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HOME SECURITY & THEFT PREVENTION

Did you know?  More residential burglaries occur during the day because more homes tend to be vacant during that time.

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Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You (as told by a burglar)

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  1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
  2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
  3. Love those flowers.  That tells me you have taste ... and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
  4. Read more... click here!

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Securing Your Home in General

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From the Inside:

  • Fool burglars by making your home look occupied.
  • Use automatic timers on lights when away from home.
  • Install a security alarm system with a loud alarm and/ or flashing lights. This will attract the attention of neighbors.  Remember to display the decals, and test the system periodically.
  • Do not invite strangers into your home.
  • Do not have money or jewelry lying out in view from a window. If possible, keep jewelry and other small valuables and important documents in a safe deposit box.
  • Basement windows can be a weak point allowing easy entry to  your home.  Consider getting a glass block window for your basement window(s).

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  • Mark your belongings with an engraving pen or an invisible ink pen so that they can be traced and returned to you if stolen.  Not only are these pens usually available at your local police station, the TBW has several available to borrow and mark your property.
  • Never mark your belongings with your social security number, use your driver's license number.  It is a good way to identify your belongings and it is near impossible for criminals to identify you or steal your identity.
  • Inventory valuables to include serial numbers. Consider keeping an extra copy of your inventory at a relative's house, in a secure area at work, or on a cloud drive. In the event that your inventory becomes destroyed, you will have an extra copy!
  • If you have children, discuss home security with them, such as not talking with strangers about their home, its contents or family schedules and use a peephole to identify visitors before opening your door.
  • Many child safety locks/products serve as an extra obstacle for burglars too.

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From the Outside:

  • If possible, park your cars in the garage with the garage door shut. A burglar may otherwise notice a pattern that a closed door means no one is home. Closing the garage door and having curtains or blinds on the garage window(s) also hides some of your belongings.
  • Never leave notes on your door that can tip off burglars.
  • Install motion detector lights around your house so they light all doors and windows.  Doors, since they are the preferred entry point, should be the first priority to illuminate, followed by windows. Install these lights at least 8 feet above the ground so they are more difficult to disable.  The lights coming on and turning off attract the attention of neighbors.  
  • Eliminate Hiding Places
  • Remove bushes and shrubs from around the house, especially under windows and next to doors. Keep your yard free of overgrowth.
  • If you DO have shrubs and bushes, select ones with thorns to deter potential intruders from hiding in them.

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  • Prune lower branches of trees near your house if they could help a burglar gain access to a second story window.

  • Do not hide spare keys outside your home, instead give one to a trusted neighbor or use a code lock for your door.
  • Do not provide your house keys to service people.
  • Do not tell strangers your daily routines.
  • If you are at home working outside, leave all other doors that are out of sight locked.
  • Avoid telling others about the valuables in your home.
  • If you install an alarm, display the decals on each door and window on the ground level to include the basement window. You may also wish to display these from second story windows as well but you want to make sure that they are going to be seen at the easiest access points.
  • Secure your exterior doors and any doors from attached garages by installing a good quality deadbolt, security-type door strikes, and strong properly installed doors and doorframes that cannot be spread apart.


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Securing Your Garage:

  • Keep your garage door shut when you are in a location where you cannot see it. This includes while you are mowing the lawn.
  • If you like to keep your door open during the warmer months, try getting a motion sensor alert. They are wireless so you can keep it with you and that way if someone approaches your garage it will send off a chime to alert you. Just keep in mind that it doesn't take long for someone to grab your property and run.
  • Secure your garage by installing automatic openers or bolt-type locks on each end of the garage doors.
  • If you have a tendency to leave your garage door open on accident, consider getting a garage door monitor that lets you know when the garage door is still open.

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Securing Your Home While On Vacation or Away

Although you may take the everyday home security precautions, going on vacation or being away for an extended period of time can still leave your home vulnerable. Here are some home security tips to help make your home look occupied while you are away.

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  • Use automatic timers for your lights when you're away from home and set the timer to random times.
  • Never leave notes on your door that can tip off burglars.
  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up the mail and newspaper.
  • Even if you don't need specific help, always tell a trusted neighbor if you are going to be gone for a few days.
  • If away for an extended period, have a plan in place to have the grass mowed or snow shoveled.
  • If you are away from home on garbage pickup day, ask a trusted neighbor to put your garbage cans out to the street and take them back in. You can even offer for your neighbors use your garbage cans while you are out. Burglars sometimes check for empty cans as a sign the family is away.
  • If you are going to be gone for an extended period, ask your local police and the block watch to check your home periodically.

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If You Suspect Your Home Has Been Burglarized

  • If you are not already in your home, DO NOT enter!
  • Immediately go to a neighbor's house or use your cell phone to call the police. If you suspect someone is still in the home, dial 911.
  • Inform the police if anything has been moved so they can take fingerprints.
  • Notify the police if you find anything that is not yours (possible tools used by the burglar).
  • Take an inventory of the items that may be stolen including their serial numbers. Give a copy to the police and a copy to your insurance company.
  • Make sure to tell the police if any of the items stolen were engraved or if you used an invisible pen to mark them (these pens are available through CPD and the block watch)

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Securing Your Mail

We are seeing it more and more; mail being stolen out of mailboxes. Checkbooks, credit cards, social security checks, etc. Short of standing at the curb every day when mail arrives, how exactly can we protect our mail?

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  • Take outgoing mail to a drop off box at the post office if you can.
  • Don't leave mail in your mailbox overnight.
  • If you know you aren't going to be home, give specific instructions for packages to be left with a neighbor that is home, have them delivered to you at work, or make arrangements to pick the package up at the distribution center.
  • If you know you are expecting important mail, check the mail right away. If you notice that something isn't right, contact the company that the mail was coming from to see when it was mailed and the expected delivery date.
  • If you are going on vacation, you can have a neighbor check your mail for you while you are gone, but if you have concerns about sensitive materials sitting in your mailbox too long, consider having your mail stopped. To do this you can contact the post office that distributes your mail. They will hold your mail for you until you return.
  • Consider a mailbox that locks, but make sure to read any reviews on the mailbox. Even though some mailboxes lock, their construction or the durability of the lock are not very good and would allow a theif to gain access rather quick and easily.

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Securing Your Vehicle

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  • Do not leave items in your car where people can see them, this includes cell phones, laptops, wallets, video games, briefcases, book bags, gym bags and/or any type of charger that would tip someone off to the possibility of an electronic item being in the vehicle.
  • Never leave your vehicle running unattended. Even if you lock it and have a spare key, it only takes a few seconds for an experienced car thief to get into your vehicle and drive it away.
  • Consider a car alarm. If your vehicle does not already come with one, after market alarms are easier to install then you would think and some can run as low as $30.00.

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  • Consider a motion sensor alert for your driveway. They are wireless and if someone approaches your home it will send off a chime in the house to alert you.
  • There are low cost security cameras available that can be set up to record when there is motion.
  • Park your car in the garage. By doing this you will drastically cut your chances of someone breaking into your vehicle. Keep in mind though that is still a good idea to get in the habit of not leaving valuables in your vehicle.
  • Make sure there is good lighting around the place where you park.
  • Remember to lock your doors!

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