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Phoenix Forward

5 ways to help protect your home from burglars

Protecting your home from burglars

Are you doing everything possible to make your home secure and dissuade burglars?

Not likely, says Tom Milner, retired commander of the support services division at the Newark Police Department in California and an instructor in the criminal justice administration program at the University of Phoenix Bay Area Campus.

Check out these tips to help protect your property:

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Keep entrances secured and doors closed.

“Use deadbolt locks on doors with extra long screws on strike plates,” advises Reginald Grigsby, campus college chair for the College of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of Phoenix Main Campus. “Use window stops for sliding glass doors.”

In addition, it’s important not to leave the garage door open for long stretches of time, he says. “There is nothing more inviting [to a thief] than the ability to view inside your garage and get a look at your vehicles and other personal items,” Milner adds.

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Don’t leave clues that you’re gone.

Burglars look for “mail being left in mailboxes for extended periods of time and garbage cans remaining at the curb instead of being put away promptly,” Milner says. Make sure you’re home to accept packages, or have them sent to your work address.

If you’re going on vacation, temporarily stop mail and newspapers, delay expected deliveries or have a friend pick them up, and arrange for your lawn to be mowed.

Milner also points out that having lights on or using light timers makes the home look occupied. “Arrange for a neighbor to turn on and turn off lights when you are gone if you do not have automatic timers,” Grigsby suggests.

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Consider an alarm system.

Get a security alarm from a reputable company that ties directly into a dispatch center, which in turn will contact the police once the alarm sounds, Milner encourages. “Sometimes those are more costly, but they are worth it,” he says, adding that police officers can tell you the type and make of alarms that regularly route calls to the department.

In addition, he says, your system should monitor all windows and doors so that if they are broken or someone tries to enter, an alarm goes off.

The kinds of home security additions that best suit your needs depend on your family: If you have animals and active children, for example, motion-activated lights might not be a good choice, Milner says.

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Organize a neighborhood watch.

Start a program in your community to band together with your neighbors to keep an eye on each other’s properties, and seek police guidance on your plans.

Establish a phone tree with neighbors so that you can quickly and easily contact each other when a stranger appears to be casing the neighborhood or something unusual has occurred, and notify police.

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Maintain your home.

The reasons to keep your property tidy go beyond just aesthetics: Homes that look uncared for, Milner says, give burglars the impression that you also might not make the effort to adequately protect your home on the inside.

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