Tony DeMarco, a retired Chicago police officer with the Burglary Prevention Council, explained to the CBS News The Early Show how to protect your home.
While the crime rate in the U.S. is down, there are still more than 2.4 million burglaries in this country a year, according to DeMarco. That's about one every 11 seconds. Sixty-five percent of burglaries are forcible entries, according to one estimate.
To show the prevalence of theft, DeMarco scoped out a typical suburban home in New York. He found one window to use for entry into the house, and a barbecue and brick barrier with a tree for cover.
Once inside, he hits paydirt. "We've been in here a very short time, mayble eight to 10 minutes. And we've got about $20,000 in property already," DeMarco boasts.
Here are DeMarco's tips:
- Adopt the mindset that even your home could be a target and strive to always protect it.
- Protect your VCR and other electronics by engraving identification, such as a driver's license number, but not your Social Security number. If they're recovered, a police department can locate you from your driver's license number and the state.
- Keep a current list of household valuables for reference in case you're robbed. Keep a videotape of the items, including jewelry. Keep your list in a safety deposit box out of the house.
- Keep your doors and windows locked.
- Create the illusion that you're home; use automatic timers and wireless remotes.
- Network with your neighbors. Arrange for them to check your house, pick up your mail and call the police if needed.
- Install solid doors, not ones with hollow cores. Make sure the entry is well lit.
- Use a dead bolt lock with a steel part that attaches to the frame (not a plastic one) and with 3-inch screws, not 2-inch ones. Try more than one lock.
- Install additional window locks (besides the clip on the top). Also attach a wireless window alarm or sensor; the related decals can also serve to deter theft.