How to Make your Home Burglar Resistant

Some interesting statistics concerning break-ins in the United States:

  • In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported more than 2 million burglary offenses.
  • According to a survey, burglars enter homes through the following locations:
    • 81% enter through the first floor;
    • 34% of burglars enter through the front door;
    • 23% enter through a first-floor window;
    • 22% enter through the back door
    • 9% enter through the garage;
    • 4% enter through the basement;
    • 4% enter through an unlocked entrance;
    • 2% enter through a storage area;
    • and 2% enter anywhere on the second floor.

    Here are some ways to protect yourself and your family from break ins

    • Exterior Doors
    • Doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood construction. Hollow-core wood doors are more easily broken than heavy, solid-core doors.
    • Doors should be free of signs of rot, cracks and warping.
    • Doors should be protected by quality dead bolt locks. Chain locks are not adequate substitutes for dead bolt locks, although chain locks may be used as additional protection.
    • If a mail slot is present, it should be equipped with a cage or box. Mail slots that are not equipped with cages or boxes have been used by burglars to enter homes.  Burglars can insert a contraption made of wire and cord into the mail slot and use it to open the lock from the inside, if no box or cage is present.
    • If a door is equipped with glass panes, they should be installed far from the lock. Otherwise, burglars can smash the glass and reach through the door to unlock the door.
    • Spare keys should not be hidden in obvious locations. Burglars are very good at finding keys that homeowners believe are cleverly hidden. The best place for a spare key is in the house of a trusted neighbor. If keys must be hidden near the door, they should not be placed in obvious locations, such as under a doormat, rock or planter.
    • A peephole can be installed in doors so homeowners can see who is on their doorstep before they open the door.
    • Clients should consider installing bump-resistant locks on their doors. “Bumping” is a technique developed recently that can open almost any standard lock with less effort than is required by lock-picking. This technique uses “bump keys,” which are normal keys with slight modifications. Lock companies such as Schlage, Primus and Medeco manufacture a number of locks that offer some bump-resistance.
    • Pet Doors
    • Pet doors can be used by burglars to enter homes. Some burglars have reached through pet doors in order to unlock the door. It is advisable to not have a pet door, but if one is necessary, it should be as small as possible and installed far from the lock.
    • A crafty burglar may convince or coerce a small child to crawl through a pet door and unlock the door. Also, some burglars are children.
    • Electronic pet doors are available that open only when the pet, equipped with a signaling device in their collar, approaches the door. These doors are designed to keep stray animals out of the home, and may provide protection against burglars, as well.
    • Sliding Glass Doors
    • They should be equipped with locks on their tops and bottoms.
    • They should not be able to be lifted from their frames.
    • A cut-off broom handle, or a similar device, can be laid into the door track to prevent it from being opened.
    • Illumination
    • Lights should be installed on the exterior of all four sides of the house. Burglars prefer darkness so they cannot be seen by neighbors or passersby.
    • When building occupants are not home, a few lights should be left on.
    • It is helpful to install exterior lights that are activated by motion sensors. Burglars that are suddenly illuminated may flee.
    • Windows
    • All windows should be composed of strong glass, such as laminated glass, and be in good operating order.
    • They can be installed with bars, grilles, grates or heavy-duty wire screening. Barred windows must be equipped with a quick-release mechanism so occupants can quickly escape during a fire.
    • Windows should not be hidden by landscaping or structures. If landscaping or structures cannot be moved, lighting can be installed around the windows.
    • Landscaping and Yard
    • Shrubs and trees should not obscure the view of entrances. Shielded entrances can provide cover for burglars while they attempt to enter the residence.
    • Fences are helpful burglar deterrents, although they should not be difficult to see through.
    • While the house is vacant:
    • A loud radio can be used to make burglars think someone is home. Timers can be used to activate radios and lights to make the home seem occupied.
    • A car should always be parked in the driveway. A neighbor’s car can be parked there so that it appears as if someone is home.
    • The lawn should be cut regularly. Uncut grass is a clue that no one is home.
    • Other Tips
      • Dogs are excellent burglar deterrents. For clients who cannot own dogs, they can place “Beware of Dog” signs around the yard for nearly the same effect.
      • If no security system is installed, the client can post security alarm stickers around the yard.
      In summary, there are a number of tactics that you can do to help safeguard your home from break-ins.