1. Get a Dog. These motion activated barking devices are probably the single biggest deterrent to burglaries in our community. Advertise the presence of your dog. Leave a dog bowl and bone on the porch.
2. Get a Burglar Alarm. Purchase a burglar alarm system with some sort of siren or noise-making device. Once a siren goes off, most criminals depart immediately. Having the alarm connected to a monitoring service is a good idea, but it is far more important to just have a system which makes noise. Also consider purchasing a battery back up so that your alarm will function in the event of a loss of power, such as your power meter being torn off of your house by a burglar. You can purchase a cellular phone back up for your alarm system so that by severing your phone wires, the alarm can still call the police. See the Additional Information Section on Burglar Alarms.
3. Use your Burglar Alarm. Always turn your alarm on when you leave your home, even if it is for one minute. When you are in your house for an extended period of time, anything over 30 minutes, turn your alarm to instant on.
4. Advertise your Burglar Alarm. Use signs and stickers to let folks know that you have a burglar alarm in operation. Put a sign in your front yard and stickers on the windows around your house.
5. Always Lock Your House. Even if you are only going to be out for a minute.
6. Keep your House Well lit.
a. Keep your porch light on. Criminals don’t like light. The brighter your home is, the less likely a criminal is to come calling.
b. Use Motion-Activated Lights. Purchase motion activated lights and place them in front of and on the sides of your home. Make it as challenging as possible to approach your house without tripping the lights.
c. Make Sure That All Required Street Lights Are Installed. The City of Atlanta installs street lights every 500′.
d. Report any non-operating Street Lights. Phone 888-891-0938 (pick option No. 3) or go to the following URL: https://customerser vice.southerncom pany.com/ residential/ outage_st. asp?mnuOpco=gpc&mnuType= res&mnuItem= ma
e. Install Additional Street Lighting. If you really want to light your place up, call Georgia Power and ask them to install a street light in front of your house. It only costs a $10 or $20 a month and can make a huge difference, particularly if you live on the end of a street. The number for this is (770) 322-5713.
7. Never leave anything in your car. Ever. Value has nothing to do with it. If it is raining outside and then your umbrella in the car has value to a criminal.
8. Park your car in your driveway near your house. Cars parked away from the street are less likely to be broken in to.
9. Don’t Advertise Your Possessions. Keep any windows which are visible from the street/sidewalk obscured to the extent that people cannot look inside and see your nice TV or stereo. Don’t throw away anything that would entice a burglar, take it to a dumpster or some other location.
10. Get to Know Your Neighbors. One of the best defense mechanisms is your community. If your neighbors know when you come and go, they can tell if something strange is happening. Ask your neighbors to call 911 if they see anything unusual at your house.
11. Don’t Hide Keys Outside. Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys. Leave your keys with your neighbors.
12. Secure Items Outside of House. Don’t leave anything lying around your yard or your porch that is easily removed. Keep your shed locked. Keep tools inside your locked shed. If you have a grill or lawn mover in an unlocked area, chain it with a lock to something immovable. Anything you secure outside your house is much safer if it is not visible from the street. Please see the additional information on Padlocks and Chains.
13. Remove Cover. Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce places where burglars can approach your house without being seen. Utilize the 3-foot/6-foot rule. Trim tree branches up to 6 feet off the ground and trim your shrubs down to 3 feet. This creates a “window effect” into your yard and minimizes hiding places for burglars.
14. Secure the windows in your house. Install some type of additional locking mechanism on all ground-floor windows. See the additional information regarding the type of window locking mechanism you should consider.
15. Secure the Doors in Your House. Get solid core or steel exterior doors with reinforced strike plates, and deadbolt locks. Make sure that they are all properly installed. See the additional information regarding the type of door and lock you should consider.
16. Don’t open your door unless you know the person on the other side. Require identification otherwise. Have a peephole in your door.
17. If you see anything suspicious, call 911. We were all raised to think of 911 as the life or death number, but here in Atlanta, it is the way the police get sent out on all calls. If the police are busy with a higher priority call, they will deal with that first. If there is nothing to worry about, then nothing is lost as the police will just move on.
18. If you have concerns which are not immediate, call Zone Four. Call Zone Four at 404- 756-1903 and ask to speak to the Unit Commander, Major Perdue or email him at email@example.com. You can meet him in person or convey your information to him another way, but let him know your concerns and they will be addressed. If you can’t reach Major Perdue ask for Lt. Cox.
19. Report All Crimes. In the City, police resources are allocated based on need and one of the best indicators of need is reported crimes. Therefore, no theft is too small to report, even if it is a rake or plant from your front yard.
20. Get to Know your Beat Officer. If you want to meet your beat officer, call Zone Four at 404- 756-1903 and ask to speak to the Unit Commander, Major Perdue or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
21. When your home is going to be vacant overnight, tell the police via a Directed Patrol Request Form. This way your beat officer will know who, if anyone, should be at your house.
22. Inventory of Possessions. Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
According to a study by the California Crime Technological Research Foundation, the most common techniques used by burglars to enter single-family homes are (from most often used to least often used):
32.00% Through unlocked window or door
26.64% Forced entry by impacts
24.02% Prying or jimmying
6.79% Use of pass key or picking the lock
5.10% Entry attempted, but failed
5.45% Other or unknown
According to the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), homes without alarms are three times more likely to be burglarized.