A burglary Occurred in the Neighborhood: What Should I Do?
A national crime study conducted by the FBI produced some concerning numbers when it comes to burglary. Apparently, a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in America. With that in mind, the chance of either being the victim of a burglary, or knowing the victim of a burglary, are pretty high. What happens if a burglary occurs in your neighborhood? The bad news is that if a nearby building has been the target of burglary, the odds of your’s being targeted are increased. The good news is you can assess the security of your home and take preventative measures. But where do you start?
Assess your “Curb Appeal”
Take a stroll around your house, and ask yourself “how attractive is my home for burglars”. A survey was given to a number of convicted burglars in an attempt to determine how they choose their targets, here are some of their key deciding factors:
- Is your yard well kept? Burglars love targeting homes when families are on vacation or business trips. A well-maintained lawn can actually deter their attention.
- Visibility! If shrubbery, trees, or patio furniture obstructs line of sight through your windows, it means they have concealment!
- Entry/exit points. The more ways there are to get in and out of your home, the better for a burglar. Even the location of your home on a street factors into this- houses on street corners are more likely to be targeted
Make sure valuables are not advertised from street level. This means making sure popular object for theft, such as televisions, computers, jewelry and firearms aren’t visible through your windows. If you can spot any of these items, do a bit of rearranging in your home to conceal them from people who pass by. Any lawn equipment or bicycles should be stored in your garage, as they are easy to quickly snatch.
Evaluate your Lighting
Poor exterior lighting is another element burglars look for. Inspect your yard at night and see if there are any paths that offer a lot of concealment. Pay special attention to the areas underneath first-story windows. Should you discover that your lighting isn’t quite bright enough, this is something you’ll want to take care of right away, just in case your neighborhood bandits already have you on “the list”.
Check your Home’s Security
More than half of burglaries occur with the criminal entering through a door or window. For this reason, it is imperative that you check the condition of your door and window locks very carefully and repair or replace ones that are broken. You may also want to consider placing security bars on windows and doors on the back of your home.
Make a Home Inventory List
If you do experience a break-in, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. Having an accurate home inventory list will make this process much easier when and if that time ever comes. Technology makes it easier than ever to create a home inventory list using a video camera to capture one room at a time. It can be a good idea to have pictures of valuable items such as jewelry as well. Once you have made your inventory, make it a habit to update it on a regular basis to ensure you are always ready for the unexpected. In addition, write down any serial numbers you have for any expensive purchase, as it can aid law enforcement in recovering your stolen goods.
Install a Security System
Finally, you should install a security system if your home does not already have one. That way, even if your home has been “scheduled,” thieves are likely to reconsider when they learn it is now protected. A number of studies have shown that a security system is the most effect deterrent for home burglary. While it won’t make your home immune to the danger, it does cut the risk significantly and drastically increase the chance of catching any burglar bold enough to still target your home in the act.
If a burglar does strike your neighborhood, the best thing you can do is remain calm, assist your neighbor, and learn from the experience. By taking the right steps after such an event you can increase the safety of your neighborhood and help make Lexington a safer community.