Tips on protecting your home from burglars without breaking the bank

Tips on protecting your home from burglars without breaking the bank
Frank Suster
Frank Suster

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - You hear about homes getting broken into and precious items being stolen. Hearing the statistics, you may feel like it's just a matter of time before it happens to you.

During these tough economic times, is there a way to protect your home without breaking the bank?

Imagine how violated you would feel knowing a stranger was snooping around on your property. Could you be the next victim of a break-in?

The latest Honolulu police figures show 1,864 burglaries were reported on Oahu in just the first four months of this year. That's an average of 466 residential and business break-ins every month.

When money is tight, how can you protect your home?

"If you go to an alarm or security company, that's the best. That's the best possible thing you could do," Frank Suster, do-it-yourself expert, said. "But it's very expensive."

Suster is a do-it-yourself expert at City Mill.

"There are many steps that you can do for $10, $20 just make it a little bit harder for an intruder to break into your home," he said.

A popular entry point is the jalousie window. All burglars have to do is remove three or four glass panes and they're in. An S-ring or S-hook can prevent that. Each one costs about 60 cents.

"You lift up your lever, lock it, and then this just slides right over it," Suster demonstrated. "Now this prevents a burglar from opening your glass."

If you prefer to keep your windows open, use louver locks. A kit to secure 10 glass plates runs about $10.

"You know, lock the bottom one, skip one, go to the next one 'cause nobody can fit in the space that small," Suster said. "So every other lock saves you some money."

Or you can simply glue the glass to the metal frame with epoxy glue or silicone sealant.

"One tube can do, you know, 100 jalousie glasses," Suster said.

"And that runs about?" this reporter asked.

"These are like $5 a tube," he replied.

Many homeowners place a broomstick or pipe in the bottom channel of their sliding glass door thinking it can't be forced opened. What they may not realize is the door can still be lifted out of the trap. The solution?

"Just buy an inexpensive pin with a chain," Suster said. "A hole is drilled through both jams. This is just inserted and now you can not force the door open or lift it up. It only costs about $2 to $3."

Suster says each item on his table is less than $20. Get a "Beware of Dog" sign, even if you don't have a dog. A timer on your electrical appliances is another way to trick the bad guys.

"Have a couple of lamps plugged into it. You could have a radio plugged into it," Suster said. "You know, 10, 20 times a day, you could have the radio go on, the lights go on in the home. People think it's occupied."

And be sure to have a padlock for your storage shed.

"A lot of times in the storage shed is kept valuable items and also things that could be used to break into the home," Suster said. "You know, you might have an axe in there that a person could chop your door down."

The key thing to remember is burglars don't want any hassles.

"They want to get in and out quickly," Suster said. "If there's anything that you did to the home, like the jalousie window, to make it a little more difficult, they'll go to the next home."

Suster's home was broken into about 10 years ago.

"I had a beautiful Martin guitar, oh, was given to me by my grandfather. Can't replace that kind of items," he said. "It is tough. Nobody likes to get robbed."

So whether it's a high-tech method or a low-tech approach, it's your property so protect it.