Protect home, cars from would-be thieves

Burglary is one of the most common crimes but it’s also one of the easiest to prevent.

As York Regional Police (YRP) continues to receive reports of both residential and vehicle break-ins, it’s encouraging residents to take proactive steps. “Break and enters are often crimes of opportunity,” it says in a press release. “The more difficult you make it for thieves to break into your home, the more likely it is that they will move along.”

One way to do that is to ensure exterior lights are working and to turn them on at night, including lights in the backyard around rear entrances. Always lock your home’s doors and windows, as well as your vehicle doors and garage doors. Don’t leave keys or garage door openers inside your vehicle when it’s parked in the driveway.

Other tips:

• Secure all basement and ground-level windows and patio doors.
• Don’t discuss the contents of your home with others or leave boxes/packaging for expensive items on display in recycling bins.
• Trim all shrubs and trees so doors and windows are in clear view.
• Install dead-bolt locks on all exterior doors and self-tapping screws in the upper track of patio doors and windows.
• Consider installing a home security system with an audible alarm and video surveillance and ensure everybody in the house knows how it works.
• Consider storing valuables in a safety deposit box.
• When someone rings your doorbell or knocks on your door, make them aware that someone is home, even if you don’t feel comfortable answering the door. For example, call out to the person that you can’t answer the door right now.

Tips for travellers: Don’t announce travel plans or absence from home on social media or your phone’s voicemail. If going away on vacation or an extended absence, ask a trusted neighbour to watch your house. Make your home look lived in by using timer-controlled lights, having mail and/or paper delivery temporarily stopped or delivered elsewhere, having trusted people periodically attend for lawn cutting and garbage can placement, and arranging for neighbours to park in your driveway.

Finally, be aware of suspicious people or vehicles in your neighbourhood and call police immediately if you’re concerned. “We will respond to these calls,” YRP assures. For more tips and to conduct your own home security audit, visit www.yrp.ca and click on ‘crime prevention.’

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