Expert advice on preventing a burglary

Many, many years ago my home was burglarized.  I was home at the time, asleep in my bed.  The burglar came in through my unlocked back door, took my purse and a camera, film and nothing else.  This happened on the night before I was to leave for a 2 month trip through Europe with my daughter, 9 months after my husband’s death.  We were all packed, ready to go and had returned home from a bon voyage party.   Fortunately my passport and money was with me in the bedroom.  The purse contained just a few dollars, but the camera belonged to my mother-in-law and I was planning to use it on the trip.

I called the police, then my mother, who was going to stay in my house while I was gone and then went out to replace the camera and film.  The police said it was probably a teenager who went from house to house looking for an unlocked door.   I lived in an area that did not have a high crime rate.  In fact, that sort of crime never entered my mind.  I had lived in an unlocked home for my entire life.  The police said they would look for the purse, but it was never found.

From that time on my house is always locked.  I now have dead bolts on both doors.  I don’t feel confined.   I just feel safer.

There was a column in the Daily News recently which had tips on ways to help prevent home robberies.     Most burglars will not spend time trying to get into a house where the residents have taken steps to make it difficult.

Here are some things you should do:

Get a dog with a loud bark and keep him in the house at night and when you are away.

Leave a few lights burning and a radio on at night.

Plant large bushes in front of windows.

Get dead bolts for all your doors.

Get a security system.

Watch for strange cars that slowly pass through the neighborhood and note the description, and a license number if possible.

Pay attention to strangers, especially teenagers, who don’t belong in your neighborhood.

These steps will help keep the average, amateur burglar away from your home, but they are not foolproof.  You may have expensive items that others are aware of and are desirable.   If a professional burglar wants your property there is not much you can do to prevent him getting it, but the advice given here will usually deter the ordinary thief.