“March on Crime ” looks at burglary prevention

Could you break into your own home? If the answer is yes, then so can a burglar. With a small investment of time and money you can make your home more secure and reduce the chance of becoming a victim of burglary, assault or vandalism.

•Check the locks: Make sure every external door has a deadbolt lock. Secure sliding glass doors with a lock, broomstick or wooden dowel. Homeowners can also drill a hole in the sliding door frame and insert a pin in the hole to prevent the door from being opened from the outside. Don’t hide keys in mailboxes, planters or under doormats. If you move into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.

•Check the doors: Make sure all external doors are solid wood or metal. Doors should fit tightly in their frame, with hinge pins on the inside. Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors, so you can see anyone outside your doors.

•Check the outside: Prune backyard shrubbery that hides doors and windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb into windows. Install lights for porches, entrances and front and back yards. Store ladders and tools that can be used to break into your house inside your locked garage or storage area. Call the proper authorities to report broken streetlights, abandoned cars, vacant buildings and graffiti.

•Check the inside: Put lights and radios on timers to create the illusion that someone is always at home. Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions. Stop newspaper home delivery when you are on vacation and have a neighbor pick up mail and park their car in your driveway. Take time to update a home inventory listing your valuables. Engrave your Texas drivers license number on all your valuables to help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier.

•Check Alarms: Before you invest in alarm systems, check with several companies to determine the level of security you desire. If you already have one, make sure the city permit is current.

•Don’t check out opened doors: If you arrive home and find your doors or windows are open, do not go in. The burglar could still be in the house. Go to a neighbor’s house and call the police.

•Have an officer conduct a “Home Security Survey”: Your homeowner’s insurance premium could be reduced as much as 15 – 20 percent when an officer inspects your home and completes the corresponding forms.
This service is free of charge and all you need to do is make an appointment.

For more information about the “March on Crime” campaign, or to make an appointment for a “Home Security Survey”, contact the Houston Police Department Community Services Division at 713-308-3200.