Home security, burglary prevention tips

Home Security 

Burglary is a crime that threatens all homes, but especially those which provide criminals with the “opportunity” to intrude, steal and escape undetected.  We lose more than belongings to the criminals who attack our communities. We lose our freedom - the freedom to feel safe walking city streets after dark, going to a park alone, or letting our children walk home from school. We even lose the ability to feel secure in our own homes. And our law enforcement agencies, no matter how effective, can’t protect us completely.

It cannot be stressed enough that all homeowners must take the responsibility to assess and, if necessary, improve the security of their own home. 

There are many strategies you can employ to minimize the burglar’s opportunity.  The following are steps that you can take to improve the security of our home. 

Interior Lighting 

When you are away from home, keep some interior lights on. This creates the appearance that someone is home. Use a timer to turn the lights off and on at normal hours. A radio, television, or even a police scanner  playing adds to the illusion that the home is occupied. 

During the hours of darkness, and prior to a normal bedtime hour, a home should have lights on in various rooms. A home not showing any interior lights will give the appearance of being unoccupied and could attract the unwanted attention of a burglar.  

A light timer installed in a living room or family room and another in a bedroom, each set to come on and to go off at different times, will give your home the appearance of being occupied during the hours of darkness even when it is not. 

Exterior Doors

Always keep them closed and locked. Install solid-core wood doors with rugged frames that cannot be spread apart with a pry bar. A single cylinder deadbolt with a one inch throw, in addition to the key-in the-knob lock, is essential. 

Garage Doors 

Always keep them closed and locked. A burglar in your garage has access to tools and ladders and can often work on your home undetected.  Garages often contain many valuables, including tools, desirable to thieves.  There is no need to advertise your absence by showing the public your empty garage. Your garage also probably contains valuable items such as bicycles, tools and garden equipment.


Keep your windows closed and locked when you are away. Windows should have auxiliary locking devices. Screens and storm windows should be securely fastened to the structure.  Wood dowels in sliding windows and  sliding glass doors help to prevent easy access.


Shrubs that provide you with privacy also give a burglar a place to hide. Prune bushes down to two feet or trim trees up at least four feet. 


Lighting is considered one of the best determents to burglary. High pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights attached to timers are very effective tools that prevent trouble. A 40 watt light at each entrance, including the garage, will provide you with both safety and security and will not be wasting energy when used  in conjunction with a timer or passive infrared sensors that turn lights on when movement is detected.


No other security system is as efficient and practical for alerting neighbors and/or police that a break-in has occurred. The intruder is scared off for fear of being apprehended . Many types of alarm systems work well to protect homes. The system should be individually tailored to suit the needs of the residents. Consult your local law enforcement agency. 

Time, noise and light are a burglar’s worst enemy. With a little effort, you can set up deterrents against possible danger, injury to people or damage to property. By anticipating the opportunity and taking proper preventative action, it is possible to effectively “harden the target” and discourage most burglars from attempting a break in. 

We can’t always get back what crime takes away. But we can take back our freedom 

to feel safe.  By working together, we can Empower ourselves to make our streets safe for everyone.  And please, don’t hesitate to seek the professional assistance of your local law enforcement crime prevention unit. 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 13
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates