Creating your three to four minute delay
Every year in the United States there are over 2,000,000 burglaries. 74% of all burglaries were on residential property and mostly during day-time hours. In over 100,000 of these burglaries, a family member suffered some form of violence. (Source: FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report).
Sometimes, the simplest places are where you start. For instance, locking your doors and windows. Sounds simple but consider that almost 30% of burglaries were through unlocked doors and windows. That’s right; the thieves just walked in.
But this means that the other 70% of break-ins involved forced entry. Solidifying your entry points – good locks and good window protection – is a critical first step in securing your home.
In fact, the most widely cited figure is that creating a three to four minute delay will deter most home burglaries.
Think like a bad guy and refuse to be a good victim
A bad guys wants four things: 1) he doesn’t want to get caught, 2) he doesn’t want to get hurt, 3) he wants things to be simple, 4) he wants an easy victim. Studies indicate repeatedly, predators choose their victims, consciously or unconsciously.
Refuse to be a good victim.
There’s plenty of good quality locks, doors, alarms, motion detectors, cameras and monitoring services on the market. Glass is the weak link in any building. The fact is, there are very few ways to protect windows effectively.
The majority of residential break-ins take place through un-secured glass. A high quality window security laminate creates an invisible barrier on your windows, resisting initial attacks, slowing the bad guys down and if you are home, giving you time to move to safety and respond.
The effects of a break-in go well beyond the financial losses. Most victims report that the psychological impacts – ranging from fear and anger to guilt resulting from their inability to protect their home and family – are worse than the loss of what was taken.
While nothing is burglar proof, some simple precautions and steps can keep you, hour family and your home much safer. Window security is often a primary strategy for “hardening” a home.
Four types of burglars
Security experts have identified Four Classes of Burglars. Briefly, they are:
- Common and Simple (The Amateur Burglar): This thief seeks out easy fast targets such as open windows and unlocked doors. Since the ease of the crime is the driving force rather than advanced knowledge of valuables, this burglar often ends up with “stuff” that can be exchanged for cash. Often categorized as Delinquents or Opportunists, this class of burglar has a low level of skill. However, this low level of skill makes them reckless and unpredictable which has the potential to make them dangerous. Amateur Burglars often use the proceeds of their crimes to purchase drugs, which contributes to the unpredictability of this class of criminal. Despite this, they are the easiest to defend against with simple, common sense precautions. The Amateur is looking to steal whatever he can get. The Amateur typically uses brute force to smash into a home. Typically the Amateur will look for an un-occupied home. 40% to 60% of burglars are Amateurs.
- The Hunter (Professional Class III Burglar): This kind of burglar is premeditated, scouting around neighborhoods for valuables. They’ll take advantage of unlocked doors and windows, but are willing to be careless and will smash through windows or bash down doors, then grab anything that they can stuff into pockets or a napsack Comprising 25% to 35% of Burglars, Professional Class III Burglars mostly seek out homes with minimal security measures such as a home security system. Generally their use of force is low and they will seek out homes with weaknesses or vulnerabilities such as open doors and windows, obscured entrance ways and no security devices. Strengthening doors and windows is a primary strategy for deterring this class of burglars.
- The Prowler (Professional Class II Burglar): The Prowler is a smarter and more sophisticated version of the Hunter. Comprising 10% to 20% of Burglars, Class II Burglars has the knowledge to avoid security systems and focus their entry on vulnerable areas such as windows accessed from rooftops and venting systems. While after the same valuables as Class III Burglars (money, jewels, guns, high-end appliances), deterrence measures will go beyond alarms systems and include door and window enhancements, motion activated lights and environmental security measures such as “security landscaping”.
- The Specialist (Professional Class I Burglar): This is the top fight burglar, concentrating on wealthy estates, selecting targets very carefully, usually working within a crime ring. Only high-value items will suffice, and thus specialist burglars may also target businesses and warehouses.The Specialist or Professional Class I Burglar targets wealthy neighborhoods and has usually identified a specific target, often focusing on homes or individuals with known valuables such as art, jewellery and collectibles. With Burglars of this skill (fewer than 5% of burglars) more sophisticated security measures are required and you may wish to retain a security consultant to undertake a comprehensive and personalized assessment. However, unless you live in specific neighborhoods and fit a certain profile, chances of being victimized by a Class I Burglar is rare.
Eleven Things You Can Do Right Now to Protect Your Home and Family from Burglars
- Make sure your windows and doors are locked. Simple and easy but often forgotten in Spring and Fall when the nice weather makes opening the window irresistible.
- Unlocked garage doors are also a leading source of unforced entry.
- Burglars know to check flowerpots and ledges for spare keys. If you must, keep spares with the neighbor.
- Keep your yard free of bricks and heavy rocks. Yes, burglars will use the implements you leave them to smash into your own home.
- Knob locks are easily jimmied. Dead-bolts aren’t.
- Prevent sliding doors from opening by placing a rod in the tracks.
- Think about landscaping. Bushes and trees make great hiding spots. In fact, there is an entire field of security called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CEPTED). Preventing crime by creating an outdoor environment that makes it difficult to pull off is very effective.
- Motion detectors. Light is a great psychological deterrent.
- Install a high quality security system or alarm. Most burglars report staying away from houses with lawn signs saying they are monitored properties.
- Conduct your own nighttime visual inventory. What can be seen inside your home from the outside?