Use these easy and practical tips to prevent break-ins

Summer tends to be synonymous with vacations and yard work, but it can also bring more opportunities for would-be thieves. Sgt. Andrew Weaver, a beat sergeant of 118 Avenue, offers tips to help improve property safety.

First of all, when working in your yard, garage, or garden, lock the door of your shed, garage, or house. Leaving doors open or unlocked means there’s potential for a crime of opportunity.

“If people see a weed whacker in a shed, they could just take it,” Weaver says.

Summer can bring some scorching hot days, so there’s the temptation to leave doors open or only a screen door as a barrier. 

“I get it, you don’t have air conditioning, but think of what you’re giving up.”

Weaver suggests buying a wooden dowel to place in sliding doors or windows as a deterrent. He also advises buying four inch wood screws and swapping them out with the old ones in your doors. 

“They’ll go all the way in the studs, making the door harder to kick in.”

He encourages neighbours to reclaim the alleyways. Community members typically use the streets and avenues, not the alleys.

“People who don’t want to be seen use alleys,” says Weaver. He suggests visiting with your neighbours across the alleyway or even setting up a floor hockey game for youth. Having more neighbours in the alleys would discourage would-be thieves. 

Make sure that locks or other security are especially solid in the back of the house. “Usually break-ins are from the rear of the property,” he says.

If you’re going on a summer vacation, a few signs could announce your absence to anyone scouting the area regularly.

“If there’s a trailer normally there and then it’s gone, it’s an indicator that your property is empty,” says Weaver. Other signs include piled-up mail, an unmowed lawn, a lack of garbage or recycling in the alley or at the curb, or even drawn curtains or blinds.

“They look for signs that you’re not home. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work it out.” Potential thieves patrol the area regularly, looking for absent homeowners or renters. They know what’s normal and abnormal. “A lot of crimes we see are crimes of opportunity,” says Weaver.

The biggest solution Weaver keeps coming back to is knowing your neighbours. 

“You’ll know which ones you’ll feel comfortable sharing so much information with,” he says of announcing when you’re gone. “Be neighbourly all the time. You’ll have more eyes on your house.” And in turn, he explains, you can return the favour.

While you’re gone on vacation, ask your mail carrier to stop delivering mail. Or ask a neighbour, family member, or friend to stop by regularly and place the mail in the house. 

And of course, make sure your locks work properly on doors and windows. Check that any alarm systems are working properly. If you have something particularly valuable in your home, consider giving it to someone you trust until you return.

Essentially, give the appearance of being home and in your normal routine. Set lights and radio on a timer to turn on regularly so it seems like there’s someone at home.

“Leave curtains as you would normally leave them,” he says. “Ask a neighbour to throw some of their garbage next to yours on garbage day.”

 If you’re away for a few weeks, ask someone to mow your lawn so that regular maintenance is being done. And of course, don’t post about your trip on social media until after you’ve returned.

“Use common sense,” he advises.

Featured Image: A lot of home security is using common sense and having good relationships with your neighbours. | Pixabay