Burglary is a major problem in the United States that is
growing every day. One burglary occurs every 10 seconds in the United States.
Not only does a burglar take your possessions, he will also put the safety
of you and your family in jeopardy.
Burglaries many times do not involve violence. However, if
you happen to come home during a burglary or wake up and surprise a burglar,
the situation can become deadly very quickly.
Fortunately for us, burglary is a crime that, in most situations,
can be prevented. By eliminating the opportunity, you can protect your home
Crime of Opportunity
Most burglaries are classified by law enforcement agencies
as "crimes of opportunity." The criminal sees a home that is vulnerable
to burglary and he takes the "opportunity" to break in. Through
basic prevention techniques, the average citizen can make their home much
less appealing to the criminal.
- The burglars victim of choice is the home owner or apartment dweller
that is not home.
- Some things you can do to make your home less attractive to a burglar:
- Keep lights and radios on timers. Noise inside the home is an effective
- Maintain good lines of sight from the street to your home. If you cannot
see your windows and doors from the street, then neither can the police;
- Use quality locks and doors. Make sure that they are installed properly;
- Keep your property well lit, inside and out;
- Talk to your neighbors about keeping an eye on your home and vice-versa.
This form of "natural surveillance" is invaluable in the prevention
While there is no one method to prevent all home burglaries,
a combined effort through the use of different techniques will reduce the
chances of you being victimized.
DOORS. The entry point of choice for most
burglars. First and foremost, doors should always be closed and locked when
not in use. In more than half of all burglaries that
occur nationwide, the offender enters through an unlocked door or window.
- If the door hinges are on the outside of the door, they can be pulled
out making it possible for the door to be removed. Ensure that outside
hinges are equipped with non-removable hinge pins.
- All exterior doors should be steel clad or made of solid wood core construction.
A deadbolt lock is useless on a hollow or foam core door that can easily
be kicked or pushed in.
- It is a good idea to have a wide angle viewer installed in the door
for easy viewing of visitors. Do not rely on a chain latch. They are easily
broken or opened with a coat hanger.
WINDOWS. Another favored point of entry
for the burglar. Usually burglars do not like to actually break windows because
it makes noise. There are many ways, however, to defeat windows without breaking
- Most windows found in homes are "double hung." This means
that there are two individual frames that are stacked vertically one on
top of the other. The top frame overlaps the bottom frame allowing for
a locking device.
- Most problems with windows are because it is easy to get an object between
the two panes and unlock the window. Fortunately, this problem is easily
- First, drill a small hole in a downward 45 degree angle through both
frames. Then, simply drop a nail into the hole. This is a common practice
known as "pinning" the window.
- In an emergency, the nail can easily be removed. However, you should
make sure that the occupants of the house are aware that the nail is in
The information contained in this brochure is a very brief
introduction to home security. More information can be obtained by contacting
the MUSC Dept. of Public Safety CrimePrevention Office.