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MPD burglary prevention tips

The MPD has a holiday wish this season: We hope that everyone takes a moment to brush-up on burglary prevention tips, particularly those who plan to travel during the next couple of weeks.

Many break-ins do not involve forced entry, so our list will start with some basics:

1. Lock the doors to your residence.
Deadbolts are best, but utilize whatever type you have, even when you are at home.

2. Keep garage and vehicle doors locked.
An unsecured attached garage can give criminals easy access into homes. Vehicles parked in driveways or garages should also be locked. Valuables, like GPS units, should not be left in plain view. Bring them inside, or put them in the trunk.

3. Secure sliding doors and windows.
Cut a broom's handle to the length of the bottom track so that the window or door will not slide open when forced. There are also various track-blockers that can be easily screwed into frames.

4. Vertical sliding windows.
Beyond locks, secondary blocking devices (through-the-frame pins) can keep windows from being opened all the way.

5. Mark your property.
Mark valuables with an engraver. Using your driver license number works well. Marking property serves as a deterrent to would-be burglars and it helps police identify and return stolen property. Make a property identification list, or take pictures of your valuables, to include their identification and model numbers. Burn photos onto a flash drive and give it to a trusted friend or relative. You can put warning stickers on doors and windows alerting others to your identification efforts.

6. You may want to consider a burglar alarm or a big dog.
A home alarm system can be a very effective burglary deterrent. Remember to test your system monthly. Burglars also tend to shy away from big barking dogs. If you don’t have an alarm system, or a dog, you could post signs indicating that you do.

7. Leave a light on.
When leaving on trips use light timers. Attach lamps, or maybe even a radio to electric timers that are set to go on at dusk and off at your bedtime. Close bedroom drapes or blinds.

8. Use proper exterior lighting. Motion activated lights work well.

9. Keep bushes and trees near your house well trimmed. Thick, tall shrubbery provides cover for a burglar to work undetected.
10. Never leave a house key in an obvious place like a mailbox, or under a doormat.
11. Don't advertise your assets. Hide laptop computers and other small electronic items when you are not using them. They are frequently the targets of burglars.
12.  Work together with your neighbors. When you are going to be away, tell trusted neighbors and ask them to watch your property. Have someone maintain your yard, driveway, and sidewalk. Have a friend pick up newspapers and mail, or have them held. Tell neighbors to call police if they notice anything suspicious.