Residential Burglary Prevention


  • When you arrive home, if something looks questionable, like a slit screen, a broken window or open door - do not go in. Call the police from a cell phone or a neighbor's house.
  • If you think you hear someone breaking in, leave safely if you can, then call the police. If you can't leave, lock yourself in a room with a telephone and call the police.
  • Guns are responsible for many accidental deaths in the home every year. If you choose to own a gun, learn how to store it and use it safely.

Check the Locks

  • In almost half of all residential burglaries, thieves simply breeze in through unlocked doors or unlocked windows.
  • Make sure every external door has a sturdy dead bolt lock installed.
  • Instead of hiding keys around the outside of your home, give an extra key to a neighbor that you trust.

Check the Doors

  • A lock on a flimsy door is about as effective as locking a car door but leaving the window down.
  • All outside doors should be metal or solid wood with a dead bolt. Install guards on windows to prevent them from being raised more than a few inches.
  • Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors in order to see who is outside without opening the door.
  • If living in an apartment building with a main entryway, make sure that security is enforced at the main door. Never prop open the door or let someone in behind you. Report residents who do this to the landlord.
  • When away from home, even for the evening, leave a light or two on (perhaps on a timer) as well as the television or radio.

Check the Outside

  • Look at your house from the outside. Make sure you know the following tips:
  • Thieves hate bright lights; install outside lights and keep them on at night.
  • Prune back shrubbery so it does not hide doors or windows.
  • When traveling, create the illusion you are at home by getting timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
  • Don't let mail and newspapers pile up. Call the post office and newspaper carrier to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick them up.

Consider an Alarm

  • Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have many valuables in your home, or live in an isolated area or one with a history of break-ins.
  • Check with several companies before buying an alarm so to determine what level of security best fits your needs.

Burglars Do More Than Steal

  • Burglars commit rape, robbery, and assault if they are surprised by someone coming home or pick a home that is occupied.