According to FBI crime statistics, American homes and businesses suffered 1.9 million burglaries in 2013. That’s down 71 percent from the 1994 peak of 6.4 million, but victims still suffered $4.5 billion in property losses – not to mention the emotional difficulties that come from a perceived loss of security. The reality is that burglars could hit any business or home on any day of the week.
The best way for home and business owners to protect themselves and prevent burglaries is to adopt a multi-layered approach that addresses the problem from multiple angles. As layered clothing protects against the cold, multiple layers of burglary prevention strategies provide maximum protection by making it harder for criminals to do their jobs.
The sheriff’s office in Jefferson County, Missouri, offers a very good model for implementing a multi-layered approach to burglary prevention. They break it down into three categories: lighting, time and noise.
Burglars rely on being able to breach the premises without being noticed by passers-by or local residents. During nighttime hours, lighting can be critical in deterring burglars from trying to enter your home. Therefore, strategic use of certain lighting solutions can go a long way toward protecting your property.
The first step is to install exterior motion-sensitive lighting that will readily illuminate first-floor windows and doors. Lights should be mounted out of reach to prevent burglars from disabling them. Inside the premises, timers should be used to turn lights on and off at strategic times when a property will remain unoccupied for longer than 24 hours.
Lastly, home and business owners should maintain landscaping in such a way as to eliminate locations where burglars can hide in the shadows. The greater the chances of being seen, the greater the chances a burglar will move on rather than trying to break in to your property.
Slowing Down the Burglar
In addition to going unnoticed, burglars also rely on being able to get in and out quickly. If entry into your home or business is not quick and easy, a burglar is more likely to abandon his or her efforts. You can slow burglars down by:
- installing deadbolt door locks and window security locks.
- installing block glass windows in basements.
- replacing wood doors with steel doors on the first floor.
- planting thorny shrubbery underneath first-floor windows.
Even if a home or business owner is able to delay a burglar by just 30 seconds or so, that may be enough time to cause the individual to re-evaluate the chances for success. If there is any fear of being caught because of a delay, the burglar will likely move on.
Burglars hate noise that draws attention to what they are doing and increases the chances of being caught. To that end, small dogs make a great deterrent because they are hard to silence. Home alarm systems are another great option for making noise.
Home and business owners who choose to install alarm systems should consider spending a little extra money to include 24-hour monitoring. A monitoring service ensures that authorities will be notified quickly in the event the monitored property is breached.
In addition to these physical layers, a multi-layered approach to burglary prevention also includes participation among family members, community members and, where applicable, employees. With everyone involved keeping an eye on one another’s property, the chances of burglary go down significantly.