Billions of dollars worth of property is stolen in Canada each year. Although burglaries have been declining in numbers since 2003, Canada ranked 5th lowest in a group of 17 peer countries when measuring burglaries in 2010. When crime rates are high and burglaries are common, it affects the community as a whole. A sense of personal security is essential to a high quality of life. Knowing how burglars work can help you make smart choices when protecting your home.
Casing Habits and Criminal Class
Burglaries happen every day, and career criminals make a living from violating the homes and rights of law-abiding citizens. There are three classes of burglars, but most residents only have to worry about two. Professional burglars, like the ones that grace the silver screen, couldn't be bothered with the average person's home or belongings. It is the amateur-opportunist and semi-professional burglars that are likely to target your home. An amateur burglar may only case a target for a few hours if at all, where a semi-professional may spend a week or more scouting out a home.
Open Doors and Windows of Opportunity
Regardless of the time that is spent premeditating a burglary, a criminal is only in the home for a few short minutes. Although we would like to think break and enters are played out like in Mission Impossible, burglars almost always gain entrance to a home through doors and windows. A burglar will often commit crimes during the day, and will usually walk right up to your front door. Be wary of random visitors with sorted stories that show up at your home. It could be someone looking to make you their next target.
Make sure a spare key is not easily discoverable, and that your windows are locked properly when you're away from the home. After a burglar confirms a house is vacant, they will head around the back of the house and look to enter through back doors and windows. Make sure to keep bushes and shrubs trimmed back from the windows of your home to minimize the ways a criminal could discreetly make their way into your home.
Going Through the Garage to the Goods
Garage doors are another popular way that burglars enter homes. These doors are commonly reported as the point of access in robberies. Do not leave your garage door opener in a car that is parked on the street or in your driveway. These openers can be easily stolen, and then used to break into a home. Always make sure that your garage door is closed and locked. Too often, victims leave garage doors slightly ajar for ventilation, or leave them unlocked entirely. Beyond the garage door itself, always make sure you keep the door linking the garage with the rest of the home locked and secure.
Home security is something that every British Columbian should be aware of and concerned about. Even with the latest security efforts, having your belongings documented and insured is important. Beyond the many precautions residents can take to deter criminals, a monitored home security system is the best way to know your house is protected and monitored when you are away. Making sure your home is safe is an important step in feeling secure and living well.