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Study: 4 Ways to Deter Thieves from Breaking into Your Home and Garage

10/8/2018

Reminder - Keep Your Garage Door ClosedAs the largest entryway to your home, a garage door presents a huge security issue. Keeping it in good repair is not only important to curb appeal and the safety of your family, but also when it comes to the security of your home. And it turns out that break-ins aren’t random. In fact, most thieves do their homework and case your home for days before breaking inside, according to a study done by the University of North Carolina Charlotte. They interviewed 422 convicted burglars about their methods.

“This study broadens our understanding of burglars, their motivations and their techniques,” said lead researcher Joseph Kuhns from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. “It also helps us to understand gender differences in offending motivations and techniques. By asking the burglars what motivates and what deters them, we believe this research can help people better understand how to protect themselves against these crimes and help law enforcement more effectively respond.”

Here’s what they learned.

Just Having a Home Security System Scares Off Thieves

More than 60% of the thieves interviewed said the presence of a home security system would cause them to choose a different target. A home security system limits how long they have to rob a home. Its simple math. There’s more risk for lower return.

If an alarm does go off, about half of the thieves will automatically abandon the target. So install an alarm and make sure it’s loud enough to make an impression.

Visibility Scares Thieves

Shrubbery, lawn furniture, and other lawn decor may add decoration to the outside of your home, but it also gives burglars places to hide. The riskiest time to get caught is when entering or leaving the home. Anything that blocks the view of windows or doors will give a thief cover. It’s best to keep a decent line of site between your house and the street as well as the neighbors. You may have less privacy, but so will the thieves when they try breaking into your home.

If the entryways to your home don’t give a thief anywhere to hide, they’ll keep moving down the street.

Thieves Look for Escape Routes

The burglary itself is the easy part. The getaway is actually the toughest part of any burglary plan. That’s why it’s advisable to install high fences that thieves would be forced to jump over (hard to do when their hands are full of electronics and valuables). The best fences are tall with slats spaced far enough apart you can see through. This not only makes it harder to escape, but makes the house more visible.

Nosy Neighbors Might Actually Be a Good Thing

Thieves told the researchers that a home’s proximity to neighbors was one of their biggest deterrents. High traffic, neighbors, and how often people walk by act like a security system. If you are away from home a lot during the day, retired neighbors can be their own neighborhood watch program.

“Most of the burglary arrests we make are because of a neighbor who noticed a car or person that they didn’t recognize, and cared enough to watch them and call 911,” Lt. Dave Johnson of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told the Charlotte Observer. “When that happens, we can, most often, get there in time to make the apprehension.”

Sure, the neighbors may be nosy, but they’ll also call the cops if there’s a break in. Get to know them. Hint: retired people love homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.

Garage Door Repair Tips for Regular Maintenance

Want some handy tips on caring for your garage door? One of the most important things to remember is that regular care and upkeep can minimize repair issues, help your door last longer, and make it open and close much more quietly. Every few months, you should go over any moving parts with a garage door lubricant. Don’t use WD40 because it will cause the parts to rust. Take a wrench and tighten down any loose bolts and screws. While you’re at it, inspect any rollers for loose or missing pieces and replace when necessary. Take a look at the springs and cables for any frayed, rusty or breaking pieces. If you notice any damage, always call a professional. Springs can be extremely dangerous and are not a DIY repair.

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