How to protect yourself from burglars


Wendy Camerik never used to lock her door, but that changed after there were seven house break-ins in her neighborhood on the same day.

"My routine when I leave the house has completely turned upside-down because I have to remember to turn on the alarm and lock the doors before I leave," she said.

Plenty of people are not taking the same precautions. Nineteen percent of U.S. homeowners don't always lock their doors, according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey.

Twenty-six percent sometimes don't lock their windows and 43 percent don't always turn on their home alarm when they're away. Those are just some of the many security mistakes /*Consumer Reports*/ uncovered when it took a look at 25 things cops and crooks say you're doing wrong.

"They told us that letting bushes and shrubs get overgrown and having poor exterior lighting makes it easier for a burglar to hide and then break into your home," said Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico.

Leaving your garage door open is another bad habit.

"Not only can everything in your garage be stolen, but a burglar can break down the door leading into your house, which usually isn't as strong," said DiClerico.

People are also lax with their cars. Eleven percent of those polled said they sometimes leave their car keys in the ignition. Hiding a spare key is another dumb move as it makes it easier for thieves. DiClerico advises to keep your spare inside your wallet or purse.

When you're away from home, don't let newspapers and mail pile up. And leaving some inexpensive kids' toys on the lawn can help deter thieves who think you're home.

Not only are people lax with security at their home and their car, but apparently plenty of people are making it easy for crooks to access their bank accounts. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 people will keep their pin code with their debit card, obviously not a wise decision.

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