Common-Sense Precautions for Home Security

By Porter, Sylvia | THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 14, 1990 | Go to article overview

Common-Sense Precautions for Home Security


Porter, Sylvia, THE JOURNAL RECORD


By Sylvia Porter

How can you make your home secure from burglars?

A prominent electronics industry executive who lives in a wealthy Connecticut suburb has installed the most sophisticated anti-burglar devices in and around his home. Still, he says, ``Your best security is to live on a dead-end road and to own a dog.''

Some 600 convicted armed robbers serving time in an Ohio prison, says Consumer Reports magazine, were asked what one thing they would use to protect their own home. Most answered, ``a dog.'' And the most effective protection against burglary, they said, is a monitored burglar alarm.

The fact may be there's nothing you can do to stop a skilled burglar, but you can deter him with some common-sense precautions and your choice of alarm systems. Most police believe alarms deter burglary attempts and increase the probability of a burglar being apprehended.

As crime continues at a high rate both in urban and rural areas, Americans in 1989 spent $3.5 billion for residential security. The Security Industry Association is projecting at least 20 percent growth in 1990. Although only about 7 percent of American homes are protected with a security system, annual expenditures far exceed total residential losses, an indication of the degree to which families feel they are at risk.

The ``common-sense precautions'' by now should be well known. Police departments recommend that you upgrade locks, trim shrubbery so intruders cannot hide and engrave household valuables with an identification number. Whenever you leave the house, be sure all doors and windows are closed and locked. One in five of all burglaries occurs without forced entry.

If you're going on vacation, stop newspaper and other deliveries, use timers to turn on lights at irregular intervals and have your lawn mowed.

Alarm devices are available in most hardware stores and from electronic dealers. One from Radio Shack, suitable for a small apartment, costs $100 and requires no installation. The more elaborate systems call for professional help.

``No such thing as a completely burglar-proof alarm system exists,'' claims the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Yet, a system in which you have confidence can give you peace of mind, and just the signs announcing its presence may deter most intruders.

``You need to be especially careful in deciding on the type of alarm system to use and who will install it,'' says the Better Business Bureaus. …

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