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Burglary Prevention

Burglary prevention information from the District Attorney of Douglas County, Kansas.

Making your home safer from crime doesn't always mean having to install expensive alarms – effective home security starts with properly locked doors and windows, and visible, well-lighted entryways.

  • About six out of every ten completed burglaries take place through unlocked doors or windows.
  • Burglaries have steadily declined in the United States – from 100 burglaries per thousand households in 1973 to fewer than 30 per household in 2003. This downward trend has continued for almost 30 years.
  • Renters are far more likely than owners to be burglary victims. At a rate 85 percent higher than home-owning households.
  • One of the most important steps you can take to prevent burglary is to put sturdy locks on sturdy doors and windows and use them.
  • Another important step is to get to know your neighbors. Join or organize a Neighborhood Watch. More than 20 million people say they take part in Neighborhood Watch.
  • Burglars focus on convenience, concealment, and camouflage.
  • In a survey of 1,000 police and fire chiefs, 85 percent said security systems decrease the likelihood a home will be burglarized. Almost 90 percent felt security systems increased their chances of apprehending burglars, and 85 percent said they encourage the installation of electronic security systems in residences and business in their communities.
  • Walk out of your home. Now pretend you've locked yourself out and there's no spare key. How would you get in? If you can find ways, so can a burglar.
  • Keep trees trimmed away from the home and keep shrubbery trimmed so that burglars can't hide in it.
  • Illuminate or eliminate places an intruder might hide – the spaces between trees or shrubbery, stairwells, alleys, hallways, and entryways.
  • Make sure all outside entrances – front, back, side, basement – have good lighting and locks so burglars can't easily hide and try to break it.
  • Lock all windows, garage doors, shed doors, and gates after every use.
  • Keep spare keys with a trusted neighbor or nearby shopkeeper, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox.
  • Avoid confrontations with burglars.
  • Set timers on lights when you're away from home or your business is closed so it appears to be occupied.
  • If you're going on vacation, stop mail and newspaper deliveries or have a trusted neighbor pick them up daily.
  • Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home. Rather than saying "I'm not at home right now," say "I'm not available right now."
  • Work with neighbors and local government to organize community clean-ups. The cleaner your neighborhood, the less attractive it is to crime.

This document was composed with information from the National Crime Prevention Council: