Shamir Rajadurai Crime Safety Specialist, www.PreventCrimeNow.com
Crime safety specialist Shamir Rajadurai’s insight has been sought after by homeowners and residents’ associations wishing to prevent their homes from being broken into. His experience working at grassroots level reveals that, unfortunately, there is no fool-proof method to keep thieves away. However, he has some tips that will improve the odds in the homeowner’s favour.
- Form a neighbourhood watch. Even better, we can get the neighbours to form a Rukun Tetangga and have regular ‘night walks’. Mr Shamir has personally witnessed home break-in rates dropping dramatically in neighbourhoods which have introduced nightly patrols. While this requires considerably concerted effort and coordination among residents, the results are certainly worth it.
- Be nice to the neighbourhood police. Mr Shamir recommends that we treat the police like we would treat any member of the public service who performs an invaluable service to the community. His own neighbourhood invites the police to join in whenever they have potluck dinners, for instance. Knowing that their services are appreciated improves the morale of these police officers and motivates them to go the extra mile for the neighbourhood.
Watch the doors
- If your front and back doors are old, hollowed or made from light wood, Mr Shamir recommends replacing them with sturdier doors made from heavy wood or with metal reinforcements.
- Knob locks can be opened using a card. If you have them on your doors, it is best to replace them with deadbolt locks.
Sliding doors are harder to secure. Thieves can simply smash the glass pane and walk in. For thieves who want to avoid leaving a mess, the lock can be easily opened using a screwdriver. The thief can also simply lift part of or even the entire sliding door off the frame to get in! You can try coating the glass pane with window film, or use sliding bolts to prevent the doors from sliding open, but these methods only delay the burglar a little longer. Perhaps the best option is to simply replace sliding doors with the good old-fashioned sturdy door.
If you are concerned about the locks on your doors (and/or windows), Mr Shamir recommends consulting a locksmith. An experienced locksmith will know how to recommend the best locks based on your requirements.
Even the best locks will not keep the thieves out if you leave your doors and windows open. Therefore, Mr Shamir advises homeowners to keep all back and side doors and windows locked even when people are in the house.
Mind the keys
- Don’t keep spare keys outside the house for thieves to find. If you worry that you or another family member may forget to bring the key and end up locked out of the house, keep a spare key with a neighbour you trust.
- Do you keep your house keys and your car key together? Do you hand over the entire bunch of keys to the mechanic when you have to repair or service your car? If you say yes to both questions, you may be giving an opportunity to any would-be thief to make copies of your house keys. If you keep receipts or any documents that have your house address in your car for this would-be thief to find, you only make his or her life easier! “Just hand over the car key,” Mr Shamir advises, “and do not leave documents with your home address lying around in the car.”
How about a dog?
In Mr Shamir’s experience, it is indeed true that having a dog affords a greater degree of protection for homeowners. A dog’s bark alerts the homeowner and neighbours of a burglar trying to break in – an effective deterrent indeed. Some burglars have a natural aversion to animals, and would automatically avoid targeting houses with dogs.
Of course, if you want to keep a dog, you should offer it plenty of tender loving care, as a loyal dog makes the best watchdog. Also, do not tie up or confine the dog; let the dog move freely to investigate strange sounds and scents.