WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) - While a homeowner can never eliminate the threat of a home break-in, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has compiled three simple ways to drastically reduce the chances of becoming a criminal’s next target.
Tip 1: Security cameras & alarm systems
Never underestimate the power of a good alarm system.
"If someone breaks into your house, that's an automatic alert to police,” Lt. Scott Moore with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office told News 2. “It’s going to do wonders in keeping criminals away from your house.”
Moore said the sound from the alarm can be enough to scare a potential burglar away quickly.
As for a surveillance system, it can provide live video of the interior and exterior of a home to let the homeowner know if a stranger is nearby or even inside.
The camera can also record footage that investigators can use to more quickly identify a suspect.
"Even if their face is covered, we can kind of get a good idea of how they are built,” Lt. Moore explained. “[We can] possibly get a description of the vehicle."
If a homeowner has an alarm system or surveillance camera, authorities suggest placing a sign in the yard to let criminals know, which will likely “make intruders think twice,” Moore said.
Amazon has a list of top-selling home surveillance cameras, which could help a resident decide which one to purchase. Click here to view that list.
Tip 2: Lighting
While many homeowners keep a porch light on at night, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has suggested leaving a light on inside the home as well.
"When [burglars] go look at a house where there are no lights on the outside, there are no lights on the inside, it's easy to assume that family's asleep,” Lt. Moore said. “Also, if you have a lamp on in the house, in the criminal's mind, they're thinking somebody may be up."
Motion detectors can be a smart tool, as well.
"If I'm a criminal wanting to break in, and all of a sudden a light comes on, and I'm lit up on the outside, I'm going to think twice about breaking into that house,” Lt. Moore said.
Along that same line, authorities suggest homeowners should keep trees and shrubs manicured to reduce the threat of criminals hiding behind or between them and secretly observing ways to gain entry into a home.
“A lot of times we leave a spare key under the doormat, and if I’m a criminal and I want to break in, before I do that, I’m going to scout your home and I’m going to see if someone comes up, if they look for that spare key to get in the house,” Lt. Moore said. “A lot of criminals will check those places and a lot of times, get those keys to get in the house. “
Tip 3: Neighborhood watch
Don’t forget— neighbors can easily serve as an extra set of eyes and ears.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office is available to help residents start a neighborhood watch program.
To reach the department to request more information on a neighborhood watch, contact the sheriff’s office at 615-444-1412.
On a more modern level, apps like Nextdoor and Facebook groups such as Hip Lebanon, Hip Mt. Juliet and Hip Antioch allow neighbors to instantly upload pictures, videos and information regarding incidents that seem of the ordinary.
"If a criminal is going to break into a house and they see a neighbor watching, or they see a car slow down like they're trying to get a description of the vehicle, that's going to scare them off to where they're going to go somewhere else,” Lt. Moore explained.
Homeowners can also add a secondary lock to their home, creating extra work for a potential criminal and significantly reducing the likelihood of a break-in.
“One thing that you don’t want is to wake up in the middle of the night and see someone standing over you in your bedroom,” Moore explained. “We cannot ever say this is going to 100 percent stop that. If a criminal wants to get into a house, they are going to attempt to do it, but you have to put yourself in a best possible situation so if something does happen, you’ve taken steps.”
Residents are also urged to keep homes and cars locked and keep valuables out of sight.