Home Burglary Prevention

SPACEBurglary is an ever-present problem in the United States. In 2010, according to the Uniform Crime reports, there were more than 2 million burglaries in the U.S. In over a third of those burglaries there was no force used, in other words the burglars walked into the home without forcing entry. The majority of burglaries are easily preventable if certain safety measures are taken. Most burglars are “lazy” and won’t steal from a house if it seems too difficult. So making your house a hard target is a good way to prevent a burglary.

Safe Homes Program

SPACEThe Safe Homes program offers safety and security enhancements to blocks in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

SPACESome of the safety items included are:

  • Dead bolts
  • Window locks
  • Motion Lights
  • Door Guard
  • Front Porch Lights

For information on the Safe Homes program contact Samantha Royston at (314) 747-2332 or via email at roystons@wusm.wustl.edu. Our office is located at 4400 Chouteau Ave, St. Louis MO 63110.

  • Lights
    • Use a front porch light to deter potential burglars from “staking out” your home.
    • Use motion sensor lights to make it difficult for burglars to get into your house unnoticed.
    • Consider using variable light timers to make it appear as if someone is home, even when you aren’t. (Variable timers look more natural then standard timers)
    • Keep lights out of easily accessible reach, so burglars cant unscrew the bulbs
    • Trim trees and bushes to prevent an over abundance of shadows for burglars to lurk in
    • Replace burned out light bulbs quickly
  • Time
    • Make breaking into your house a time costly activity; it will dissuade burglars from attempting to get in.
    • Add deadbolts to all outside doors.
    • Place secure locks on all windows and screen doors.
  • Alarm
    • If you can afford it, consider putting in an alarm system that will alert you neighbors that there is an intruder.
    • Some alarm systems will even alert the police directly.
  • Making it hard for the burglar
    • “Stake out” your house the way a burglar would, check for easy access points and places where a potential intruder could hide in your yard.
    • By trimming bushes and tree limbs you give burglars less places to hide and stake out your house.
    • Always remember to lock every access point into your house and garage.
    • Put up a “Neighbor Watching” sign to alert potential burglars that the neighbors are watching and will report suspicious activity to police. These signs are given out by Block Captains, or you can contact Ashley Johnson at (314) 747-2336 at WUMCRC.
  • Work with neighbors and officials
    • Work with your neighbors and Block Captains to help prevent burglaries in your neighborhood.
    • Whenever you are going on vacation, or will otherwise be out of the house for a lengthy period of time, alert trustworthy neighbors and ask if they can watch out for any suspicious activity near and around your house.
      • Alert your Block Captains as well.
      • Many local police departments will drive by your house and check in on it if you alert them that you will be out of town. Call your local police station (nonemergency number) and ask if they could send an officer to check on your house while you’re away.
    • Have a neighbor or friend pick up your mail and newspapers, so that burglars aren’t aware of your absence.
    • Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway/ in front of your house, so that it appears someone is home.
  • Other helpful tips
    • Keep expensive/valuable items out of view from windows/doors
    • Make a list of all of your valuables and take pictures of where they are so that you have a record of what was taken.
    • You may have to purchase additional coverage to insure valuables like jewelry and electronics.
    • Display your house number conspicuously and well lit so that officers and emergency personnel can see it from the road and find your house quickly.
    • Lock up ladders and tools that burglars could use to gain entry into your house.

What to do if your house is burgled
  • Reporting
    1. You can report a burglary to police through the emergency number 911, if the burglar is still on the property or still within the area. If you believe there is any possibility the burglar may return call emergency services.
      • If the burglar is no longer within the area by the time the crime is discovered then call the non-emergency number to report a burglary.
    2. Allow the police to investigate the house in order to gather what evidence they can.
      • It is important to remember that most burglaries are solved through finding the stolen property at a later time, not with fingerprints or any other “CSI evidence.”
      • Because of this it is important to keep a good record of your valuables and take pictures of your more expensive valuables.
    3. Make a list of damaged or stolen property and call your insurance agent to report the burglary and make a claim.
    4. Immediately replace any broken locks or lights, and alert your neighbors to potential burglaries in the future.
    5. If any credit cards or private information was taken that could be used to steal your identity call your card companies, cell phone provider, and other credit sources to alert them of the possible identity theft.

For more in depth information on burglary prevention go to http://www.burglaryprevention.org and http://wumcrc.com/burglars-on-the-job/

For more security and safety tips visit our other pages.


-Dalton Davidson, Safety and Security Intern