Posted by: prepare4 | March 25, 2009

Guard Against Theives

The Savior said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmle ss as doves.” ( Matthew 10:16 ).

Identify your security weaknesses. Begin by walking around your home and making note of areas where access to a window or door may go unnoticed by neighbors. Look in the windows. Are there valuables that are easily seen and tempting to a thief? Look for easy access points such as sliding doors. Do you have ladders stored outside, making it easy for a second-story man? Look at your home through a burglar’s eyes, as if you wanted to break in. Find the weaknesses, and fix them as well as you can.

Purchase timers. Place timers in several locations in your home and do it now. Have them turn on lights as well as a radio or TV. Purchase timers that can be set to go on and off more than once during a 24-hour period.

For example, set some to turn on at dusk and off when people normally go to bed. Set another to go on at 9pm and off at 10pm and then come on at 6:05am. Set a radio in the same room to come on at 9pm, go off at 10pm, and come back on at 6am. Have another light go on at 6:30 somewhere else in your home, giving the illusion that someone has gotten up and is moving around the house. Finally, if you have a second floor, make sure to have a light up there also. Now leave them alone. If you go out and get home after dark there will be lights on to welcome you and anyone watching your home will never really be sure if you are home or not, because the pattern appears a bit random, and continues every day.

Clean out the garage. I am so sorry about this one. We have this challenge too. You may need to purchase some storage bins and build a shelf or two. The goal is to be able to park your cars in the garage. When you are away it won’t seem obvious that you are gone if your driveway is empty, as usual.

You hate to believe it, but a lot of local crime can come from people in your own neighborhood, or their kids, or their friends. Every time our property has been vandalized, it has been by someone living in our neighborhood. If getting the car in the garage is impossible, arrange with a neighbor to park their car in your driveway on occasion when you are away.

Plant rose bushes. If you have windows not easily seen from the road, plant rose bushes or other thorny plants in front of those windows. Most home invaders will steer clear of such hazards, and are unlikely to come with pruning shears. There is always an easier target and it is our goal to make them move on.

If your yard is fenced, planting thorny bushes and shrubs in front of the fence will make it more difficult to climb over, and is a lot more pleasing to the eye than a barbed wire deterrent. Burglars love to operate from backyards where they can’t be seen from the road or by the neighbors, so make access to your yard and back windows difficult.

Trim trees and bushes that block a clear view of your doors and windows from the road. Although it may be tempting to live in a little cottage secluded from the world, that kind of setting is just the sort that burglars look for.

Make copies of all your important papers and send them to your emergency out-of-state contact. Thieves sometimes cover their tracks by setting fire to what they can’t carry. Home fires can happen from accidental causes while we are away, too.

Get a safe deposit box to store your jewelry or family heirlooms. If you don’t have much or just don’t want to incur the cost, arrange to leave valuables with a family member while you are gone for a few days. Purchase a small lock box and give it to someone you trust for safekeeping.

Invest in outdoor lighting . Any amount of light around your home will make your home less desirable to a thief. These can even be solar floodlights that won’t add any cost to your utilities.

Get window coverings and use them. Don’t give a would-be thief a preview of what you have in your home. When it gets dark and the inside lights come on, close all window coverings. For the same reason, if you work during the day, keep window coverings closed.

Check the locks on all entry doors. Purchase locks that have locking bolts and tongues. Test this by holding the door open and turning the latch. Then press the tongue into the door with your finger. Better locks will have a secondary tongue that doesn’t move. The best locks will have entire tongues that don’t move.

Although we like to have the best on our front doors, the back doors are the ones most likely to be used by an intruder. Multiple locks on a door are even better. If you can’t afford to purchase new locks, add a less expensive floor lock as a back up.

Check the screws in strike plates. Short screws make it easy to pry the plate off and the door open.

Floor locks. If you have a door with a window in it, add a floor lock or second lock that a thief can’t reach after breaking out the window.

Deadbolts. If you can afford it, a double-keyed deadbolt is the best solution for a door with a glass pane (so a thief can’t unlock it by reaching through the broken window and turning the latch — he would have to have a key). One last thing — check that the hinges of doors are on the inside, not outside of the door, and if not, get pins for those exposed hinges that cannot be simply removed.

