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Bungle the burglars: Keeping your home safe
Sanaya Dalal
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August 28, 2007

Picture this -- it's 3 am and you stumble to the loo thanks to one too many drinks of water before bed. You're just about to switch on the light, when from the corner of your eye you spy a hand on the ledge of the bathroom window, slowly but surely trying to haul the person who belongs to the hand upward and into your home.

Moment of reckoning -- you could either:
a. Scream like a girl (if you are one, that's justified) for your family or roommates to comes rushing to your aid.
b. Grab whatever comes handy to deal the intruder a sound rap across the knuckles, so that he screams like a girl.
c. Quietly tiptoe away and call the cops, while putting the rest of the household on alert.
c. Stand rooted to the floor as the burglar gets in, takes you hostage, rounds up the family and makes away with all your valuables.

You may pride yourself on your presence of mind, but not everyone is able to swing into action in such times of crisis. While it is likely that you may scare the burglar away, the very fact that he attempted to break in should get you questioning the security measures you have taken to keep your home safe from such dangerous elements. Which brings us to the point -- how safe is your home from burglars?

In such cases, you can take it as a given that prevention is better than cure. It's better to get a grill installed outside your bathroom window, isn't it, rather than wait for someone to try and break in first? You'll be taking security measures after you've got nothing left to secure. It kind of beats the purpose, don't you think?

Gone are the days when you could hide a spare house key under a flowerpot by the front door. In fact, you're lucky if the flowerpot itself hasn't been robbed yet. So here's a few security measures you need to take to keep your pad protected from the scum of the universe!

~ Make sure that any easy access route into your home is secured -- that's right, we mean bathroom windows, balconies, back doors, fire escapes and so on and so forth. Use whatever it takes to secure these areas -- locks, iron grills etc. Don't make it easy for anyone to break in.

~ When you're leaving the house empty, try to make sure that it looks occupied. Leaving a couple of lights on won't hurt. Moreover, you could invest in an automatic timer that turns on the lights in your home as scheduled � it can even operate the radio to make sure a prowler doesn't know there's no one home.

~ Keep good relations with the neighbours -- that way, when you go out of town you'll be able to rest assured that someone is keeping an eye on your home. Return the favour to ensure community safety.

~ Make sure not to open your door to strangers. Before inviting unknown cable operators, repairmen and errand boys in, make sure to ask for identification first. Not only does this reduce the risk of someone using force to loot your home, but it reduces the risk of a burglar making a mental note of the floor plan, or discovering ways and means of breaking in later on.

~ Despite taking precautions, it often happens that an intruder still manages to get into a well secured home. So don't remain so confident that you leave your valuables where someone would be able to find them. Lock jewellery, cash and cards away safely. Ideally, jewellery you rarely wear should be put away in a safety deposit locker.

~ Never use the same key ring for your house key and car key. That way, when you hand your car over to a valet or parking attendant, you're not giving a stranger access to your home too. Since you're obviously visiting their establishment, you can't be home to stop anyone from looting your valuables.

~ Never attach nametags or any form of identification to your house keys. If they get lost, it will be very easy for someone with evil intent to track down your house.

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