Housebreaks have become the order of the day ( night) in all cities big and small. The robbers are becoming daring going to the extent of harming or injuring house owners seriously, if they try to thwart their attempts. In my city a lady having alighted an auto was about to open her front door , when a man came and pulled her bag from her hand and when she tried to stop the bag snatcher , she was pushed so hard that she hit the compound wall falling hard on the concrete surface and had a fractured leg besides cuts and bruises all over her body ! You realise that the house breakers and thieves are a ruthless lot going to any extent .

Forget the police, the security of your house lies in your hands. It depends on how conscious you are about your personal security. There has been an increase in housebreaking incidents over the years. And the major cause, both the police and the security service agencies observe, is residents’ carelessness.

secure home

Speech is silver and silence is golden

People are very negligent as far as personal security is concerned. Most people love to talk about themselves, about their house and about their wealth etc. They even go to the length of giving out very crucial information about their security system. I once remember a lady telling me that they kept one set of house key under a flower pot just for emergencies and this was said in front of many other people as well. I wondered at that time, how she could be so careless giving out such a dangerous information. People gossip and the information passes from one person to other and anything might happen!

People not only talk about confidential matters in front of the servants but they also parade jewelry and wealth before them too which is an open invitation to house breaking. Housewives also loudly order the milkman or newspaper vendor to discontinue delivery for a certain number of days, since they are going for a vacation. They fail to realise that notorious elements roaming around the vicinity can take advantage of that news.

So, be careful about what you talk in front of your servants because most often, it is always some insider who leaks the information. According to police sources and security organisations, servants and guards are the major source of leaks to housebreakers. These people have access to every place within the house and observe the details minutely. They listen to coversations and also are aware where each member of the family goes out and returns and hence can keep the interested criminals informed.

They also know when there is going to be a function like wedding or a family gathering taking place in the houses they work in and if one is not careful may even get to hear all the details about who is coming and discussions about jewelry, money matters etc. People have the tendency of making a display of personal wealth and jewelry, which gives servants a definite idea about their employers’ financial status and when the right opportunity comes they may strike.

Open Invitations to break in

There are certain other factors which also aid house breaking. In cities like Mumbai, most families have all members working or away from home at school or college, with only elderly members at home during the day. We hear of so many incidents where the poor old helpless people get attacked sometimes seriously since they are unable to defend themselves. When such is the case coupled with the fact that there is no proper security and communication systems, these houses are easy targets for intruders.

Vacation time is a great opportunity for housebreaking , even  the statistics prove that most houses get burgled when the families are away for weekends or long vacations. With there being nobody in the house the burglars have all the time in the world to plan a housebreak and carry it out successfully. In todays world, neighbors are either unaware of people living next doors or even if they do the interaction is very formal since everyone is busy with their own work schedules, so one doesnt watch out for the others property unless requested by the neighbor. This fact also provides potential housebreakers a welcome opportunity.

Another fact is greed in people , more so in large cities where the working class coming from other states and cities seeking job opportunities remain annonymous. People hire them on trust and on hearsay which may not be safe.There have been many cases where the security guards, domestic staff and gardeners have taken bribe and helped the burglars by giving out details . In some cases burglars have posed as domestic help and made away with money and other items when they get an opportunity or when the family is away !

Protect yourself and your family

Many security agencies are of the opinion that it is because of carelessness and a lax attitude by the home owners that makes a home open for burglary. I was reading a notice that came with one of their services which listed some very useful precautionary measures which definitely will go a long way in preventing house breaks.

1, Be vigilant – Being vigilant all the times goes a long way in making your home secure. Teach all the members of the house and children to be careful with information and also house keys.

2, Front door - If possible, install a double door with a grill to help you screen visitors before you open the door. This is very essential in apartments too...

3, Hiring maids and house helps – When you are hiring a man servant or a maid, thoroughly check their background and send the personal records and details with a photograph to the local police station. Ensure that you retain a copy of all the details along with the photographs.

