You may feel that inside your home is the only place you are safe. However, your home may not be as safe as you think. About 10 percent of robberies occur in residences, regardless of whether the owners are home or not. Many things can protect you against burglary or attack in your home.
Clear The Yard
Trim shrubs or trees that block your windows and doors. You, your neighbors, and law enforcement officers need to be able to see your home. Besides, this gives the intruders nowhere to hide.
Doors And Locks
Outside entry doors should be metal, metal clad or solid wood, not hollow core. All outside doors should have non-removable hinges and deadbolt locks with a minimum one-inch bolt. Double cylinder deadbolts (requiring a key for opening on the inside) are the most secure, but can be a serious problem in a fire.
Doors with glass windows less than 40 inches from the lock can easily be opened by breaking the glass and reaching inside. Replace the glass with unbreakable glass, or replace the door. Install a lens peephole in all outside doors, not just the front entry. Make sure peepholes are easy for all members of the family to use – including children and persons in wheelchairs.
Identification of Property
If you are a victim of burglary or other crime, the chances of your property being recovered and returned are greatly increased if your possessions have been personalized. Engrave your driver's license number along with the SCDL prefix on the back metal plates of your appliances, stereos, TV etc. This will allow the item to be placed on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer when it gets stolen, so that any law enforcement official can know who the owner is and where it was stolen. This adds to the possibility of recovery. Items that can not be engraved, such as jewelry, antiques, firearms or heirlooms, should be photographed and regularly appraised for accurate value. A written record should be made of all valuable items with serial numbers, make, model, reasonable replacement cost, and general description. This record will help the Sheriff's Office in reporting the theft and getting your items back to you. It will also help in the prosecution of those who do not respect your property or safety
Add Lights And Secure Entrances
Light makes it hard for someone to enter your home unnoticed. Add lighting to walkways and beside entrances. Motion detector lighting increases safety and conserves energy. This allows you and neighbors to see who is approaching. Adding a peephole to the front door allows you to see people without opening the door or looking out a window. This keeps you in control. Add deadbolt locks to your doors. Spring action locks are easily broken by criminals. Window bars or window locks that open easily from inside should be installed. Also, you may want to add a locking bar to your patio door to provide more security than a simple lock.
Secure The Garage
Never leave garage doors open or unlocked. Consider installing a garage door opener. Not only as it convenient, it keeps you protected while getting out of your car.
Safety is important. Organize a neighborhood watch program with your local law enforcement agency. Your neighbors can be the best friends you have in preventing crime. Carefully consider a monitored electronic security system for your home. Also, think about getting a dog. Not only are they good friends, they are excellent crime deterrents. No burglar wants to walk into a situation where an animal can take away his or her control.
For more information about how to form a watch group, or information about existing groups in your area, contact the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Division at 843-719-4713.