A person who has their house burglarized feels violated. Their oasis from the crazy world has been breached and many victims never feel the same sense of comfort when in their home as they did before the burglary.
Burglary is considered a property crime and it is therefore not very high on the agenda of law enforcement, especially in large Cities. The headline grabbing shootings, stabbings robberies etc are what law enforcement concentrates on because they are crimes against persons and they are a threat to lives.
Everyone should take some security measures in order to prevent burglary. The harder the task seems to a burglar, the less he/she will target your home. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you because you are poor, appear poor or have nothing to steal, many burglars are chancers and are willing to take a risk on breaking into a house or apartment that is easy, in the hope that something of value will be obtained.
You don’t want to find yourself in a burglary/home invasion situation. Technically, this situation occurs when a burglar enters your home and you or another authorized person is in residence. It is very dangerous and if you have never considered what you would do in such a situation, you will be at the mercy of the criminal. You may end up at their mercy anyway, but if you have a plan, you have a better chance of a favorable outcome. The best thing to have in your home for such a situation is a firearm, although the usefulness of the firearm depends on the particular laws in your State of residence. Bats and clubs can also be a good defence tool. If you do possess a firearm for such a situation, make sure that you know the law pertaining to this situation, you are sufficiently familiar with the weapon that you can use it and most importantly, if the situation dictates, be mentally prepared to use it in defence of yourself and family. I know many people are anti gun and that is ok. It’s your personal choice if you want to take the chance of becoming a helpless victim. The criminals don’t have these negative feeling about guns, or any weapons. Just remember that even if you manage to call 911, the police response time is going to be measured in minutes, not seconds. If you do have firearms in the house, don’t tell anyone about them.
Starting from the outside, get some light on your front yard, motion sensor flood lights are good. Trim any bushes so that people cannot hide behind them, trim the bush from the base, up to about 2 ft, so that you can clearly see the base. You could consider planting thorny bushes and hedges around the perimeter of your back yard, if the bushes are large and thorny enough, they may be enough to make a burglar think twice. Motion sensor lights in your backyard are also advisable.
Because most people like a private backyard, they fence the yard with fencing that blocks the view of people looking in from outside. This achieves privacy, but is also attractive to the burglar, as he/she can break into your house in privacy. The rear of a house is a popular entry point for burglars. With apartments, unless it is on the ground floor, there is only one way in, the front door. Many people would be surprised at how quick and easy it is to kick in a front door, or pry one open. I prefer a reinforced door frame which will withstand a lot of force. The door frame is normally the weak point.
Windows are also a favored entry point for burglars, they are easy to force and as a last resort, the burglar can just break the glass to gain entry. I think that windows are the weakest part of the house. There really isn’t very much you can do about this situation except to fit security bars on your windows. Many people don’t like security bars because they are ugly and they also stop you using the windows as an emergency exit, in case of fire etc.
Security cameras, recording to a DVD, can be fitted to your house internally and externally. These systems can now be self installed reasonably easily, many work on WiFi and they are not too expensive. The cameras can be motion activated and will record the burglar. Cameras will not give any specific protection against burglary unless you place signs or stickers in your yard. The cameras should really be covert, so the burglar doesn’t know about them. The recordings can be used for the apprehension and prosecution of the burglar. Catching a criminal after the event is not as desirable as preventing the burglary in the first place.
Alarms may put some burglars off, but most know that they have a few minutes to get in and out before any response to the alarm activation, but it does place a limit on their time. If the burglar has planned the crime, they will know exactly what they want to get and where it is, so they can be quick. This is why you should limit your visitors to highly trusted friends and family and people carrying out essential work on your house only.
When you are in your house, you can use devices like security door wedges and door braces to give extra security to you doors, or place the devices on all doors giving access to the outside, except the front door of course. If you have windows that lock, keep them locked when not in use, consider installing security glass and consider having ground floor windows alarmed.
It all sounds like living a life under siege and I understand the feeling. You should evaluate your local crime maps (they can normally be found online, try the local police website) and decide what measures you think you need. Being prepared is better than being a victim. Don’t be afraid of reporting suspicious people in your area. The suspicion begins with strangers seen walking slowly along the street, casually looking at the houses as they go. The walk appears aimless and there should be no reason for a person who doesn’t live in the area to be shuffling along the street, glancing around at houses. If you see one of these shufflers suddenly start to walk towards a house with a purpose and disappear into the back yard, call the police. Sometimes the suspicion is generated by seeing an unknown vehicle cruising slowly in your residential neighborhood, especially during the day, after people who work the traditional 9 AM to 5 PM have gone to work. If you are wrong, don’t worry, you have a right to be suspicious. The police should respond, and maybe that alone will encourage burglars to find somewhere else to target.