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Home-Defense FAQs Answered, Part 2

If your question didn’t get answered last week, don’t worry. Here are some more of your home-defense frequently asked questions.

Do Burglars Avoid Homes With Dogs?

A family dog serves two security purposes. A dog can alert you when something is out of place. Typically, a dog will alert its owner when a potential intruder is prowling around outside or attempting entry (or, in the case of my dogs, when someone dared to ride a bike on their street some 20 yards from the front door). While you will obviously have your share of false alarms — after all, a canine alert system is based on the dog’s opinion — you will be alerted nonetheless. Usually, the noise of a fluffy friend is enough to deter most burglars.

In addition, should someone get into your home, a dog can serve as protection. With the right training and temperament, your “alarm system” will quickly send any burglar who comes face-to-face with him or her away.

Do Lights Deter Burglars?

This is definitely a yes! Lighting is the No. 1 improvement you can make to your home to help deter burglaries. Burglars want to work undetected. So a home with a darkened perimeter is ideal for the nighttime burglar. Obviously, a daytime burglar doesn’t care about exterior lights. But leaving the lights on when you are away during the day can give the appearance that there is someone home and will increase daytime deterrence.

What Time of Year Do Most Burglaries Occur?

Burglaries can occur at any time of the year. Most home robberies today are influenced by how soon the perpetrator needs a drug fix. Crime typically upticks as the traditional Christmas season approaches. Burglars realize it will be a great time to load up on gifts intended for others. Christmas Eve, in particular, while families were out attending services, used to be the primary day of the year to burglarize. With today’s decline in church attendance, the Christmas Eve uptick isn’t as pronounced as it once was.

How Do I Secure My Home While on Holiday?

There are some basic tried-and-true methods for securing your home while you’re away on vacation, such as stopping your mail and leaving lights on timers to give the appearance that you are at home. It is also helpful if you have trusted neighbors who are willing to look out for other things, such as putting out the trash, picking up unexpected packages or occasionally parking a car in your driveway to make it look like people are there. If the police jurisdiction you live in has a house-watch program, sign up for it. In short, make sure that your home looks as occupied as possible.

Do Burglars Hit the Same House Twice?

I have never seen a home hit twice by burglars. But I have seen the same businesses hit multiple times. This is because businesses replenish any stolen stock quickly. Home burglaries often result in the theft of items that can’t or won’t be immediately replaced. Coming back a second time isn’t worth it.

If there’s something else you want to know about home defense, leave your questions below!

About Scott W. Wagner

Scott W. Wagner is a criminal justice professor and police academy commander from Columbus, Ohio. He has been a police officer since 1980, working as an undercover liquor investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, patrol officer, SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader. Scott is currently a patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. He has been a police firearms instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.

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