DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Break-ins happen, in even the toniest neighborhoods. Sometimes, they even happen in broad daylight.
But there are ways to prevent your house from being a target.
- Lock the doors and windows
It seems like it could go without saying, but that’s the absolute most essential first line of defense, and not enough people are doing it. In approximately one-third of home burglaries, the burglar comes in through an unlocked door or window, according to the “Burglary of Single Family Houses”guide, published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
- Get a dog
The best deterrent is a barking dog at the door, so if it fits into your lifestyle and budget, a dog is your key to security. It doesn’t have to be a big or aggressive dog, it just has to bark. The COPS reports shows that most burglars avoid houses with dogs. “Burglars don’t want to be seen or caught; they also want to avoid pain,” agrees Charlene Miller, Crime Prevention Neighborhood Watch director at the Boise Police Department in Idaho, who adds that dogs that bark – even small, noisy dogs – can be an effective deterrent.
The best part? There are plenty waiting for you at the local shelter, and your security guard can double as your best friend.
- Watch your trash
The holidays aren’t too far away, and there’s always a birthday lurking, but when you receive or buy yourself an expensive present, don’t leave the box for, say, that flat screen TV, Game Boy, or computer at the curb for days. Keep it in the garage until garbage day. The neighbors will thank you, too.
- Find a friend
Make sure someone picks up your mail and turns on the porch light if you’re out of town. Nothing alerts a thief faster than a house that is obviously dark and unused. Keep the blinds closed so no one can see inside when darkness falls.
- Get an alarm
“They are one of the best defenses, and you can get a system for about $50 to $100 a month,” said “Good Morning America” housing contributor and Wall Street Journal editor Wendy Bounds in an ABC News report. “But make sure you check with the Better Business Bureau before picking an alarm company. There have been many complaints about companies in recent years, and there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there talking alarm systems.”