SPECIAL REPORT: How to protect your home from burglars - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

SPECIAL REPORT: How to protect your home from burglars

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Toledo Burglary Numbers for 2011-2013. Information provided by: Toledo Police Department. Toledo Burglary Numbers for 2011-2013. Information provided by: Toledo Police Department.
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(Toledo News Now) -

According to the US Department of Justice, American homes are victims of burglary every 15 seconds. 

But a few simple steps could make all the difference.  

Ashley James teams up Toledo Police Sgt. Joe Heffernan and Officer Dana Slay to take a look at what's putting you in danger and what you can change to keep you and your family safe.

First, pay attention to lighting.  

Police say this is one of the best ways to scare off a burglar.  Sgt. Heffernan says, "Motion lights are an excellent deterrent. If someone comes in and the light goes on generally that person is going to take off."

He goes on to say, "The other thing you can do if you have a bad enough problem is surveillance cameras.  Some of these surveillance cameras you can get pretty cheap now.  You can mount cameras on the outside of your house and record to a DVD inside of your house."

If money is tight, there are surveillance cameras for under $100.00 at Wal-Mart.

Second, install deadbolts.  

This makes it harder for a burglar to push or kick their way into your home.

Officer Slay says how the deadbolt is installed is important, "If you don't have the longer screw and all you have is a little short screw and all you have is a short throw when they kick that's going to give because there is nothing holding it."

Are you looking for another good deal that won't break the bank? 

Experts say the Kwikset has a lot of good features that you can find in a more expensive deadbolt including a side locking bar, racks, and pins for increased strength and security. Best of all, you can get it for about 36 dollars.

Third, work with your neighbors and look out for one another, especially when one of you is heading out of town.  

Officer Slay say a relationship with neighbors is key, "If you have a relationship with your neighbor a trusted neighbor, let them know when you're not going to be home, let them know when you are going on vacation… block watch is everybody's business."

Have your neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper so it doesn't pile up, making your home look empty. Look out for each other especially neighbors who need more help like the elderly.

Police say this is one of the best ways to keep your home and community safe and of course, it's free!

Some other burglary prevention tips from Toledo Police:

1. Keep boxes of big ticket items out of view when you put your trash out. Don't let a criminal see the expensive items you just bought.

2. Don't keep loose materials in your yard like extra bricks or concrete. These can easily be used to smash a window.

3. Plant sticker bushes underneath windows, like a rose bush and keep shrubs trimmed.

4. Keep your keys on your nightstand.  This way if you hear someone outside you can sound the car alarm.

5. Make sure windows have curtains and shades, even garage windows.

6. Alarm systems are always great to have and utilize the sign for your front yard.

7. Don't have loose wires around the outside of your home.

8. Keep your garage door opener hidden. Don't leave it on your visor if you park your car outside of your home.

9. Make your home look occupied. Use automatic timers on lamps.

10. Don't make posts on social networking sites that inform others when you will not be home.

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Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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