The “dog days” of summer are prime season for home burglaries. Here are a few helpful tips to share with your neighbors when you join them Tuesday, August 1, for National Night Out Against Crime:
- If you are home and someone knocks on the door, make sure they know someone is home. If you don’t want to answer the door, tell them you are busy and cannot answer. Turning the TV or radio on loudly also sends a signal that the home is not empty.
- Purchase a reinforced door jammer for each door that leads outside. (They work on sliding doors as well.) These should be put in place on every door, except the front, when you leave home. It’s also a good idea to put them on at night when you go to sleep-they can be easily removed if there is an emergency situation.
- Photograph valuables (including electronics) and keep them safe, along with original receipts and serial numbers. If they do get stolen, most insurance companies will want both for the claims.
- Do not leave windows open (even a little) at night or during the day while you are out.
- If you have an alarm system, be sure to activate it each time you leave and place signs and stickers around your house advertising that you have a system. If you don’t have an alarm system, consider getting one. Investigate inexpensive systems that do not have a monthly fee. Video doorbells allow you to see who is at your door without getting up or being there to check. When you’re away, you may choose to have the system call or alert your cell phone when you have a visitor. Many home insurance companies will offer a discount if you have an alarm system or cameras.
- Make your backyard a struggle for thieves to get into by placing a lock on the gate and repairing any missing fence posts. Keep ladders and tools locked away-don’t assist the burglar with getting in.
- Purchase a high-quality fire-resistant safe and put all valuables in it. The safe should be heavy, making it inconvenient for anyone to grab and run with. Don’t keep valuables in your dresser. That is a common place, and burglars know to look there.
- Keep your recycling/garbage bins in an enclosed area such as your backyard or garage. This will assure they are not rummaged through only to find boxes from your newly purchased items.
The best advice is to know your neighbors. Stay in communication with them, and consider setting up a neighborhood watch.
More information on National Night Out can be found at: www.natw.org