Home and Property Safety

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In 2013, the FBI’s national statistics show that a property crime occurred every 3.7 seconds. It is estimated that a burglary occurred every 16.4 seconds, a larceny or theft occurred every 5.3 seconds, and a motor vehicle theft occurred every 45.1 seconds (https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/browse-by/national-data) Many things can help prevent a burglary or theft in and around 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 windowless and made of fiberglass, 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

Having a record of your property is essential to being able to recover it should you be the victim of a property crime. In order to get an item back from a pawnshop or other party, you must be able to positively identify it. This can be done by taking photos of the item, including the serial number along with an overall photo of it and by having an “owner applied number” on it. To do this, you can engrave your driver's license number along with the SCDL prefix on the back metal plates of your appliances, stereos, TV etc. for identification purposes. Items that cannot be engraved, such as jewelry, antiques, and firearms or heirlooms, should be photographed and regularly appraised for accurate value. The best way to recover stolen property is to keep a written record of all items. Be sure to include the serial number, make, model, reasonable replacement cost, and general description. This record will allow the items to be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer, and the victim will be notified in the event that a stolen item is recovered. It will also aid in the prosecution of those who may have or had possession of the items.

Add Lights And Secure Entrances

Adding lighting to walkways and entrances, and installing motion detector lighting increases safety and can help deter criminals. Adding a peephole to the front door allows you to see people without opening the door or looking out a window. 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, and consider installing a garage door opener. Not only is it convenient, but it will keep you protected while getting out of your car.

Secure The Vehicle

Never leave your keys in your vehicle or in the gas tank area. Always keep your vehicle locked and keep valuables out of view.

Consider Alternatives

Install an alarm and a surveillance system in your home. Organize a neighborhood watch program with your local law enforcement agency; neighbors can be the best friends you have in preventing crime. 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.