4, Security set up – If you live in an apartment make sure that the housing society has a strong security set-up to allow for vigilance. Any stranger entering the society should be thoroughly checked. The security guard should confirm his/her identity, cross check through the intercom with the person he or she has come to visit, that he is expected or welcome and then only let the person enter. In fact, in some apartments one of the security personnel accompanies the guest to the owners flat, so that there is no confusion and regret later on.

5, Do not meddle with security personnel – Let them do their job without any interference from residents. I was reading the details of a house break in one of our major towns and the reason was – although the apartment block had 4 security men guarding the block at various points, they were sent on some errands by the house owners and the day the burglary happened there was just one person guarding the main entrance . The other three had been sent as delivery boys or to shop for the residents. This state of things was being watched by the miscreants over a period of time and they stuck one afternoon almost killing two ladies and a child and making away with cash, jewelry and other valuables which were never recovered.

6, Know your neighbors – It is always good to know who your neighbors are and inform them when you plan to be away for long period of time. When you cultivate a warm relationship with your neighbors there is mutual interaction and they know when you are away. This itself protects the neighborhood because you notice any stranger paying attention or anything unusual happening in the other house.

7, When you have trees and large shrubs and bushes in your garden especially near the windows it makes it easier for a person to hide behind them and observe the inside. So, make it difficult for someone to conceal themselves while planning breaking in.

Some Security devices that can prove helpful

Besides taking all the precautions mentioned above we can also use certain security devices to make our house burglar proof.Even if you are not planning to have one of these right away it is good to have some knowledge about what is available in the market just in case you decide to install one in the near future !

An Intrusion Alarm system – This is gaining a lot of popularity nowadays since it provides security even when you go out of station . These devices have a passive infra red sensor ( PIS) which emits invisible rays and acts as a motion detector. The device also comes with a control panel and various zones, which can be activated and deactivated as required by the house owner. If and when an intruder enters your house, the boomer will go off the moment he passes through these rays. If the family is sitting in a room in which the device is deactivated and somebody tries to enter the other rooms in which the system has been activated, the device will automatically signal the control panel.

Magnetic contact - This is a simple device. A small instrument connected to the door signals a control panel whenever somebody tries to open the door. I have seen this in many houses and it is very effective.

Glass Break detector – As the name suggests this device signals the control panel if anyone tries to break the glass in a window. This is also a popular device that many home owners go in for.

Video door phone – A small video screen allows the residents to view the visitors so that you know who they are. There is also a built in phone which you can use to speak to the visitor and the main door is released by a magnetic switch upon confirmation of the visitors’ identity. The device also has an infra-red sensor , so the visitor can be seen even when it is dark.

Audio door phone – This is just a device wherein you can speak to the visitor and confirm his or her identity before you let them in. Panic button – This is an alarm linked to a neighbors house or to someone close by, that can be alerted in case of an emergency. I remember an incident that happened in Bangalore when a gang of dacoits with fire arms surrounded a farmhouse located on the outskirts of the city .It was because of this device which had been installed in the nearby farm of a friend , that the resident owner , his family and guests managed to escape unhurt. Thankfully, his friend was also also in his farm with his family and they immediately informed the police who came with sirens and the dacoits ran away!

Conclusions

No matter what security measures you take or instal the burglars will try to stay one step ahead . But, it is in our own interest that we take the utmost care with regard to our house, property and other assets . It is also a good idea to Insure our house and all our precious belongings. At least it saves some of the worries if and when a burglar is able to gain entry into your house !

When you leave home for a long period of time it may be a good idea to inform the local police, also have someone staying on the premese .You can also leave a light on when you are away. The idea isn't to make your house completely break-in proof which is not possible since a committed burglar looks for loopholes and will find one if one is careless . But when you make your house a less attractive target than the other houses in your neighborhood, it does help to a great extent in making it a lot more secure.

Finally, get a dog if it is possible. A barking dog can keep the thief away most effectively ! The more noisy the dog  less attractive your house becomes for the would be burglar since they don't want to be announced .

( image - wikimedia)


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