Home insurance

Break-in teaches 8 steps to keep burglars away

Thursday, February 23, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

burglar entering through windowMy colleague Craig was burglarized recently, despite having a working alarm system in his house. Now he's sharing lessons learned that could help prevent a break-in at your home.

You might think an alarm would deter a burglar. Not so. In Craig's case, his motion detector triggered a loud siren, but not until the burglar set foot inside the house. The crook knew he had a few minutes to scoop up what he could before responders arrived.

window lockCraig's alarm system doesn't have window sensors. The burglar picked a window lock (right), raised the frame and stepped inside. Window sensors would have triggered the alarm sooner, possibly spooking the intruder.

Even with window sensors, a bold thief (perhaps desperate to feed a drug habit) might rush ahead anyway. But you can further deter forced entry by using dowels to wedge windows (bottom photo) and sliding doors shut. That would force a thief to break glass, loudly drawing attention and risking injury.

The more obstacles you create, the more likely the bad guys will skip your home and look for an easier target.

Craig learned from his experience to employ other deterrents:

  1. windowPost yard signs warning of monitored alarms (even if you don't have one).

  2. Do the same with decals, posted on or near all outside doors and windows.

  3. Post "Beware of dog" signs (even if you have no dog).

  4. Bolster outdoor lighting, and include motion-detector floodlights.

  5. Trim all bushes, especially those bordering your outer walls, to expose hiding places.

  6. Use automatic timers to turn indoor lights and radios on and off when you're away.

  7. Install heavy-duty locks on your windows (much like you'd replace your door's standard deadbolt with a stronger one having 3-inch screws).

  8. Install a video surveillance camera, or even a fake camera mounted out of reach.

Craig also learned that if you can't afford monitored security, Amazon.com sells ADT alarm yard signs with five window stickers for $22. Perhaps you can bluff a burglar away.

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