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Home & Business Burglary Prevention Tips

The most important thing you can do to prevent a burglary is to call the police and report a crime or any suspicious activity.  For example, a person may be going door to door posing as a solicitor or asking to do odd jobs around your residence or business.  This individual may be casing the area for future burglaries.  The police will stop and identify the individual and record their information in the department's database. You have to be the eyes of your neighborhood and remember you can always remain anonymous.

Did You Know...? Commercial Burglary Prevention Tips Business Watch

You can improve the appearance of your community by reporting code violations such as inoperative vehicles, abandoned properties, overgrown lots, and illegal dumping to Code Enforcement at (813) 274-5545.

The burglary basics:

  • Make your home look occupied and make it difficult to break in.  Refer to the Tampa Police Department's home burglary key elements for more advice.

  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed.  Even if it is for a short period of time, lock your doors and windows.

  • Leave lights on when you go out.  If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps with automatic timers to turn on in the evening and off during the day.  Also, notify your Neighborhood Affairs Liaison and complete a Vacation Watch Form for your residence or business to be checked by officers during your absence.

  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.

  • Secure vacant rental or foreclosure properties from air conditioning and copper thefts by using a padlock and chain security device or by caging in the unit so thieves cannot reach the valuable metal.

  • Do not allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers, or flyers build up while you are away.  Arrange with the United States Postal Service to hold your mail or arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick them up regularly.

  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed by a trusted individual while you are gone for an extended period of time.

  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them if necessary.

  • Push button locks on doorknobs to exterior doors are easy for burglars to open.  Replace them with deadbolt locks.

  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable.  Special locks are available for better security.  Check with your local home improvement store for assistance.

  • Windows may need better locks.  Check with a locksmith or a hardware store for alternative options.

Don't tempt a thief:
  • Open Car Garage With A Bicycle Visible From The DrivewayLawn mowers, barbecues, and bicycles are best stored out of sight.
  • Always lock your garden sheds and garages.
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as "Gone Shopping."
Locks...get the best:
  • Burglar Smashing A Window DoorNo lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective.  Key-in deadbolt locks provide minimum security.  Ask a locksmith for advice about your situation.
  • Change Locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • When moving into a new residence or business, have all the locks changed.
Targeting the outside:
  • Overgrown Yard Hiding A ResidenceMake sure the street numbers to your residence or business are visible from the street.  Make sure your business name is clearly displayed.  Also, identify your business name and numeric on the rear.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting.  A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Install security lighting around a business.  Make sure the property is well lit to reduce burglary or vandalism.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders or robbers.
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside of your residence or business.
  • If you have fencing surrounding your residence or business, make sure the gates are in good condition and keep them locked at all times.
  • Make sure there is adequate protection against entry via the roof.
  • Pinned WindowMost windows can be pinned for security.  Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame.  Then place a nail in the hole to secure the window.
  • Also, windows can be secured with sliding window locks.
  • Do not cover your business windows with advertisements, flyers, displays, signs, posters, or other items to obstruct the view of the register.

Sliding Window Locks

  • Alarm SystemAn alarm system is an excellent tool for home or business security.  It provides peace of mind to homeowners and business owners, especially while you are away on vacation or closed for the evening.  There are a wide variety of alarm systems on the market.
  • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you.
  • Once an alarm system is installed, check the system on a regular basis.
If Your Home Or Business Is Broken Into:
  • Do not enter the building just in case the intruder is still inside your home or business.
  • Use a neighbor's phone or cellular to notify the police.
  • Do not touch or clean up anything until the police have inspected the area for evidence that can lead to the apprehension of the intruder.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles in the area. 
  • Note the physical descriptions of any suspicious person(s) in the area.
  • If you have a cellular phone that is equipped with a camera, photograph any suspicious vehicles with the license place numbers or person(s) you see while you wait for police.
Other Precautions You Should Take:
  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes, or other "secret" hiding places since burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Make sure your telephones are pre-programmed with emergency contact numbers.
  • If you have a safe, make sure it is securely anchored.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your belongings through a Operation Inventory Form.  This form will help you record your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase, original value, make, model, and serial numbers.  Keep a copy in a safe place away from home since this a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters.  Make a photographic or video recording of valuable objects, heirlooms, and antiques.  Your insurance company can also provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
  • Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.  Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) strategies work.  When used properly, it will deter a thief away from your property.  A rule of thumb is no bush should be higher than 2 feet tall and no tree branches should hang down lower than 6 feet.
  • Be a good neighbor.  If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Mark your valuables with your driver's license number an engraver.  Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
  • Form a Neighborhood Watch Group.  We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.
  • Consider installing a burglar alarm system.
Home Security Survey:

Your home contains material belongings and sentimental items that are very valuable to you and may have taken years to attain.  Burglars do not care about your belongings.  They only care about making a quick buck by either trading stolen goods or pawning them.  You can learn strategies from our Crime Prevention Teams that will undoubtedly "increase" your layers of protection.  Although, a determined burglar will accomplish a burglary if they really want to.  There are ways you can deter the crime of home burglary with some measures that are quite simple as listed above.  You may also contact your Neighborhood Affairs Liaison to learn more and perhaps schedule a FREE Home Security Survey.

Remember the three L's of Crime Prevention:  LIGHTS, LOCKS, & the LAW!  LIGHT up your residence, LOCK your doors at all times, and call the LAW when you see anything suspicious.