Residential Burglary Crime Prevention Tips










Residential burglaries are on the rise throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and our neighboring cities have seen a substantial increase in neighborhoods being targeted as well. Although law enforcement agencies have increased their efforts to thwart these burglaries and apprehend those responsible, the trend is expected to continue.

Following are some crime prevention tips you can follow to help protect your property and minimize your risk of becoming a victim:

Get Started

  • Make your home look occupied and difficult to break in.
  • Burglaries generally happen in the daylight hours, when homes are unoccupied.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if you’re just leaving for a few minutes. Deadbolts are good to have on exterior doors.
  • Leave the lights and radio on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, set them on timers.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked, even when you’re home. If your garage is attached to the house and you decide to keep it open, lock the interior door to the house.
  • Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the post office to stop your mail or for a friend or a trusted neighbor to pick them up daily.
  • Arrange for your lawn to be moved if you are going to be away for an extended period.
  • Check the locks on your doors and windows and replace them with secure devices if necessary.
  • Sliding glass doors and windows are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security. Even a wooden dowel or a track blocker will help prevent the door or window from opening.

Don’t Tempt a Thief

  • Store your lawn mowers, bicycles, barbeques, etc. out of sight.
  • Always lock your gates, garden sheds and garages.
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Don’t store your ladder on the side of your home.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping” or “Be back in fifteen minutes.”
  • Don’t discuss vacations or extended absences on social media. This alerts others to your house being vacant.

Locks – Invest in the Best

  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be 100% effective. Reinforce existing door locks with cylinder guards, which prevent criminals from prying or wrenching locks loose.
  • Pushback locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all of your exterior doors.
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are ever lost or stolen.
  • When moving into a new home, have all of the locks changed.

Secure your Perimeter

  • Does your house have adequate exterior lighting? Use of motion-sensitive lights is recommended for the front, side, driveway and backyards. Delayed motion sensors may deceive the thief into thinking you just switched the light on.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.
  • Use alarm decals, beware of dog stickers, and/or community watch decals near doors and windows.

Doors and Windows

  • The most secure doors feature a solid core, which make it more difficult to kick in or break. All exterior doors should be made of solid wood or metal and be at least 1 ¾” thick and equipped with a double cylinder deadbolt lock.
  • Metal plates on the door frames should reinforce the door jam and the hinges.
  • Strike plates need to be securely fastened to door jams with long screws that attach to the studs surrounding the door frame.
  • Install wide-angle peepholes.
  • Some windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.
  • Most windows can be pinned for security.
  • Cover windows with blinds or curtains.
  • Always lock the windows. Even the small bathroom window that you think nobody can fit through.

Alarm Systems

  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. A variety of alarm systems are on the market for house security and motion sensors for property.
  • Make several inquiries into different companies for the best security system available to you.

Check your Interior

  • Find good hiding places in your home for valuables, especially jewelry. Jewelry boxes make things quick and easy for the burglar. Don’t use typical places like under mattresses, in drawers, in desk/file cabinets, etc.
  • Secure firearms and weapons in safes that are bolted to the floor or large enough that someone couldn’t move without help.
  • Limit the amount of cash kept in the home and store it in creative hiding places.
  • You don’t have to answer your door. You can talk through the door and install a peep hole.

If Your Home is Burglarized

  • If you come home and find an unexplained open or broken window or door, DO NOT ENTER! The suspects may still be inside.
  • Call police immediately!
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.

Additional Precautions

  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places. Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description and/or photographs of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers if applicable. Keep a copy in a safe place away from the home – this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters, too. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms, and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping an inventory.
  • Engrave your valuables with your driver’s license number. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.

Be a Good Neighbor

  • Join your local Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Join Nextdoor (


  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as you see any suspicious activity.
  • Suspicious activity can include: door-to-door solicitation, strange vehicles in the area, people asking for work, anyone with stories that don’t add-up, and anyone carrying items from someone’s home.
  • If you see suspicious vehicles, try to write down or remember the license plate.
  • If you see any suspicious people, try to write down or remember their description and their direction of travel.