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A Consumer Reports National Research Center survey finds that all too often people make it easy for burglars to target their house or car.
“About half of all break-ins aren’t break-ins but walk-ins,” Bob Portenier, consultant, lecturer, and former burglar told Consumer Reports.
Of those responding to the survey, 19% said they do not always lock their doors, 26% stated that their windows are not always locked, and 43% admitted to not always turning on their residential alarm systems when they are away.
“Families get in a hurry in the morning—kids going to school, running late for work, doctors’ appointments, what have you—and forget to take that one or two minutes to check the doors and locks, usually on the back side. You have a pet, you let it out to do its business—and then forget the security French door or sliding glass door,” said Portenier.
Officials from the Riverside Police Department in Southern California agree, noting it’s no time to be complacent about home and auto security.
“Deadbolt locks are helpful, as long as they are locked,” said Riverside Police Service Representative Nancy Castillo, who meets with neighborhood watch groups, seniors, and business organizations.
In addition to owning a house security system, there are many things you can do to make your home as safe as possible. Many of the best ways to improve your home security are surprisingly cheap and easy to do, Castillo told Home Security Store.
“A security sign posted out on your lawn is a deterrent; but so is a large dog dish or a man’s boots sitting on a front porch. No one knows what kind of dog or how large a man goes along with those items,” said Castillo.
Castillo adds the trick is not making your house an easy target. “There is the ‘broken window theory,’ which is the theory that one broken window leads to another, which makes the bad guy more comfortable because it appears no one cares.”
Castillo is adamant about neighborhood collaboration as well. “If the bad guy wants in bad enough he will find a way to gain access through the sliding glass door or another way. This is where Neighborhood Watch comes in. If neighbors see people or vehicles that do not normally belong in the neighborhood they will pick up the phone and report the suspicious activity, such as people trying house or car doors, people just hanging out in the neighborhood.”
Castillo adds to be aware of your home’s surroundings, particularly the driveway and garage. “Install lights – bad guys do not like lights, they do not want to be seen. Trim shrubbery and keep it short, so that the bad guy has nowhere to hide.”
Castillo says that neighbors watching out for each other and paying attention to their neighborhood is one of the most effective ways to increase safety. “Neighbors just have to be willing to organize and get involved!”
“People call my office on a regular basis asking about criminal activity in a neighborhood. I may look at the statistics and tell them that it is a very quiet neighborhood and then the bad guy moves in and changes those statistics; and it is no longer that quiet neighborhood. It can be the other way too, there might be a great deal of criminal activity in a neighborhood and someone moves into the neighborhood that gets involved and organizes the neighborhood to fight against the criminal activity, then it becomes the quiet neighborhood. Neighbors need to be involved.”
Remember, protecting your home with a monitored hardwired or wireless security system is just the first of many valuable home security precautions. Using any of the home security tips outlined can help deter burglars and stop home invasions.
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