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Home Burglaries

More than three million burglaries committed in the United States in 1996 accounts for 24 percent of the reported serious crime. About 66 percent of all burglaries, or approximately two million, are committed in houses and apartments. About 69 percent of all burglaries required forcing a door or window to gain entry. Most houses and apartments are protected by simple and ineffective door and window locks. Modern hardware is available for door and window locks which will stop the amateur and slow up the experienced burglar.

There are generally three types of burglars: the professional, the semi-professional and the amateur. Although the average homeowner will probably not have to face professional thieves who focus on extremely valuable items, you need to be aware of the semi-professional and amateur burglars.

Most thieves are opportunists who look for easy targets. If the risk of detection is too high, the average burglar will not attempt to enter your home.

How to Protect Your Home

Overgrown or extremely large trees or shrubs can hide burglary activity, especially around entry points of your home. For security sake, have them trimmed or moved.

Fences can be an effective part of your security, but they may be a liability in hiding a burglar's privacy. Tall chain-linked fences provide security without sacrificing visibility.

Dogs can also be a valuable asset to homeowners. Any dog that barks at strangers brings unwanted attention to a thief. Larger dogs can even discourage an intruder from entering your yard or home.

Street lights are another important crime deterrent for your neighborhood.  Your residence should also include proper lighting.  Porch lights and motion-sensor lights are recommended.

The average burglar has only two options for entering your residence: doors and windows. For external door frames, opt for solid wood or steel. Hinges should be positioned on the inside of the door so that a thief with a screwdriver will be unable to remove the entire door. Deadbolt locks provide an additional layer of security, and may be a good investment. Sliding glass doors are a common entry point. For maximum security, you can use vertical bolts or place a solid wood rod on the inside track to hold the door closed.

Garage doors are another frequent entry point. The door that connects your garage to your home should have solid wood or solid core construction.  This is another door that can be secured with a deadbolt lock. Don't rely on the electric garage door opener as your security measure.  Take a few seconds to watch the door close completely.

When you move into a new house, apartment or condominium, it is good practice to change all of the locks immediately, you don't know who could have access to your home.

Alarms on doors and windows are one of the best ways to detect a burglar.  Watchful neighbors who suspect unusual activity and are willing to notify law enforcement, are also an effective means of detection.

If you are planning a vacation, take precautions to protect your home. The key is to create an illusion of everyday activity. Ask the police to check your home and patrol your neighborhood. Stop the mail and newspaper deliveries, or have someone collect them while you are away. Secure all doors, windows, pet entrances and garage doors. Transfer all valuables to a safety deposit box or safe. Place a timer on indoor and outdoor lights to illuminate your home at night and make sure that no bulbs are burnt out. Have a trusted friend or neighbor check your home each day.