Many burglaries are committed by opportunists who take advantage of inviting situations. Open doors and windows, storage sheds and outbuildings without locks, pet doors are all obvious signs a residence is unoccupied.
Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars, and has been a point of entry in a number of recent burglaries in Tucson.
Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate with three-inch screws. All windows should have window locks. Sliding glass doors should have a metal rod or piece of wooden dowel in the track, and vertical bolts to prevent lifting the door.
For residents with evaporative “swamp” coolers, who rely on an open window or door for enhanced airflow, consider a locking system that allows you to secure a window in a slightly opened position that is too small for entry.
These will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.
If you have an attached garage, always lock the door that leads into the house. Don't rely on your automatic garage door mechanism for security.
Consider updating your older automatic opener to include one with enhanced security features.
Don’t get in the habit of leaving your garage vehicle-bay door open when you are home and only closing it at night.
Thieves need just seconds to take valuables from an open garage.
Dog and cat doors or flaps are frequently used by burglars for gaining entry. If you must have a pet-access door, invest in one that has security features, and secure it if you will be away from home for an extended period.
A burglar-friendly location is one that provides a thief with a sense of privacy, a reasonable expectation that no one is home, and an opportunity to take items of value that can be resold quickly.
Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. Low-voltage lighting is relatively inexpensive.
Create the illusion that you are home through the use of timers on lights, radios and TV's.
Keep shrubbery trimmed away from entrances and walkways. They provide concealment for burglars.
Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and newspapers while you are away so delivered items do not accumulate. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place, and to open and close curtains and shades to make it appear that you are home.
Record serial numbers and take photographs or video of valuable items to aid recovery if stolen. Often, a serial number is the only way to reconnect a victim with their recovered stolen property.
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL TIPS:
The simple rule is that if the information is not something you would provide to a complete stranger on the street, don’t share it online.
Know who is in your home. Don’t allow friends to bring unknown people to your home or host parties that are open to uninvited guests.
Never leave a message on your telephone answering machine telling people that you are away from home. A message that you will return at a certain time leaves your home vulnerable in the interim.
Restrict access to your social media pages to family and close friends.
Don’t accept “friend” requests unless you are convinced that you know and trust the sender.
Don’t post about upcoming vacation dates or times when you will be away from home
Don't update your “status” to tell others that you are currently sitting on a tropical beach, and not at home.
Organize or actively participate in a neighborhood watch program.
An alert community is a safe community.
Your neighbors will be the first ones to recognize when someone or something is out of place.
Call 911 as soon as you see something suspicious occurring. Allow the police the opportunity to investigate the situation before it becomes a crime.
These tips are not all-inclusive, but a basic guide that provides some common sense and practical tips for citizens.
With very little effort and no, or sometimes minimal, expense, we can all take steps to make our properties less attractive targets for criminal activity.
If you have guests visiting this holiday season don’t let holiday distractions prevent you from creating a safe environment for your loved ones. No matter how long your guests stay, be sure to take special precautions for older adults and young children.
Check lighting over stairways, hallways, entry ways and between the bedroom and the bathroom
Place non-slip bath mats in tubs and showers
Install grab bars in tubs and showers
Place safety gates in locations that pose a risk to toddlers
Install and test smoke detectors in each sleeping area
Teach your guests the home escape plan, point out exits and the meeting place and practice a fire drill
Use toilet seat locks and remove all water from buckets, tubs, and coolers
Install and lock security gates and lids around pools, ponds and hot tubs
Keep all poisons, chemicals, matches, lighters and any other hazardous material locked up and out of the reach of children