Recently there has been a lot of residential burglary’s taking place in and around our neighbourhood. In our end of the street there have been at least 2 break ins and another 2 attempted break ins. I’m not going to lie, it is a bit scary, especially considering all incidents have taken place between the hours of 10:30 pm and 4 am – when most people are sleeping.
The first burglary that we became aware of was about 10 houses down the road. We don’t know the people, but the story made it to the local news as the burglars entered the house and stole 3 cars right out of the garage and driveway. They started the cars by getting a hold of the keys which were on a key rack inside the house. The residents first became aware of the theft when the police knocked on the door of their house at 4:30 in the morning. The police told them that they found one of their cars about 5 kilometres away and that it was burnt out and abandoned. The second car turned up later that day also abandoned, but this time it was by the side of the highway. The third car was still unaccounted for last I heard.
The second attempt on a house in our street happened the night after my get to know your neighbours barbecue. It was at our next door neighbours house and he had just gone to bed at around 10:30 pm. No less than 10 minutes after he went to bed as he was trying to get to sleep, his dogs heard someone at the door and bolted towards it barking. My neighbour jumped out of bed and saw someone running away from the house down the front yard.
The third was yet another attempted entry 4 days after the second. The guy 3 doors down (also attended the BBQ) was awoken by a bright torch light entering his bedroom at 3:30 am. He quickly got up knowing full well what was going on in our street recently, and headed off to catch whoever it was out in the backyard. At this point I should point out that he is in the army and so he knows how to take care of himself. As he got to the back of his house he saw someone trying to lever the back sliding door, but as he approached, the attempted burglar ran off. The police arrived not long after but the culprit was gone.
The most recent burglary was at the house 2 doors down (between the previous 2 houses) and this time it was about a week after the last attempt. The burglar used a crowbar to lever up the garage door just enough to fit a car jack under it. After that he wound the jack up enough to snap the garage door lever, and then entered the garage. Fortunately the family in this house (yep, also at the BBQ and also in the army) had a rather large dog that was awoken by the snap of the garage door and alerted the family. The husband did a Usain Bolt towards into the garage where the intruder took one look at him and dived back from where he came under the garage door and away to safety.
I have drawn a quick image (I know, I’m not going to become an artist any time soon) to help show what I have described.
All of these entries happened within the last few weeks, and considering the proximity of the targets I am without doubt that our house has also been cased. Fortunately I am very security conscious, so I am hoping that I have made it difficult enough for whoever is targeting the area to leave our house alone and move onto easier targets.
Residential Burglary Prevention
As a child I can remember being broken into a couple of times at my parents house, and so ever since then I have been a little more security conscious than the average person. Fortunately there are heaps of things you can do to help prevent a would be burglar from hitting your house. Remember, the aim of the game is to make your house as unappealing as possible to someone looking to cause mischief.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 1 – Dogs
Ricky chilling out by the doorway
I don’t know how many times Ricky (our dog) has alerted us to someone being at the door. His hearing is far superior to mine and he will know if someone is trying to break in well before I would have a clue. I know this photo doesn’t show it, but he can look and sound quite menacing if someone he doesn’t know ever comes to the door. Having a dog is my number 1 tip for preventing break ins, and this is because they are so damn effective. They alert you to danger and in some cases will forgo their own lives to protect you and your loved ones. Two of the burglaries I mentioned earlier were foiled by dogs.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 2 – Security Alarms
My number 2 tip is to invest in security alarm systems. You don’t have to pay the big bucks for a professionally installed one if you don’t want. There are plenty of DIY home security alarms that will work just as well. Normally if an alarm is triggered any burglars inside of your home will start running the minute the siren sounds.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 3 – Lock Doors and Gates
This one is really easy – lock your doors. If you are home then you don’t need to lock it with a key (unless you are paranoid like me), but it is amazing how many people leave doors unlocked. It’s practically like inviting a burglar into your home for an all you can eat buffet.
I also like to lock our back gate with a padlock. We use the back gate infrequently, so it isn’t that much of an effort to keep it locked. The initial reason I put the lock on was to stop people from trying to steal our dog when he was a puppy. You see staffordshire bull terriers are one of the most stolen dogs as people use them in illegal dog fighting due to their strength and determination.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 4 – Deadbolts
Deadbolts are a great way to make breaking into your home more difficult. They are almost impossible to pick and the thief will have to spend quite a lot of time working on your door to get past it. I also like making sure that other doors that are unable to have deadbolts fitted have something like the following:
If the bolt is up and locked into place with a key, then the only way someone from the outside is going to be able to get in through this door is to break the glass. For most burglars this would be enough for them to move onto an easier entry point, as breaking glass can make a lot of noise – particularly in the dead of night.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 5 – Security Screens
When we built our house my wife ensured that we get security screens installed, and I am really happy that she did. Security screens make it almost impossible to enter via a window with out either breaking the glass, or using a crowbar or power tool to get inside. Security screens don’t cost a lot (for us it was about $1000 to get all windows and doors fitted) and it gives you that little bit more piece of mind.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 6 – Hiding Valuables
This means not leaving your spare key outside under a rock! Closing curtains or blinds around your windows and doors whenever you are not home and packing valuables away out of sight when you are finished using them. If a thief looks into your home and doesn’t see anything of value then there is less reason for him to try and get in.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 7 – Notices
Having notices or stickers around the house on your windows stating that you have an alarm system installed can be a great deterrent. Lets face it, if someone knows you have an alarm system installed then they might be more likely to move on, even if you are bluffing and don’t actually have an alarm system.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 8 – Collect Mail
Having a heap of newspapers on your lawn or mail overflowing out of your letterbox is a great way for burglars to know you aren’t home. This gives them more confidence as they know there is less chance of them getting caught if there is no one around to catch them. If you are going away for a while organise with friend, relatives or neighbours to look after your mail for you so that at least it will look like you are home. The same thing goes for bins and overgrown lawns.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 9 – Outdoor Lights
Having motion sensor lights that turn on whenever movement is detected can cause a burglar to think twice about entering your home at night time. This can also be good at alerting you to some potential movements in the dark outside which you may want to then investigate.
How To Secure Your Home | Prevention Tip 10 – Know Your Neighbours
Finally, I know I said this a few weeks ago, but get to know your neighbours. They can be invaluable in helping to keep your house safe and to alert you should something be amiss. Over the last month I have been looking out for a neighbour who went away for the entire month of March and returned home today. It is something small, but at least if I noticed something I could contact both the family and the police.
Do you have any good security tips that I have missed? Have you been burgled?