As a new resident of Pasadena, I am disheartened to be the recent victim of a home burglary attempt. Fortunately for me, my best home defense was my Border Collie Ryder, who not only alerted me to the would be thief’s presence but also scared him away, leaving only minimal damage in his wake. Although I should know better, I have a false sense of security and find it nearly impossible to believe that I will be the victim of a crime, especially in my own sanctuary. Ridiculous, I know, especially as the statistics say otherwise. Daunting as it was to have to call the Pasadena police to my home, I actually learned a lot from the kind officers whose job it was to take the report and collect the evidence. I decided to write a blog that would serve either as an instructional or a refresher, or both.
According to the FBI, in 2013 (the latest year statistics are available), there were an estimated 1,928,465 burglaries in the U.S. Convicted burglars frequently say their top deterrents are alarm systems, motion detectors, dead bolts, and dogs. Your biggest home defense expense is an alarm system but for the most part, little expense is required to have a theft resistant house. Look objectively at your home and think like a burglar. Are there shrubs to hide behind, trees to climb or ladders left out that can be used to access a second story, pet doors…..?
You should have heavy duty deadbolts on all exterior doors. Don’t overlook installing a deadbolt on the garage door leading into your house, a frequent point of intruder access. Motion detectors are a must, with strong floodlights that will not only deter, but attract attention when tripped. I have to admit I had been procrastinating installing detectors but it was the first thing I did the day after my attempted break-in. Such an easy thing to have taken care of before they were needed.
If a home alarm system is not in your budget, a simple discouragement is to put visible alarm company stickers in your windows and/or signs in front of your home. If a burglar even thinks you may have a system, he will likely look elsewhere.
Neighbors. I am really lucky because I have great neighbors. We will text, call, or email each other to bring in packages and take out/bring in trash cans when on vacation. Someone told me they have a neighbor park a car in their driveway if they are going to be away and taking their own car. Leave a key with your neighbor, NOT hidden in a flowerpot or under a doormat. And never let your mail or newspapers pile up. Either stop your service or utilize those friendly neighbors.
The police who responded to my house also suggested hanging a bell on on the inside of gates leading to the backyard to sound an alarm if someone tries to open them. Good suggestion, especially since my bedroom window is next to my side gate. Already hung them up. They also suggested putting locks on your utility boxes. Thieves have been known to cut power to homes they want to burgle.
And last, but not least, get a dog. Luckily, and somewhat surprisingly, my dog woke me up and led me to the front door where he proved to be pretty convincing. He convinced me and certainly convinced our uninvited guest!! I always knew he was special!
Becky Robertson is a Real Estate agent who is passionate about the character-filled homes that flood the San Gabriel Valley. She is an avid outdoorswoman who can frequently be found running and hiking the numerous trails Pasadena and the surrounding areas have to offer. Follow her blogs as she details her experiences exploring the various canyons as well as showcasing local businesses that cater to healthy lifestyles.