In 1998, more than 350,000 homes were burglarized in Canada (Statistics Canada, 1998). There are some simple things that you can do to help protect your home from break-ins. Here's a few:
- Keep shrubs and bushes well trimmed and away from your doorways. This helps eliminate possible hiding places for intruders.
- Change your locks if you ever lose your keys.
- Never hide extra keys outdoors. Door ledges, mailboxes, or under doormats are the first places experienced thieves look. If you leave your keys outside, hide them in an unlikely spot such as in your garage or backyard. Insurance companies aren't very cooperative about compensating you for a theft in which you provided the key.
- Consider installing lights or motion detectors around the exterior of your house.
- Make sure you have secondary locks on all your windows and doors. The harder it is for someone to break into your home, the better.
- Engrave your drivers' license number somewhere on your valuables. Start an inventory of all your valuables and keep it in a safe hiding place.
- Buy a home alarm system or get a dog that loves to bark at strangers. Both are great deterrents for burglars.
- Consider placing valuables, like expensive jewelry and stocks, in a safety deposit box.
- Be prepared. Make sure trusted neighbors and friends have a way to reach you, just in case they notice something strange happening around your home.
- Report suspicious activities in your neighborhood such as unknown persons hanging around, slow moving vehicles circling the block, unusual noises or unfamiliar parked cars.
- Try to make it look like someone's still living there. Use timers on your lights, stereos and televisions, and ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and cut your grass.
- Make sure you let your neighbours know if you're planning to be away, even if it's just for the weekend. That way, they can keep an eye out for any unusual activity around your home.
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