It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you are sound asleep, safetly tucked in bed. You’re awakened by the sound of glass breaking. You lay there, unable to move, with one of two thoughts racing through your mind: “That darn cat has knocked something over again” OR “my God, someone’s breaking in!” Your response will be determined largely by your past experiences. Most of us know someone who was a victim of breaking and entering or we’ve went through the trauma ourselves.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine had her house broken into, ransacked, and the thief made off with a pickup truck full of her belongings. She had recently been through a divorce and wasn’t very good at keeping the house and yard well maintained. She couldn’t understand why the burglars has picked the roughest and poorest looking house on the block. In a word, it was a matter of opportunity. She had gone out for the evening and left a kitchen window slightly cracked open. A flimsy piece of wire screen was all that stood between the thief and his loot. Remember that little fold down window in the basement laundry room that you leave open just a crack? Nobody could possibly squeeze through an opening that small could they? No, but the aluminum frame can be removed in a matter of seconds and the burglar can easily fit through.
What can be done to keep you and your family safe? You could go out and spend thousands of dollars on a sophisticated alarm system or bar the doors and windows with steel bars (fire hazard). Here are a few lower cost alternatives:
Lighting can be a great way to protect your home from burglary.
Use outdoor lighting strong enough to illuminate a person at least a hundred feet away.
Landscaping can sound the burglar alarm before the actual alarm goes off.
Keep trees and shrubs trimmed so they don’t block windows or offer hiding places for criminals.
Rose or other thorny bushes outside windows can act like a natural barbed wire, making it difficult for
burglars to enter. A bed of loose crushed rocks around doors and windows can aler the residents inside of a prowler.
Unlocked and poorly locked doors are like a welcome mistake for theifs.
Secure sliding doors with a rod and put a screw into the track to keep the door from being lifted out of place. Use deadbolt locks that have at least a 1 inch throw. Use at least a three inch screw to secure strikeplates and door hinges.
And if all of this still doesn’t make you feel safer, then you can always do what the fella in South Carolina did when his shed was repeatedly broken into: A sign on the door that reads, “This shed is guarded by a man with a double barrel shotgun three days a week. He sits right behind the door. You guess which days.”