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How To Lock Out Crime: Home Security 101

February 27, 2012

If you are like most Canadians, you are concerned about safety of your home and your community. One particular type of crime that worries Canadians is breaking and entering, or burglary. Recent statistics show that burglary accounts for 22% of all property crime.

Victims of home burglary typically find the experience more than just a physical loss. They find it traumatic, disturbing and intimidating. Many are unsettled for weeks afterward, and have the feeling of being personally violated. Predictably, residential burglary happens more frequently in households where crime prevention measures have not been taken. Without making turning your home into a fortress, it is relatively easy to take effective precautions.

Keep in mind that no security system is 100% effective. The methods outlined here will not always discourage a professional burglar from breaking into your home. But they will, in most instances, persuade an amateur – who is by far the most frequent offender – to look for an easier target. Remember: If you have locks and alarms – use them!

Knowing Your Adversary

Over 80% of home burglaries occur in daylight. These crimes are most often committed by young men between 16 and 25 years of age. Most burglaries occur on weekdays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., when residences are most likely to be unoccupied.

Amateur burglars are opportunists. They do not choose victims randomly. Rather, they look for opportunities – houses that can be approached without neighbours seeing or hearing anything; a door left ajar; or a window propped open for ventilation. Some burglars cruise a neighbourhood, working by day or night, looking for a house that seems unoccupied. If no one responds to the doorbell, they will examine the house more closely. They may test the doors and locks; note the location and type of windows; look for alarms; and so on.

The Ins and Outs of Burglary

Amateur burglary is not a  sophisticated crime. To gain access to a dwelling, amateurs do not rely on deception or skill, but on concealment, speed and force. In the majority of break-ins, burglars enter the house from a door or window located in the basement or on the ground floor. However, second-floor break-ins have increased significantly in the last few years. Once inside, they steal indiscriminately, taking anything that might be valuable and can be easily carried. Burglars work quickly, often demonstrating an uncanny ability to locate hidden valuables. The average cost of goods stolen during a residential burglary is well over $3,000.

Consumer electronics – TVs, digital cameras, computers, laptops and so on – head the list of most popular stolen items. Cash, jewelry and liquor are also “hot” items.

Is Your House a Target for Buglars?

What makes your home attractive to a burglar? If a burglar is considering your neighbourhood and street, you want to make sure your house is not at the top of the list. If the choice is between your house and one down the street, access will be the deciding factor.

There are a number of visual factors that a burglar uses when targeting potential houses:

  • Are possible points of entry and exit hidden? (Can I get in and out without being seen?)
  • Is anybody home? (Clues: an unshovelled driveway, newspapers and flyers piled up, overgrown grass)
  • No visible evidence of an alarm system. No uptodate alarm permit sticker. (Can I remain “anonymous”?)
  • Signs of disrepair or neglect. (Clues: doors, windows and locks are of poor quality or are in need of repair, basement and main floor windows are left open or unlocked.)
  • Valuables are visible from the street. (Are the goods worth the risk?)

Assessing your home’s security is an important initial step in crime prevention. Essentially, your home should look protected, well-maintained and appear to be occupied at all times.

The above information is taken from CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION.

If you don’t have a security system or don’t have it monitored, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation. You will be glad you did!

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, (780) 288-2986

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