Securing your home

The recent rash of home break-ins in the community over the last two months has many neighbors talking about options and strategies to secure their homes. Here are some resources suggested by neighbors and public safety officials.

Tracking break-ins:

A neighbor created this spreadsheet to document the burglaries.

Lights:

Online retailers have many options for motion-sensor, solar powered lights. Some adhere with screws, others are peel and stick. The price generally goes up as the light output increases.

Lemontec Solar Spotlight with Motion Sensor ($30 for a 4 pack)

- Mpow 20 LED light ($38 for 2)

Litom 24 LED light ($20 each)

Cameras:

Camera options, compiled by Ednor Gardens neighborhood members

Wireless security cameras ($100 for 3)

Security systems:

- Simplisafe – wireless alarm system with in-home sensors. Pay by the month. Log in at any time of night or day from any computer or smart phone.

- Window alarm pucks ($30 for 4)

- Install tracking software Prey on your computer and phone. Enroll up to 3 devices for free. https://preyproject.com/

Security your property

- Consider installing a taller fence with a lockable gate.

 

Tips on avoiding burglaries from the Baltimore City Police Department’s Northern District:

1. Close and lock your doors and windows.

2. Install and advertise that you have a loud audible alarm.

3. Lights are important at night.

4. Secure doors with single cylinder deadbolts. Make sure mail and newspapers are not accumulating on the porch or in front of home.

5. Make sure to lock your 2nd and 3rd floor windows. In 70% of the burglaries committed in North Baltimore entrance is gained via a rear or side window. Consider placing inexpensive glassware on the sills of the 2nd and 3rd floor windows. If a burglar attempts to enter your home and breaks the glassware, they will normally flee.

6. Vacations: consider not posting photos or information concerning your locations when you are out of town on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This can advise potential burglars you are out of town and your home or business in vulnerable. When leaving the house for vacation, connect lights to timers that go on and off during evening hours.

7. Keep blinds and shades closed. Do not leave your wallet, car keys, or other valuables in plain view

8. Trim trees and shrubs short enough so that all windows and doors are visible from the street and people cannot hide behind them.

9. Examine your basement windows and doors. They are normally a neglected portion of a house and thus its weakest point. If they are old and can be easily forced, consider replacing the door and the windows with stronger frames or glass block.

11. Keep front and rear porch lights on throughout the night so that the front and back of the house is constantly lit and visible. Consider utilizing motion activated spotlights on the side and the rear of your home.

10. If you are out of your home, leave radios on at the front and back doors of your house that are tuned to a talk radio station, and if you are away for an extended period of time, place the radios on timers.

11. If you see suspicious persons walking down the street with unboxed TV’s or computers, leaving a neighbor’s home, or entering the rear window of your neighbor’s home call 911.

12. Potential burglars may watch your home, and when they see you leave, knock on your front door to see if you are home. If the door is not answered, they will break in the home. Try to vary your movements as much as possible to not establish a discernible pattern. If the door is answered, they may ask for a person who does not live at the house or ask if you requested a food delivery that you did not order. If this occurs, call 911 and report it. Also, if you see unknown persons suspiciously knocking on neighbors’ doors, report that via 911.

13. If you are going away for a period of time, call the Northern District at 410-396-2455 and ask the police pay special attention to the home while you are away.

14. Engrave your valuables with your Maryland Driver’s License Number known as your Soundex Number, and photograph your valuables, then save the photos on your computer’s hard drive, ensure you back up the photos on another device in case your computer crashes or is stolen.

15. The interview of a burglar charged with numerous burglaries in North Baltimore revealed silent alarms did not deter him. However, if he activated an audible alarm when he entered his target, he fled immediately. If you install an alarm, consider ensuring it has an audible alarm component, and ensure signage is posted around your home notifying all persons the house is alarmed.

16. If you purchase electronic items such as: televisions, desk top computers, lap tops, and DVR’s please do not place the boxes in front of or in the rear of your home for collection. It is an open invitation for burglars to break into your house to steal the new items. It is recommended you tear or cut the boxes into pieces and place them in closed recycling bins.

17. If you come home with a large number of packages, take them out of the car; place them directly inside the front door, and return to your car. Repeat this until you have all packages inside the house. If you take packages into the kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom then return to your car you leave your front door unattended long enough
for a person to enter your house and steal your belongings.

18. If you come home and your front door is ajar, do not enter the house; remain outside and call the police via 911.

19. You might consider keeping the keyless entry fob for your car at your bed side. If you hear someone in your house, activate the panic alarm on the fob. The noise created from your car may startle the person and cause them to flee.

20. Suspects have been known to enter the homes and immediately rip the alarm system off the wall prior to the alarm going off and police being alerted. It is suggested that you contact your alarm company and see what can be done if thieves attempt to do this to your system. They may be able to immediately notify police or sound the
alarm. An alarm sounding will usually scare off the thieves.