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You've lived here for years. You've never had any trouble. But one otherwise quiet night, you hear a strange noise. It sounds like the jiggling of a doorknob. Is someone breaking into your house? Are the kids still in bed? Where did you leave the phone? It's three o'clock in the morning, and there is no one around to help. With no home alarm system, your mind starts racing a million miles a second trying to think of ways to keep your family safe and - at the same time - work out an escape route.
This is a situation all too many people find themselves in every year. The middle of a potentially life-threatening emergency with no security alarm system is no time to discover you need additional help. The best time to work those things through is right now when all is well. There are some simple ideas you can put into place right now that can help prevent break-ins at your home. Even if you have a home alarm system, these tips go a long way to give added safety.
<B>Leave the Outside Lights On Every Night</B>
Most people never turn on the outside lights unless they are leaving. While they believe turning outdoor lights on when they leave is a safety measure, they are only partially correct. Why? Because if the only time you turn the outdoor lights on is when you leave, you're sending a glaring signal to burglars that says, "Hey! I've gone out for several hours tonight so help yourself. I'll turn the lights off when I get back so you and your buddies will know not to come around."
Turn your porch lights and other outdoor lights on *every* night, whether you're leaving your home or not. This way, you accomplish two things. First, you shed light on dark areas that might otherwise help to camouflage burglars. Second, you take away the signal burglars are waiting to see that tells them you're away from home. Alarm systems are fabulous for helping in times of emergency, but prevention is still the number-one cure for break-ins.
<B>Un-Clutter Windows and Doorways</B>
When you give burglars plenty of cover, they will likely take advantage of it. Tall bushes and shrubs that fully or partially cover windows make great hiding places. Burglars can easily squat behind a bush as they work on prying open a window for entry. Likewise, tall topiaries, statues or other objects that offer cover to burglars should be removed from around your doorways. Don't provide anything that would give a robber a hiding place.
<B>Make It Too Much Trouble</B>
Most burglars are looking for an easy score. If they think entry will be too difficult or that there is a high risk of being caught (as is the case with security alarm systems), they will probably move on to another house. If you currently have a home alarm system, place the signs and window stickers in prominent places where they can be readily seen. This practice is frequently recommended by police departments because of its effectiveness. Motion detector lights are also good deterrents. Security pins for sliding doors and windows would definitely be too much trouble for your average burglar to fuss with. In addition, double-paned windows are extra trouble to break (and extra noisy!) giving burglars yet another reason to look elsewhere for a victim.
Another good idea is to survey your home and think like a burglar. If you were trying to break into your own house, how would you do it? What would you need to be successful? If you find easy ways to break into your home, chances are a burglar will, too. Make notes as you walk around your house and then take immediate action to stop trouble before it starts.