By Cpl. PATRICK HECHLINSKI
South Bend Police Department
With the holidays here, it is important to keep in mind some basic safety tips to make your home a less likely target for a burglary.
Here are some ways burglars enter your home:
-Leaving windows and doors unlocked when not at home.
-Not arming security systems.
-Leaving garage and basement doors unlocked.
-Leaving windows open at night.
-Failing to make your home look occupied when you're not at home.
Here are some things you can do:
-Keep your doors locked and be sure your locks are in good working order.
-If you have a security system, use it!
-If your garage is attached to the house, keep the door entering your house locked. Don't rely on the garage door to keep a burglar out.
-Keep your windows locked, and make sure these locks are in working order.
-When away from your house, give it the same appearance as if you were home.
-Use variable timers on lights when away.
-Have a trusted neighbor, friend or relative pick up your paper or mail if you are going to be gone for an extended period of time.
-Never leave a message on your answering machine saying you're out of town.
-Consider placing your Christmas tree away from windows. This makes it difficult for a burglar to break out a window and grab your gifts.
-Should you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighborhood or by a neighbor's house, be sure to phone your local police and have them check the person out.
-Consider joining a program as a means of preventing crime and getting to know your neighbors.
-Lastly, after the holidays, don't put boxes from your DVD player, stereo, etc., out by the trash. Thieves can do their shopping from the street to know what you have in your home. It would be advisable to cut the boxes up and put them in a trash bag.