Christmas holidays are a special time when families and friends
come together to celebrate the season. It is also the time
of year where families and friends are most generous and practice
the tradition of gift giving. It should be a joyous and happy
time for all of us. Unfortunately for us, home burglars view
the holiday season a little differently. For them, it is a
time of opportunity to burglarize your home for cash, credit
cards, and all the new gifts of small electronics, computers,
jewelry, and easily sold valuables. Here are a few tips of
what they look for when shopping for a house to burglarize.
These tips will help you enjoy the holidays without incident.
* Burglars look for an easy entry with good escape routes.
Don't openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the
front window so it's easily visible from the street. It's
too tempting for them to smash the window and grab the wrapped
* Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning
24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, or advertising flyers
hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when
you are away and ask a neighbor to keep the front of your
home clean of papers and debris.
* Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the
front entrance. Don't hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots,
or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to a trusted
* Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows.
Sliding windows that are not secure can be seen from distance.
One holiday problem can occur when exterior Christmas light
extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent
it from being secured. Hire an electrician or handyman to
install an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights.
* Don't post your family name on your mailbox or on you house.
A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone
number and call your home while in front of your house to
confirm that you are away.
* Don't leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages
like, "You've reached the Wilson's...we're away skiing for
the Christmas holidays...please leave a message." Burglars
love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and
completely ransack your home.
* After Christmas day, don't pile up empty gift boxes from
your new computer, DVD player, or stereo receiver on the street
for the garbage man. Burglars appreciate knowing that you
have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break them
down or cut them up to conceal the items better. After a lucrative
burglary, the chances of being burglarized again are increased
to steal the new replacement products.
* Last, but not least, fortify your home by installing solid
core doors, heavy duty locks, longer screws in the lock strike
plates and door hinges, and install secondary security devices
on all accessible sliding windows. See my webpage on home
security products and options.
Home Security Prevention Advice
Doors and Locks
The first step is to "harden the target" or make your home
more difficult to enter. Remember, the burglar will simply
bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires
more skill and tools than they possess. Most burglars enter
via the front, back, or garage doors. Experienced burglars
know that the garage door is usually the weakest point of
entry followed by the back door. The garage and back doors
also provide the most cover. Burglars know to look inside
your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even
when parked inside your garage. Use high quality Grade-1 or
Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying,
and lock-picking attempts. A quality deadbolt lock will have
a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers
used to shear off lock cylinder pins. A quality door knob-in-lock
set will have a 'dead latch' mechanism to prevent slipping
the lock with a shim or credit card.
* Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points
* Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch
* Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch
* Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with 3-inch screws
to penetrate into a wooden door frame
* Use a wide-angle 160° peephole mounted no higher than 58
The most common way used to force entry through a door with
a wooden jam is to simply kick it open. The weakest point
is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the latch
or lock bolt in place followed by a glass paneled door. The
average door strike plate is secured only by the soft-wood
doorjamb molding. These lightweight moldings are often tacked
on to the door frame and can be torn away with a firm kick.
Because of this construction flaw, it makes sense to upgrade
to a four-screw, heavy-duty, high security strike plate.
They are available in most quality hardware stores and home
improvement centers and are definitely worth the extra expense.
Install this heavy-duty strike plate using 3-inch wood screws
to cut deep into the door frame stud. Use these longer screws
in the knob lock strike plate as well and use at least one
long screw in each door hinge. This one step alone will deter
or prevent most through-the-door forced entries. You and your
family will sleep safer in the future.
Alarm systems definitely have a place in a home security
plan and are effective, if used properly. The reason why alarms
systems deter burglaries is because they increase the potential
and fear of being caught and arrested by the police. The deterrent
value comes from the alarm company lawn sign and from the
alarm decals on the windows.
Home and apartment burglars will usually bypass a property
with visible alarm signs and will go to another property without
such a sign. Some people, with alarm systems, feel that these
signs and decals are unsightly and will not display them.
The risk here is that an uninformed burglar might break a
window or door and grab a few quick items before the police
can respond. Also, don't write your alarm pass code on or
near the alarm keypad.
Alarm systems need to be properly installed and maintained.
Alarms systems can monitor for fire as well as burglary for
the same price. All systems should have an audible horn or
bell to be effective in case someone does break in. However,
these audible alarms should be programmed to reset automatically
after one or two minutes. The criminal got the message and
will be long gone but your neighbors will have to listen to
the alarm bell, sometimes for hours, until it is shut off.
If you use a central station to monitor your alarm, make sure
your response call list is up to date. Home alarms, like car
alarms, are generally ignored except for a brief glance.
However, if you have established and nurtured your neighborhood
watch buddy system, you will experience a genuine concern
by your neighbor. It is not unusual to have a neighbor wait
for the police, allow them inside for an inspection, and secure
A good neighbor can also call the glass company or locksmith
to repair any damage, if pre-authorized by you. The greatest
barrier getting to this level of neighborhood participation
is taking the first step. You can get help by calling your
local crime prevention unit at the police department. Most
police departments in large cities have neighborhood watch
coordinators to help you set this up. You should invite your
adjacent neighbors over to your home for coffee and begin
the information exchange. You'll be amazed how the process
runs on automatic from there.
* Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage
* Alarm systems to be properly installed, programmed, and
* Alarm systems need to have an audible horn or bell to
* Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date
* Instruct your neighbor how to respond to an alarm bell
Home Safes Since the prices of good home safes are falling,
having a safe in your home is a wise investment. Home safes
are designed to keep the smash and grab burglar, nosey kids,
dishonest babysitter or housekeeper from gaining access to
important documents and personal property. Home safes need
to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving.
* Use the safe everyday so it becomes routine
* Protect the safe code and change it occasionally *
Install it away from the master bedroom or closet http://www.boston-locksmith.com/
About the Author
Samantha West is an online marketer who specializes in helping
people find ways to protect their homes.