Burglary is a relatively common crime, often easier to perpetrate than you might think.
The FBI reported nearly 53,000 burglaries in Arizona in 2012. That's an average of about 145 incidents every day of the year.
Although nobody is physically hurt, victims of burglars are left not only with a variety of financial repercussions but also the feeling that they have been violated.
Your home is supposed to be a bastion of safety. Knowing that somebody has been in your safe space and helped himself or herself to your possessions can be psychologically damaging.
What's worse is the reality that your own actions -- or lack thereof -- might have made your home an ideal target.
"But what about my home security system?" you ask, and it's a good question.
A camera at your front door usually signals that you have a home security system in place, watching and recording everything that moves outside and inside of your home. These days, however, that might not be enough to stop thieves from targeting your home.
Burglary is often a crime of opportunity, an easy score.
Sgt. John Howard of the Phoenix Police Department says it's often basic precautions, the ones that fall through the cracks in the hustle and bustle of daily life, that can best deter would-be burglars.
"Some of the things are simple," Howard said. "We just don't think about it in our day-to-day routines."
Howard ran down some of those "simple" precautions for us.
Going on vacation? Don't advertise it.
"Everybody has their own suitcase, and they are bringing it out one by one," he said. "The tip would be [to] get all of your suitcases together inside of your house. Make one trip to your car; secure your trunk. Limit the amount of times someone could just be walking around and just notice it."
Expecting a package?
Remove packages from the outside of your home as soon as you can. If you are away from your home for more than a day or two, tell your post office to hold your mail.
Don't let your mail pile up. That's an obvious sign that you're not there.
Do you leave the lights on or off all the time? Don't.
"You don't leave them on because just like the lights being off, lights being on can be a big clue because nobody leaves their lights on 24 hours a day," Howard said. "Set them up on timers. Also, set a radio up on a timer so if anybody walks up, they will hear some talking or something that would indicate someone may be home."
- Never leave your windows and doors open. That goes for cars, too.
- Be sure not only to close windows and doors but lock them, too.
- Keep curtains or shades closed when you're not home. You don't want to show potential burglars what you have.
- Consider motion-activated lighting outside.
- Invest in some low-tech security. Your local hardware store will have some inexpensive items to add more layers of security to your locks. Every little bit helps. Make sure you have deadbolts on all of your doors and consider a door reinforcement device or hinges and jamb shields.
The bottom line is you want to make your home an unappealing as possible to thieves.
"They are looking for an easy target," Howard said. "They are not looking for a challenge, so anything you can do to scurry them along is going help you out."BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS