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You Wouldn't Expect this Home Burglary Trend

By Juliette Fairley

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom in the film Bling Ring aren't the only ones experiencing home invasions and burglaries.

The number of burglaries experienced by U.S. households is 3.4 million, according to a report called Household Burglary by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and the median financial loss during completed burglaries is $2,120.

When thieves break into homes, there's a greater chance of them doing so during the day when most people are at work. Also, around 40% of annual household burglaries are not forced entries, meaning someone was able to walk, climb or crawl inside of houses almost as easily as if the owners left a key in the door or under the welcome mat.

"Glass window panes that surround a home's entryway and exterior create an inviting target for thieves," said Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association. "By taking the time now to look at your windows and address them as needed to protect your home and family, you will have more peace of mind this summer."

Since 1994, the largest percentage of completed burglaries consistently involved the theft of personal items, such as clothing, furs, luggage, briefcases, jewelry, watches, appliances and electronics, such as TVs and DVD players.

Today, 25% of homes in the United States have electronic security systems, superior lock technology and a veritable army of private security guards monitoring neighborhoods but for those who don't, the tips below can help homeowners avoid becoming a crime statistic:

  • 1. Safety or tempered glass is a stronger version of ordinary glass. "Windows are critical to a home's design and comfort, and they need to be periodically evaluated to make sure they are both safe and effective," Smith said.
  • 2. Trim shrubs so windows and doors are in full view from the street. Unobstructed doors and windows are a deterrent because the intruder is forced to work in the open where detection is likely more quickly
  • 3. Maintain adequate lighting, especially at vulnerable entry points.
  • 4. Always keep garage doors locked. This prevents burglars from entering your home through the hinged door leading from the attached garage to the house.
  • 5. All exterior doors should be metal clad or solid hardwood. Doors of this type resist forced entry because they are not easily battered or bored.
  • 6. Install window film for added protection. Glass that has window film adhered to it is not always easily identified. "It can delay the length of time it takes for a thief to gain entrance by making it harder to get through the glass," said Smith.
  • 7. Install a 180 degree wide-angle viewer in exterior door to see who is at the door before opening it. These viewers are available from locksmiths and hardware stores.
  • 8. Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for any length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet