Repeatedly, the newspaper and Internet headlines that appear in bold print proclaim that home burglaries are on the rise. Every city has been hit – Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami, San Antonio and Denver, to name a few. If you think this only affects metropolitan cities, think again. Today’s home robberies are occurring in broad daylight, in small cities and in rural areas.

As the unemployment rate continues to soar, even President Obama compares today’s current Great Recession to the Great Depression of the 1930’s. More than 80 years ago, as Wall Street took an unfathomable dive, the gangsters of Chicago and New York dominated the streets. During bad economic times, it is no wonder citizens turn to crime. Without a high employment rate, the proverb “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” begins to take on a completely new meaning.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that every 15 seconds, a home in the U.S. is broken into. A typical homeowner averages a loss of $2,000, as thieves typically want to gain entry, grab valuable goods and leave the premises as soon as possible. However, many homeowners have damage upwards of this amount, as entry is often gained breaking down doors or shattering windows.

How can you protect your home from wayward burglaries? Consider the following valuable tips:

Trim landscaping, including shrubs, trees and bushes, so that the home is visible from the road. This helps detour robbers as they do not favor being out in the open for passersby to witness their break-ins.

Draw shades, close drapes and install window treatments to keep valuable items out of sight. This prevents thieves from “window-shopping” and helps make a home a more difficult target.

Homeowners should be careful what they recycle or throw in the trash. Announcing to the world that you just purchased a brand new flat screen TV is not advisable. This is essentially a free advertisement for burglars: “Look at what is valuable in my home.”

Keep homes well lit at night and consider installing a motion-sensor light or security system.

Consider setting indoor light timers, as this makes robbers think the home is occupied or someone is at home.
More than 60-percent of burglars gain entry through ground floor windows and doors. Consider reinforcing these areas by including steel-wrapped wood-core doors or solid wood doors that are not easy to kick in.

It is recommended that homeowners, who have windows near doors, install thin Plexiglas over the existing glass. This helps prevent a thief from breaking the window and simply reaching in to unlock the door.

Always install deadbolts to outdoor entry doors. This helps detour thieves and makes gaining entry more dubious.

Always use common sense! Make sure that windows are closed, locked, the home is securely locked, garage doors remain closed, etc.

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