Protecting Your Home
The Department of Justice (DOJ) says more than 60 percent of burglaries occur during the day when people aren't home. Most break-ins are through ground or first floor doors.
Burglars select targets based on a number of key factors, including:
- Familiarity with the target and convenience of the location
- Visibility or surveillance
- Vulnerability or security
- Potential rewards
Don't be an easy target. Boise Police join law enforcement nationwide in urging homeowners to take the following steps to protect their families, home and neighborhoods:
- Install quality locks on doors and windows and use them. Lock and close your doors and windows even when you're home. Do not rely on thumb-turn locks on windows, as they can be unlocked through a broken window. A good quality deadbolt should be installed on every exterior entry door no matter how friendly your neighborhood is, make it a habit to check for locked doors each time you leave the house and go to bed.
- Trim shrubs around doors and windows so burglars don't have a sheltered place to work. High or overgrown landscaping like bushes, shrubs and trees can offer an intruder a place to hide and conceal a break-in.
- Install peepholes on exterior doors and any interior door between the garage and house.
- Consider timers hooked up to indoor lights, as well as radios or televisions to give your home that lived-in appearance.
- Close shades, drapes and other window treatments while you're away to keep potentially tempting household items out of view.
- Do not leave your garage door open or unlocked if you are not in the immediate area.
- Pay attention to suspicious activity or anything that appears out of place. Immediately report any and all suspicious activity by calling your local 24-hour non-emergency number or 911 in the event of an emergency.
- If you have an alarm, set it.
- Lighting is one of the best deterrents to nighttime burglary. Indoor and outdoor lighting are important; install lights by all exterior doors and make bulbs hard to reach. Motion senor lights are often a good choice for side or backyards.
- Beware of solicitors. Door-to-door salespeople have a business license or permit issued by the City -- always ask to see it for verification.
- Don't let strangers into your home—this includes workers and others—if you are not with them. Never give keys to people making improvements to your home.
- Have family, friends, or neighbors check on your home if you are going to be out of town. Do not hide spare house keys outside your home but leave them with a trusted neighbor instead.
- Photograph your valuables and engrave your property with a form of identification, such as your driver's license number.
- Have locks changed or re-keyed when moving into a new home or apartment.
- Install track-type locks, drop bars, wooden dowels, or pinning devices on sliding glass doors.
- "Harden" your doors. All entry doors should be solid wood or steel-wrapped wood-core doors.
- Join or establish a Neighborhood Watch. Getting to know your neighbors can be beneficial for your home’s security.
Home Vacation Tips
Often residential crime occurs when we are away from home on a family vacation or involved in outdoor activities. How can you protect your home and property when you are gone? To better secure your home while away:
- Inform as few people as possible of your vacation plans. This includes newspaper and postal delivery people, unless you are going to be gone an extended period of time.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you are gone and to report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police department.
- Give emergency telephone or cell phone numbers, your itinerary, and a house key to your trusted neighbor.
- Ask them to pick up your newspaper, mail, and other deliveries daily.
- Ask your neighbor to place a filled garbage can in front of your house on collection day.
- Ask your neighbor to park their vehicle in your driveway occasionally.
- Arrange to have the lawn mowed or snow removed.
- Install dusk-to-dawn or motion sensor lights on all outdoor lights.
- Use automatic timers on a radio and lamps to simulate occupancy.
- Don't post your vacation plans on social media.
- Lock all outside doors using quality deadbolt locks and shut and lock your windows and your garage door.
- Store valuables in a safety deposit box.
Package and Mail Thefts
We all order things that need to be delivered and receive packages at our homes. Unfortunately our mail and packages can be attractive to an opportunistic thief. Here are some tips to keep your packages safe:
- Track your packages and shipments. This way you know when your package will be delivered.
- Leave specific instructions for delivery when you order the product; you can also do this through the shipper's online tracking services. Do not leave a note on your door with instructions.
- If you cannot be home for delivery, ask a neighbor to watch for the package and secure it for you.
- Consider having all of your shipments require a signature for delivery.
- Have your package delivered to your work or a relative or friend who will be at home.
- Consider picking up the package at the Post Office or shipping center.
- Be aware of suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Look for strange vehicles and individuals.
