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prevent home invasion

burglerWhile nothing short of being homeless will completely turn the trick, some commonsense steps can reduce the likelihood your home will be invaded by common thieves.

1. Be a good neighbor
I don’t think there is any factor more important than this one. It is significant for robberies, burglaries, and crucial in natural and man-made disasters. Know your neighbors. Accept them for who they are. Like their likeable parts. Learn their names and have some time to just listen to them.

I’d say start a neighborhood watch or posse, but having more than a little experience here, I know you will have to be amazingly lucky to get anything like that going. Do what you can to help your neighborhood be ready for “power failure”, “tornado” or whatever disruption may seem particularly likely to average people. Encourage them if they want to talk about threats to your mutual security.

Best of all, having good neighbors means you watch out for each other. You have to be one to get one.

2. Lock all of your doors and windows.
While obvious, many of us are quite cavalier about it, feeling comfortable in our neighborhood and with the neighbors. Unlocked doors and windows are the point of entry in over half of the burglaries and robberies. Don’t make it quite so easy.

3. Use strong door and window locks.
Look at your doors and windows with unauthorized entry in mind. Deal with the easiest to foil entry point first, then next and next. Get a good locksmith to review your security … or at least a handyman.

4. Light ’em up.
Thieves prefer to enter in the dark. Motion-sensitive lights or high-efficiency low-wattage night lights can encourage them to go elsewhere for a dark place to execute their dark deeds.

5. Keep your windows covered.
Don’t let them know what you have worth stealing or what to expect when they get inside.

6. Get a dog
Okay, I really, really like dogs, but this one comes from many students of home invasion. Nearly any dog will bark when strangers approach their home. This is job 1. For me, bigger is better, but that does get complicated. If you aren’t an experienced ‘dog person’, small-to-medium and easy-going is best, as are adult dogs because growing puppies into good dogs is tricky.

7. Get an alarm system
The closest I came to this was a motion-detector alarm by my dump truck fuel tank and a big honking flashlight by my bed. However, a real alarm system is a powerful deterrent to any thief. One connected to a private security company is potent medicine indeed.

8. Note and report all suspicious activities
This one is on everybody’s list. I include it with trepidation. THINK about what you are seeing. Consider appropriate responses that include calling professional law enforcement, but also discussions with your neighbors and perhaps even just going to talk with your suspect. Put on your big-boy pants and take some responsibility for your own world. Bad guys are quite likely to find that behavior quite unattractive for intended victims. Certainly having descriptions of who, what, when, where and how could easily pay off regardless of what action you decide to take about it.

9. Guard your information
My friends will be laughing when they find this one on my list. I don’t hide much of my life, but this refers more to your banking information. The box that new entertainment center came in shouldn’t be left in the front yard for a week. Your trash shouldn’t contain too much information about you or your purchases. Don’t tell the facebook world your home will be vacant for a week.

10. Think like a home invader
Not often, but every once in a while, stand back and look at your home and life with a squinty-eyed nefarious attitude. What vulnerabilities do you have? Make yourself, your life, your home less attractive to them.