Burglar-Proof Your Home or Apartment

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15 No-Cost Ways to Protect Your Home and Family!
By Queen Mason for Red Triangle Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright 1998, Red Triangle Enterprises, Inc.   

According to U.S. Department of Justice data, an American home is burglarized every 8 seconds.   In the next two decades, three out of four American homes will be burglarized.  But YOUR home doesn't have to be a statistic!  There are things YOU can do to protect your home and family!  By following the 15 small steps outlined below, you will be taking a giant step towards making your home a place which burglars will want to avoid...

1.  SECURE ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS WHENEVER YOU LEAVE YOUR HOME.  Failing to lock all doors and windows when leaving home, even for a few minutes, is one of the most common mistakes leading to home robberies.  A friendly neighbor can turn into a burglar if all she has to do is walk through an unlocked door or crawl through an open window.  Keep your neighbors honest --- keep your doors and windows locked whenever you leave your home!

2.  DON'T LEAVE A NOTE ON YOUR DOOR TELLING PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE NOT AT HOME!  Anyone who happens by could see it, and your note could become an invitation to a burglar.

3.  LEAVE A LIGHT ON IN ONE OR TWO ROOMS WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AT NIGHT.  This will give your home the appearance of being occupied when you are away.

4.  NEVER LEAVE YOUR GARAGE DOOR OPENER IN AN UNLOCKED CAR.  To do so could give thieves access to your garage.   If you have an attached garage, you could also be giving thieves access to your home!

5.  WHEN ON VACATION, LET A TRUSTED FRIEND KNOW HOW TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.  Ask him to pick up your mail (unless you have the post office hold it until your return) and gather up newspapers, hand bills, litter, packages, or anything else that could alert a burglar to the fact that your home is unoccupied.

6.  NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION TO STRANGERS WHO CALL YOU ON THE TELEPHONE!  Burglars sometimes pose as telephone solicitors or conductors of surveys, and if you answer their questions, they can discover the contents of your home.  You DON'T have to answer an unknown caller's questions, and you DON'T have to participate in anybody's survey!

7.  JOIN A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROJECT.  Get to know your neighbors, and report any suspicious characters to your local police department immediately.

8.  IF YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER IS LISTED, DON'T LIST YOUR ADDRESS.  Ask your local telephone company to delete your address from the listing.  Better yet, get an unlisted number.

9.  IF YOU ARE A WOMAN LIVING ALONE AND YOU HAVE A LISTED TELEPHONE NUMBER, have the number listed under your initials or under a male relative's name.  Do not use your first name in the listing, and NEVER include your address in the listing.

10.  KEEP VALUABLES OUT OF SIGHT WHEN COMPANY ARRIVES, AND DON'T DISCUSS THE CONTENTS OF YOUR HOME WITH ANYONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR FAMILY.  The temptation to show off our belongings or to brag about them has affected most of us at one time or another, but what you stand to lose by bragging is far greater than any momentary satisfaction you might gain.

11.  NEVER OPEN YOUR DOOR TO A STRANGER.  Instruct your children to do the same.  Keep your door closed and locked unless you know who is on the other side of it.

12.  KEEP PERSONAL AREAS IN YOUR HOME OFF LIMITS TO VISITORS.  Some people, when they make new friends, show their new friends all around their homes --- not necessarily to show off, but more often as a gesture of welcome.  Not only is it unnecessary to extend welcome in this manner, itis extremely unwise.   For example, your new friends don't need to see your bedroom unless you intend to entertain them in it!

13.  NEVER GIVE THE KEYS TO YOUR HOME TO A STRANGER.  If you must leave a key with a car wash or parking attendant, leave the key to the car's ignition only.  Take all other keys with you.  (If you have a valet key, use it!)

14.  NEVER HAVE YOUR NAME AND/OR ADDRESS IMPRINTED ON A KEY TAG.  People who do this assume that if they lose their keys, the finder will be honest enough to return them.  This is a dangerous assumption!

15.  ALWAYS KEEP YOUR SHADES AND DRAPES DRAWN AT NIGHT.  People who turn on their lights at night without drawing their shades or closing their blinds could also be turning on a burglar.  A lighted house with open drapes is like a fishbowl at night, exposing its contents to every passerby.

\For more information about how to protect your home and family from unwelcome visitors, visit Red Triangle's Home Security web site at now, or write to:  Red Triangle Enterprises, Inc., Dept. Home Security, 39040 Hubbard St., Palmdale, CA 93551 USA.