want to make it difficult for anyone to use a fence to gain access to upper windows.
- Look around your home, from the outside, and closely examine the possible ways an intruder could infiltrate your home and consider ways to make forced entry as difficult as possible.
- Check to see whether your windows or sliding doors can be removed from the outside. Some older style aluminum frame windows can be lifted out of their frames while the window is still closed. Later models included a security feature that prevented the window from being lifted out unless it was open. Screws placed in the window frame, above the window are an inexpensive way of accomplishing this.
- Ensure that your windows and sliding doors cannot be forced open. Many factory standard latches fall short of effectively preventing forced entry. Installing a secondary lock and ensuring the window cannot be lifted out of the frame unless it is in the fully opened position would be a good start
- Install dead bolts in all your external doors. Keep in mind deadbolts come in several grades and bolt lengths. minimum 1" through and a security grade of Grade B or higher.
- Do NOT leave a spare key outside your home Many people like to leave a spare key outside their home, perhaps this is under a rock, planter or garbage can. Some even try to hide a key above their door. Even if you think you are being creative, chances are someone has tried this before and a criminal has found it. If you absolutely must have a spare key, consider leaving one with a trusted neighbour or a nearby friend.
- Consider small windows inside or beside entry doors as an easy way to break in and unlock dead bolts. Ensure dead bolts are out of reach from these windows.
- Strengthen doors and door frames around dead bolts.
- Install longer screws in door hinges. Most doors are secured to the frame with short screws. Replace these with 2 to 3" deck screws.
- If the hinges are on the outside of the door, ensure they cannot be removed easily.
- Protect rarely used basement and back doors from forced Entry by installing an anti-ramming bar across the inside of the door.
- Consider security window film or window bars on high-risk windows. This extra step will make breaking your window more difficult.
- Look through the interior of your home and consider possible entry points in relation to the location of your valuables. Keep in mind, crooks do not always come through the front door, or even the main floor. A roof hanging over a fence can provide a quick entry through an open second floor window.
- Keep Computers stereo's and all other “high ticket” items away from windows that can be easily accessed or viewed from outside the home. Smash and grab thefts are commonplace in both commercial and residential situations.
- Keep all jewellery and money hidden, wall and floor safes are ideal for this, mattresses and dresser drawers are not. I remember one instance where the thief lifted the marble top off a small antique dresser with a skeleton key lock, which latched into the easily removable top.
- You may also wish to physically secure computers, fax machines and printers to the floors or desks on which they are placed.
As you may have noticed with the above steps, each home, regardless of size, has its own unique set of characteristics which need addressing when protecting it from intruders. The same holds true when installing a security system, which is why we treat every client and their home as an individual. For a free no-obligation security evaluation of your home, please contact KeepSafe Systems at (604) 874-8772. We service the entire Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
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KeepSafe Systems installs and services residential and commercial security alarm systems and provides alarm monitoring services in the Metro Vancouver / Fraser Valley area of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Our service area includes but is not limited to Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission, Abbotsford, Hope, Harrison, Aldergrove, Langley, Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Richmond and everywhere inbetween. Give us a call and let us help you feel more secure. We are here for you