— Mafé Rajul, King County senior deputy prosecuting
attorney, drove around King County — mainly Seattle
and the Eastside — with a prolific burglar who showed
her the homes he burglarized. During the trip, he gave
her these tips, which she uses in community meetings and
to help homeowners protect their property.
No. 1 advice I can give is to know your neighbors,"
the burglar said. "That way, they can look out for
you when you are not around. Make sure your neighbors
know enough about your life so that when a strange
person comes in the middle of the day or a strange car
is parked in your driveway, they’ll know to call the
following are 10 mostly common-sense tips that people
know, or should know, but simply ignore:
If you have an alarm, use it. It is amazing how many
people don’t activate their alarms.
Spend the extra money to have window sensors. Many
people have the sensor only in the door, and that is not
a deterrent because the burglar can break the window
without the alarm going off.
AVOID THE APPEARANCE YOU HAVE BEEN GONE FOR A FEW DAYS.
Don’t leave the garbage can by the curbside. If you’re
going to be out of town, have your neighbors move it.
Don’t leave the newspapers for more than one day in
front of the house. If you are on vacation, stop
Move a parked car on a driveway or carport routinely. A
dirty car that appears to have been sitting in the same
spot for a long time is a good indicator the people are
LOCK ALL YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS.
Have strong locks.
French doors are the easiest to break.
Always close and lock them, even on the second floor.
Close the blinds or curtains. Make sure people cannot
see inside the house.
If you don’t want to close your blinds, make sure
valuable items are out of view. Don’t have the big
plasma TV visible from the outside.
INSTALL A CAMERA IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE.
Even if a burglar breaks in through the back, he usually
walks out the front.
STORE VALUABLES IN UNUSUAL PLACES.
Keep valuables, such as jewelry, in places other than
the master bedroom. The bathroom or laundry room are
good places to hide these items. Burglars tend to start
in the master bedroom and walk their way back into the
living room, then the front door or driveway.
If there is a room burglars will ransack, it will be the
master bedroom; that is where most women keep their
AVOID BLOCKING YOUR HOUSE FROM THE PUBLIC OR NEIGHBORS,
If you have trees or big bushes, make sure there are
gaps between them.
Don’t build a "wall" of greens.
IF YOU HAVE A SAFE, MAKE SURE IT IS NOT EASILY MOVABLE.
A heavy safe or one that is built into the wall is best.
Most burglars won’t take the time to try to break into
it because there are no guarantees there are goods
AVOID DOGGY DOORS.
They are the easiest way for a burglar to get inside.
DON’T LEAVE LADDERS IN YOUR BACKYARD.
If you live in a house hidden from the main streets, you
are more likely to get burglarized. Although many people
love their privacy, a house that is not visible is the