Remember that burglaries are crimes of opportunity, where entry is gained due to homeowners knowingly or unknowingly leaving a window, a door, or a garage door open or unlocked.
Tampa Police District I's neighborhood affairs liaison Maryanne Hunsberger shares some easy tips to help you not be a victim of a burglary.
1. Lock All Your Doors 24/7
Most unlawful entry is through doorways.
- 51 percent of break-ins occur during daylight.
- 49 percent of break-ins occur after dark.
- 8,600 break-ins a day, 1 every 13 seconds.
2. Deadbolt All Exterior Entrances
Most burglaries are the result of forcible entry.
- Every exterior entryway into your home needs a deadbolt with a full 1" throw bolt.
- Treat the door from garage to inside the house as an exterior door.
- Exterior doors should be solid, 1-3/4" hardwood, with secure frames.
3. Intruders Fear The Spotlight
An intruder's greatest fear is being seen. Don't give them a place to hide.
- Good exterior lighting around your perimeter creates a psychological barrier.
- Consider motion activated light fixtures.
- All porches and other entrances should be lit with at least a 40-watt bulb.
- Trim overgrown bushes, tree limbs, or landscaping to the height of porches or windows.
4. Glass Can Shatter Your Security
- Locks less than an arm's length away from glass panels and sidelights require glass brick, grates or grills.
- A sliding glass door is lifted into position when installed and easily lifted out if you're not careful. Adjust screws in the door track to limit clearance. Add a wooden dowel or broom handle too.
5. "While You're On Vacation"
Maintain the appearance of occupancy at all times.
- Use automatic timers to turn on different lights at different times.
- Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper.
- Most break-ins occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Put a radio or a TV on a timer. Turn the ringer on the telephone down.
- Complete a “Vacation Watch” form with Tampa Police Department.
6. Have Neighborhood Watch Meetings
- Host Neighborhood Watch meetings for your community, and invite law enforcement officers to attend, to address concerns of your community and give, training and crime prevention techniques.
7. Do Not Hide A Key Under The Mat
- Never hide keys under a mat, or taped above a doorjamb; burglars know these places.
- Leave a key with a trusted neighbor.
- Don't place identification tags on your key or key rings.
8. Help The Police Help You
- House numbers should be at least 4" to 6" high, reflective and visible from the street.
- Numbers should be illuminated at night.
- Report strangers running through private yards, alleyways, or anyone looking into windows of houses or parked cars.
- Call the police. Don't worry about false alarms. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Call 9-1-1 if an emergency threatens human life or property. If it's not an emergency, call the non-emergency number (813) 231-6130.
9. Burglars Prefer Cash
Burglars want cash or items easily fenced for cash; small electronic equipment,
computers, cameras, jewelry, hand guns.
- Empty stereo and television boxes in the garbage area are a strong temptation to "inquire within."
- Hide your valuables or keep them under lock and key.
- Engrave your valuables with "FL" and your driver's license number. Marked property is difficult to fence and easier to recover.
10. Gone In 60 Seconds
- Research by the National Crime Prevention Institute shows that burglars generally will work no longer than 60 seconds to obtain entry.