It usually doesn’t take too much reconnaissance for a thief to decide who his next victim will be. Unwitting homeowners all too often leave “Welcome Burglar” signs all around their property. Fortunately, you can avoid becoming a victim by just using a little common sense, and following several inexpensive yet effective crime prevention measures. By following these suggestions, you’ll decrease the likelihood of ever becoming a burglary victim.

Survey Your Property

Put yourself in the place of the would-be thief. Does your home look like an inviting target? Are there any obvious security weaknesses?

Your shrubs should not obscure the view of your windows or doors. Trim your shrubbery back so that a thief would be unable to work undetected. Leave a few strategically chosen lights on outside your home at night. Lights left on over doorways and garages, and a few well-placed floodlights will discourage your home from becoming a target. Securely lock windows and doors. Identify and replace any inadequate locks. Give your home the appearance of being occupied at all times.

In most cases, all that is necessary to identify the security weaknesses around your property is a little common sense. For more complicated situations, the Community Services Division of the Houston Police Department is available to provide you with a free home security survey. They can be reached at 713-308-3200. A Crime Prevention Officer will provide security recommendations to you after completing a thorough survey of your property.

Secure Your Home With Better Locks

One of the most common locks used for home security is the spring-latch door lock. This type of lock can be easily pried open by even an inept burglar. Experts recommend using deadbolt locks to provide maximum security for external doors. To provide adequate security, the lock’s bolt should extend a minimum of one inch into the door frame. Another option is a pry-resistant rim lock. Your Crime Prevention Officer can advise you on which lock is best for your home.

Secure Your Home’s Windows and Doors

There are two types of exterior doors, solid and hollow core. Solid core doors offer the highest level of security. They’re solid enough to withstand most attacks by burglars, and are well suited for the installation of high-quality locks.

Every time you move into a new home or lose the keys to your home, you should contact a locksmith immediately to have your locks re-keyed or replaced. When you need to hire an emergency locksmith Houston has some of the best. They’ll be able to change-out your locks quickly and inexpensively, rendering any old or lost keys useless.

Consider installing a double-cylinder deadbolt, which requires the use of a key on either side to unlock it. This will prevent a burglar from being able to break a window and reach inside to unlock the door. If you have doors that swing open to the outside, you can secure them by using the “hinge pinning” technique. Remove opposing screws from each side of the hinge plate, insert a pin into the hole leaving it protruding by one inch. Drill out an opposing hole to accommodate the pin when the door is closed.

Most importantly of all is to use your locks. Even the most secure locks offer no protection when they are left unused. Even if you’ll only be away from the house for a few minutes, you should secure your home. Following these tips will ensure that your home is a less inviting target to a would-be thief.

Burglars are attracted to garage doors that are open. Create a habit of maintaining garage doors closed and locked. A garage door that is open, when there is no car in sight, is basically a clear invitation for a burglar. Especially if you use your garage to store items such as garden tools, power mowers, bicycles, and other property that is easy to steal.

Another area that is especially vulnerable to being attacked by a burglar is sliding glass doors. The pinning technique mentioned below will prevent the door from being lifted from the track or the lock from being forced. The preferred method of securing your glass sliding doors should be key operated grips or pins.

• Drill a hole, with the door closed at a downward angle through the top as well as the bottom corner of the inner frame. It should also partially into the outer frame. When done, insert nail or pin.

Another common point of entry for burglars is windows. You can easily and inexpensively secure double hung windows with the use of the above mentioned “pinning” technique. When the windows are closed, drill a hole at a downward angle through the top as well as the bottom corner of the inner frame. It should also partially into the outer frame. When done, insert nail or pin.

Key operated window locks provide good security for windows, especially if used as an auxiliary to conventional window locks. Keep in mind that a window or door that is open or unlocked is an invitation to burglars.

Make Sure Your Home Looks Occupied

Usually burglars are on the lookout for homes that are unoccupied. If it appears that your home is occupied, burglars will usually continue looking for a more inviting spot. If you are away from home, leave your radio playing and always leave a few lights on inside so they can be seen at night. When you are away you can use automatic timers to vary the on/off pattern of your inside lights.

If you will be gone for an extended period of time, for example when on vacations, here are a few additional precautions you should take:

• Stop newspaper deliveries
• As your neighbors to keep an eye on your house
• Ask a trusted neighbor collect your mail
• If you have a lawn, arrange for lawn care

You should also notify your local law enforcement agency that you will be away for some time. Most agencies will actually schedule periodic checks of homes once they have been altered that the owner’s absence and the need for extra vigilance.

Always Use Common Sense

Common sense can help you keep burglars at bay. It is important to be aware of common methods used by burglars to gain entry, make sure that the entire family is aware of what should be done in certain situations. Family members should be warned about being careful as to who they provide information to over the phone. Often time’s burglars will call ahead of time to see if anyone’s home, who is currently at home, or when other residents are expected to arrive home.

Never randomly open you home to a stranger. By installing a wide-angle door peephole or viewer, you can see who is outside without having to open the front door. Ask repairmen or solicitors claiming to have business to take care of in your home for positive identification. If you are suspicious about who’s calling at your door, call their office up for verification. If you do allow a repairman or salesman in, never leave them alone, not even for a second. If a stranger requests to use your phone, never allow them in, make the call for them.

Never leave a note on the exterior of your home announcing that you are gone. You should also never leave keys hidden around the exterior of your home. When you leave your car at a parking lot, do not leave the house keys with the car keys. Do not attach your license number or your name to your house keys, keep in mind that any house keys that are stolen or lost and contain this kind of information can easily be traced right to your front door. Do not leave large amounts of case or valuables such as jewelry, which are easy to be stolen unprotected in your home. Valuables that are not used often should be kept in a safe deposit box.

Have Your Property Marked for Identification

All your valuables should be engraved with your driver´s license number. It is easy to trace marked property which can then be identified as yours. It has been proven that marked property is a burglary deterrent as it is difficult for them to dispose of it for resale. If a burglar is caught with property that is marked, it is concrete evidence that they were in possession of stolen property.

Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group

To protect themselves from burglars, many communities decide to form Neighborhood Watch groups. Neighbors agree, through a Neighborhood Watch organization, to help keep an eye on each other property as well as to report any activities that are suspicious to the police.

At Pop-a-lock Houston we look forward to answering any further questions you may have regarding how to prevent burglary of your residence and in the event of a burglary, what your next steps should be! Call us now at 713-722-0060!