Vehicle Burglary Prevention
Most vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity. Taking extra precautions can greatly reduce the chance of becoming a victim.
To help avoid becoming the victim of a vehicle burglary, you are urged to:
- A locked vehicle is safer. Remember to close the widows or sunroof, even when parking at home.
- Remove valuables from plain view, even if the vehicle is locked.
- Unless going straight home, store all shopping bags and other purchases in the trunk.
- Don’t leave a trace of items that may be hidden “out of sight”. For example: the suction cup on the dashboard may indicate there is a GPS inside.
- Do not leave the garage opener in plain view.
- Carry registration and insurance cards with you or lock in the glove box.
- Remove all important items from your car.
- Don't leave car, house, or work keys in the vehicle.
- Park in busy, well-lighted areas with good visibility.
- If using a parking garage, park close to an exit or in a well-lit area.
- Be aware of suspicious individuals and report any activity.
- At home, always park in your garage, if available. Remember to close the garage door and lock the side entrance to the garage.
- If your garage is not available, park in the driveway. Leave on porch lights at night for better lighting.
- If only street parking is available, park in front of your house to ensure you have good visibility of the vehicle.
Door to Door Solicitors
If a solicitor knocks on your door, ask if they have a city-issued license. If the solicitor DOES NOT have a Boise City license, call the Police immediately at (208) 377-6790.
Call 911 if a solicitor appears threatening or suspicious. Even if a solicitor is licensed, they are required to be honest about who they work for. You have a right not to feel threatened in your own home. You may also send a complaint about an overly aggressive licensed solicitor to the Boise City Clerk's office. Get the solicitor's name and solicitor license number. Call the City Clerk at 208-384-3710. The City Clerk can investigate whether the solicitor is following the licensing requirements. It is possible for the City Clerk to pull the solicitor license of an individual found to be falsely representing themselves or deceitful. Solicitors are licensed individually, not by company.
All Solicitors operating in Boise must display a current city license. Boise City requires all door-to-door solicitors be licensed by the City and to carry and display their official license at all times. Boise City Solicitors Licenses have the individual's picture on it as well as the Boise City logo like the one pictured here.
Non-Profits, Schools and Charities: Representatives from non-profit 501c(3) organizations, like scouts, school organizations, churches or charities are not required to have a city license. If a solicitor claims to be from a non-profit organization, you're encouraged to ask for ID to confirm they are a true representative. If you feel threatened or you feel the person is not being truthful in their representation of a charity, call (208) 377-6790.
Landscaping for Crime Prevention
Landscaping is a great way to beautify your home and show pride in ownership. It is also a way to increase your home’s security. You want to avoid obstructing your vision and creating hiding spots around your home.
If planting within 6 feet of a sidewalk or walkway area, ground cover plants should be used. To maximum visibility and to avoid creating hiding places, these plants should not exceed a height of 2 feet at maturity or be trimmed to this height.
Shrubbery should be used more than 6 feet away from away from walkways. To avoid creating hiding places, shrubs should be trimmed to a maximum of height of 3 feet.
To discourage access to areas, such as below windows and other places, barrier plants can be used. Barrier plants will have thorns, needles, or sharp leaves that will prevent people from wanting to climb through or hide in. Popular barrier plants include:
- Natal Plum
- Porcupine Holly.
If used under a window, the plant should be trimmed below the height of the windowsill. Remember to use gloves and long sleeved shirts with trimming.
Also consider how far away from the side of your home or fence to plant A shrub that matures at 2-3 feet in diameter shouldn’t be planted too close to allow the plant room to grow into while still providing a barrier.
When planting, trees should be more than 10 feet away from your home. When they grow larger you do not want them to become a climbing aid to upper levels of your home. From this reason the type of tree should be considered. Branches should also be trimmed to prevent this. You do not want trees to obscure views or lighting. To achieve this, the tree’s foliage should be trimmed and thinned on a regular basis. The lowest foliage on a tree should be no less than 7 feet from the ground.
Gravel or other small landscape rocks create noise when stepped on. For these reasons they should be used under windows or near entryways to alert you of a person in these areas. Avoid using large rocks or other items which can be thrown through windows.
To have your home and landscaping evaluated by a Crime Prevention professional, you can contact the Boise Police.
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