Burglaries are not only one of the most common crimes, but they are also one of the most preventable. Burglars will not target a home if they believe someone is there. That is why burglars prey upon residences that look unoccupied.
Below is a checklist of actions to take to secure your home:
- Do exterior lights illuminate all entrances to your home?
- Is shrubbery kept trimmed so a burglar can't hide near windows and doors?
- Are garage doors kept closed and locked at all times?
- Are exterior doors made of solid core construction (including door leading from garage to house)?
- Is there a peephole viewer on the front door?
- Are sliding glass doors secured with auxiliary locks or pinned, and are screws in the track to prevent removal of doors?
- Are exterior doors secured with a deadbolt lock (single or double cylinder) with a minimum 1-inch throw
- Are windows secured with auxiliary keyed locks or pinned with a nail?
- Do you report suspicious persons or activity in the neighborhood to the police immediately?
- Are doors locked at all times?
- Are your valuables marked with your Florida driver's license number and do you have a record of them with complete serial number, make and model?
If you are able to answer yes to all of the above precautions, you have greatly decreased the likelihood of your home being burglarized.
Additionally, check to see who is at the front door before opening it to strangers, and require identification from all repair and delivery personnel. If in doubt, check the authenticity of the identification by calling the company before letting the person into your home. Check ID through the peephole viewer. A wide-angle viewer is easy to install and inexpensive.
For a free home security survey, contact the Neighborhood Resource Officer at your local Miami-Dade Police Department district station.
Alarm Purchasing Guidelines
When shopping for a burglary alarm system, use this guideline to check out the system you are considering as well as the dealer:
- Is the company a local business? If so, how long have they been in business in your area?
- Is the company a member of any local business organization?
- Check with the local Consumer Affairs Office or Better Business Bureau to see is there are any problems with this company.
- What is the alarm background of the company's installation personnel?
- Does the company offer 24-hour service in case of false alarms?
- Will the company work with you in getting reduced insurance premiums if you install one of their systems?
- Is there a warranty or maintenance contract for the system?
- Is the system electrically or battery operated? If electrically operated, does it switch automatically to battery power without activating the alarm in the event of a power failure?
- If the alarm system is activated, will it automatically shut off after a reasonable alert period (10 - 15 minutes)?
- After the system is activated, will it automatically reset if attacked again?
- If the control switch or box is exposed, will it activate the alert if attacked?
- If it is a hardwire system (wires connecting to sensor to control to alert), are the wire protected from attack and unnecessary wear by the elements?
- It is a local system (audible to the immediate area), does it ring loud enough to attract the attention of your neighbors?
- If the system is for commercial premise, will the company have someone respond to the location in order to assist the police by opening the building?
- Does the system have time delay, if appropriate, to activate and deactivate the alarm system without setting off the alert?
- If the system is monitored by a central station, it is a tape recording or person? (In some municipalities, the call for assistance to the police cannot be made by a taped message.)
- Is the system Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (U.L.) approved?