In their 2012 Annual Crime Report,Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) reported an unprecedented nine home invasions in 2012, making up 26 percent of all off-premises incidents reported last year. Over the last three years, reported home invasions have averaged about three a year.
Home invasions can turn violent and even deadly, so understanding how to keep your family and home safe and secure is critical. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has the following recommendations to help you minimize your risks at home:
- When choosing your home, evaluate the context of the location, including the street (dead-end vs. heavily traveled street), closeness of neighbors, and the parking arrangement.
- Choose a reliable burglar alarm system for your home, and instruct family members on how to effectively employ it.
- Install proper lighting around the entire perimeter of the home with motion sensing floodlights mounted high enough to prevent tampering, whenever possible.
- Lock your doors and windows and set your perimeter alarm when you’re at home.
- Never unlock or open the door unless you know who it is.
- Look through the door’s peephole to identify the person at the door. If the individual is making a service call, ask them to provide appropriate identification and contact the service company to confirm/verify they indeed did dispatch a service representative, as well as confirm the representative’s name and identification before allowing them to enter your home. Do not open your door if you do not feel comfortable.
- Do not keep jewelry merchandise at your home.
- Keep your personal valuables in an appropriate burglary-resistant rated safe that is well hidden.
- Have an unlisted and unpublished telephone number. Carry a charged cell phone with you at all times, keeping it next to you when you sleep.
- When using valet parking or having your car serviced, provide only the necessary car keys, not your entire key chain with your house key on it.
As with most theft, you can try to prevent these crimes before they happen by being alert for suspicious activity or people. Jewelers Mutual has the following recommendations:
- If you see any suspicious persons, activities, or vehicles in your home or work area, do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement. If something or someone looks suspicious, trust your instincts and act on them by calling 911.
- Be alert when traveling to and from work to make sure no one is following or watching you.
- Look around before opening your garage or house door for anything that appears suspicious. If you’re not comfortable, leave the area and call 911.
- You may want to keep a logbook at your business that employees can use to write down all suspicious activity. Have them record details such as license plate numbers, physical descriptions of suspect vehicles and individuals, dates/times, and other information regarding suspicious incidents that may later be helpful to police.
- Join your Neighborhood Watch Program, or start one in your community. Trusted neighbors can also help identify suspicious people in your area.
- Educate your family members and temporary house guests about what to look for and what to do if they encounter a suspicious situation. Make sure they also observe the same sound security precautions you follow, such as keeping the doors locked and not opening them to unknown visitors.