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Note: be careful when you are installing anything which requires you to drill into your patio door frame you could result in damaging door, or breaking glass. If you are not that handy I would recommend you hire a contractor to do work for you.
Lighting is an excellent deterrent to criminal activity at night. I recommend if possible installing outside lighting on motion detectors. That way lights will go on when motion is detected. Many times they will detect small animals or some other thing and go on. Just because they go on doesn’t necessarily mean there is someone there. But having them go on is a good deterrent if someone was. Like stated above thieves don’t want to make a scene, and they surely do not want a light shining on them. If possible, it is suggested that you install flood lights on each of four corners of you home. That way you could have perimeter lighting with motion detectors watching all sides of your home. When purchasing a motion detector spend extra few dollars and get one of good quality.
Home alarm systems are also becoming popular and are a good deterrent. If you get just an audible alarm that will help, but I recommend that if you are getting an alarm system, get one that has a service that monitors your home and will contact proper authorities when alarm goes off. If someone does enter your home you want police to be notified as quickly as possible. Also make sure your alarm company knows which police department to contact for your jurisdiction. We had numerous calls for police service from alarm companies whose customer’s residence was outside of our jurisdiction, this caused unnecessary delays in police response. If you do get an alarm make sure to put notification stickers on doors that state “This home is protected by…” A would be criminal might see those stickers and look for a house that isn’t alarmed.
When going on vacation I recommend you have a friend of family member (someone trustworthy) to stay in your home while you are gone. If that is not possible have a neighbor, friend, or family member keep an eye on your home and come by daily to take in mail and any newspapers you have delivered. They should also do a daily walk around house and check to make sure all windows and doors are secure. We have had people go away for a couple weeks only to come back and find there home broken into. Later it was determined that their home was broken into only a couple days after they left. The rest of time it sat wide open to elements of weather, and possibly another thief.
If you do not have anyone available to check your home, and take in your mail, you can have your mail held for you at post office. You can do this online at http://dunsapp.usps.gov/HoldMail.jsp.
Remember more difficult you make it to get into your home less likely you are of being a Home Invasion victim.
For more information of Home Invasion and what you can do check out book "Crime Awareness 101"
Scott Shaper is a former police officer of over 14 years. He is also the author of the popular book Crime Awareness 101. He has written numerous articles and ebooks on crime prevention which can be viewed at his web site www.crimeawareness101.com