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Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry into a home or other structure, such as a shed or garage, for the purpose of committing a theft. Burglaries account for approximately one in five property crimes each year, and cost victims an estimated $3.9 billion.

Three in four burglaries occur at residential homes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lists burglary as the most common threat to homes south of the border—one occurs every 13 seconds. In Canada, the rate is 59 per 100,000—or about 21,000 burglaries each year. This e-newsletter offers several proactive measures, some which can be taken now, to keep your community members safe.

  • Lock the front door: About one in three burglars get in through an unlocked door. Whether the door was simply left unlocked, or a “hidden” spare key was found, the front door is one of the most common points of entry. Don’t create a welcome entrance for a thief. Ensure all of your home’s outside doors, doors to sheds and garage doors are locked—without a key in sight—even if you’re only going to be gone for a short period of time. Door hinges should be on the inside, and exterior doors should be solid-core or metal and equipped with a deadbolt.
  • Secure your windows: First floor windows welcome approximately 23 percent of burglars. Windows should be latched with strong locks. Close and lock them when you’re away or sleeping. A secondary locking device or wooden dowel should be used as reinforcement with horizontal sliding windows and doors.
  • Landscape strategically: Be sure landscaping and shrubs are trimmed so thieves can’t hide behind them. Shrubs with sharp leaves and thorns can also be a deterrent. Be aware of potential ways to access second story windows, too. Trees, picnic tables and trellises can double as ladders for the stealthiest of thieves.
  • Let there be light: Indoor lighting shows activity in the home—a good deterrent. Timers on lights and televisions can make a home appear occupied (even when it’s not). Adequate exterior lighting and motion-sensor lights make it difficult for burglars to hide, too.
  • Be alert: Perhaps most important tip is: if you see something, say something. Get to know your neighbours, look out for each other’s homes and report suspicious activity to law enforcement. You may even want to consider a neighbourhood watch. Promote participation by distributing logo’d mouse pads, Whistle Key Lights and pens.

We hope these tips have been helpful and that you will share them with your community. Distribute Post-it® Notes and magnets imprinted with these and other burglary prevention tips to help everyone make their home a little safer.

FBI. FBI, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. Retrieved 31 Mar. 2016.

“Security Statistics.” SafeguardtheWorld.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 31 Mar. 2016.

“Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2014.” Statistics Canada. N.d. Web. Retrieved 22 April 2016.

“The Most Common Ways Burglars Enter the Home.” Crime Prevention Blog. N.p., 19 May 2014. Web. Retrieved 31 Mar. 2016.

“Crime Prevention Tips—Burglary” San Jose Police. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 31 Mar. 2016.

Rodriguez, Natalie. “How to Stop Break-Ins.” This Old House. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 31 Mar. 2016.

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