Strengthen garage security . Garages are an easy entrance to your home. Too many people leave their garage doors open during the day when they are home and even if they are running a short errand. Once someone has entered your garage it is easy to close the door, giving them the privacy and time they need to break down the inside door to the house.

Solid core doors in a garage are a must. Builders sometimes put cheaper doors in the garage. Check to make sure yours are not hollow core. If they are, replacing them is a good idea.

Sliders . An estimated one-fourth of all sliding glass doors and windows are installed backwards (so the sliding part is on the outside track). This gives a criminal easy access. They simply lift out the panel and enter. Purchase a good lock for your door if you have this situation. If the door is installed correctly, purchase a secondary lock or place a dowel in the track. The dowel should be within a ¼ – inch of the track’s length so the door can’t be opened wide enough to fit fingers in to lift the door off the track. Some experts will tell you that dowels only work against the less persistent thieves.

Window locks. Put window stops on all first floor and basement window frames. The best ones are those that go through the movable frame and lock it into place. A simple alternative is to drill a hole through both frames when the window is closed and place a nail in the hole. You may also want to add a second stop by opening the window slightly, not wide enough for someone to reach through, and drill a second hole. This will enable you to have the window open slightly at night and still provide some safety.

Install motion detectors in areas that are blind spots. Many homes have motion detectors on lights in front of the garage, but thieves sneak around the sides and back of the house. Place motion detectors in those locations, high enough on the wall so intruders can’t easily disable them. If you see the light come on, you know you need to be on your guard.

Lock your gates. A latch on a gate just isn’t good enough. An intruder can easily reach over and open the latch. Get a padlock that actually locks and requires a key or combination to open. On days when the kids are in and out of the yard, leave it off, but replace it at night and always when you leave for a day or two.

Make a household inventory now, and send a copy to the person you established as your emergency contact in case you are ever forced to evacuate during an emergency. This is something we are working on if you are following our Seven Steps program, where our inventory segment is wrapping up in a few more weeks.

Etch your name on all your high priced items like electronics, cameras, computers, sports gear — you know, the goodies. This will make them more difficult to fence and sell to a pawn shop. Never use a social security number to etch on property, for obvious reasons. Thieves love identity theft, too.

Security systems are a good addition to your home, but they can be expensive. Be sure to talk to your neighbors about any system you add, and ask them to call you when it goes off. The police in some areas require an annual fee if you have your alarm connected to a siren, so they can know your contact info and call you before responding. Some police departments have stopped responding to alarms called in by neighbors, and some neighbors have started ignoring alarms because there are so many false calls.

Don’t advertise to thieves . You can’t believe how foolish people can be. Have you ever driven down the street and seen a box for a computer or TV on the sidewalk waiting for garbage pick up? That’s like shouting, “I have a new TV — come and get it!”

Leave boxes from big ticket purchases in your garage, break them down just before garbage day, and turn them inside out before putting them in the can. Use a shredder for mail and household paperwork. Wait until dark to take your garbage to the curb. If you are going to be away on garbage day, ask a friend or neighbor to put your garbage out for you and then take the can back in.

Don’t leave anyone alone in your home. If you have a repairman, realtor, or anyone else come into your home, don’t let them wander around alone. If you are selling your home and having an open house, always have friends with you. Items are often stolen at an open house as one person distracts the seller or realtor, while another helps himself to your stuff.

Never put your name or address on your keys . This should be a no-brainer. If your car is hot-wired and stolen and your garage door opener is in the car, change the code on your garage door opener immediately, or disconnect the opener until it is changed. If your other keys were in the car, change all the locks immediately. Remember, the thief has your registration and insurance info, and knows where you live.

Lock your home when you leave . Every time.

Neighborhood Watch. Now may be the time to get involved in your neighborhood watch group. Don’t have one? Then, now is the time to call the police department, ask for their suggestions, and invite the neighbors over. Neighborhood watch groups do work. They have prevented many burglaries and caught many who would have caused harm if they had not been stopped.

Information taken from Meridian Magazine

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