We all know someone who has experienced a home robbery — maybe you’ve had the misfortune of experiencing a break-in yourself? Not only is it frustrating to deal with the aftermath of a home invasion — the damage to your house, the loss of property — but this type of crime can leave you and your family feeling vulnerable and afraid.

In 2013, police recorded more than 156,000 break-ins in Canada.  Residential burglaries are one the most common type of property crime and are usually committed by amateur thieves without the use of high tech tools. Most break-ins occur during daylight hours and in the summer months, when doors and windows may be left open or people are away for extended periods.

IMG_1628While statistics show that break-ins and robberies are decreasing across the country, you still want to take care to ensure the safety of your home and family. So, other than surrounding your house with an electrified wire fence, what can you do to make your property less of a target to thieves and intruders?

Try some or all of the following deterrents:

Check your curb appeal.
Take a look at your landscaping. Are your plants or outdoor furniture providing places where a would-be thief can hide? Are there heavy objects within easy reach that could be used to break a window or door?

Keep your yard tidy — never leave expensive items such as bicycles, sports gear or power tools in plain view. Make sure that packaging and boxes from expensive purchases are deposited in the trash or recycling cans and not visible to potential thieves. Mowing your lawn regularly avoids the impression that your house is vacant.

Prune shrubs and plants so they don’t obscure your doors or windows. Make sure that tree branches are trimmed back so thieves cannot use them to climb to an upper-level window.

Thieves and intruders tend to stay away from well lit places. Install motion sensor lighting in your yard and have your doorways brightly lit to deter criminals.

Do not hide your spare key anywhere on your property. Leave one with a neighbour you trust. Make sure that valuables inside your house cannot be seen from the outside.

Make it difficult to break-in to your house.
Get to know your neighbours.  Arrange to have them keep an eye on your home when you are at work or away. Return the favour. Think about starting a neighbourhood Block Watch program. Statistics show that areas with attentive, organized residents have fewer burglaries and break-ins.

Install a monitored alarm system, especially if you live in a high-risk or isolated area. Avoid displaying a specific alarm company decal or sign; instead use a generic alarm sticker. Any information about the brand of security system you have may allow a thief to disable your alarm. You may even consider purchasing a home security system that can be accessed and monitored through your smart phone.

Always lock your doors and windows when you leave your house, even if you will only be away for a short time. Never leave the garage door open.

burglar-SmWindows and doors are typically the most vulnerable parts of your home. Consider replacing them with stronger, more secure products. For example, our windows and doors are equipped with a robust, multi-point locking system, and our tough, impact resistant uPVC profiles are steel reinforced and firmly resist intruder attempts.  Click on the photo of the burglar to watch our break-in test video.

Going on a summer trip? Follow these tips for a worry-free vacation:

Refrain from publishing your vacation plans on your social media plaforms. Wait until you return home to post all those photos on your Facebook page!

Arrange to suspend your mail and newspaper deliveries for the duration of your holiday.

Tell a trusted neighbour that you will be away, ask them to keep an eye on your property and to pick up any flyers or other deliveries that may arrive while you are gone.

Install a timer inside your home to turn lights on and off automatically, maintaining your normal lighting patterns. Leave your blinds closed to give the impression that you are at home.

Arm your security system and notify your alarm company that you will be away.

Double check that all your windows and doors are locked before you leave.

Chances are you will not be a victim of home robbery, but being aware and following the advice above will give you peace of mind knowing that your family, home and belongings are better protected.

What to do if you are burglarized.

If you are inside your home and you suspect someone has broken in – do not try to investigate on your own — instead find a secure hiding place, or try to find a safe way to leave your house. If possible, call 911. Do not yell out that you have called the police – this may cause the intruder to panic and it will also give away your hiding spot.

Never enter your house if you suspect a robbery is taking place. Do not confront the thieves or attempt to stop or detain them. Leave your premises immediately, go to a safe location and call the police.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the robbery. Call your sales consultant to arrange to replace your damaged windows and/or doors if necessary.

Want more home security tips? Vancouver Police Department has this advice.

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