How to protect your home from burglary: Tips from someone who used to break into homes

February 26, 2013 3:29:48 PM PST
Burglaries are up in some Chicago neighborhoods and now the Chicago police department is changing how it responds to burglaries.

An officer is dispatched if an intruder is on the scene, if someone is injured, or if an immediate investigation is warranted. Still, there are several things you can do to help protect your home and prevent burglary.

Marcus Williams el was convicted of three residential burglaries. He served time and is a graduate of the Keeping It Real Program.

The program is part of the SAFER foundation, and with Chicago police, former burglars help homeowners take control.

Williams el showed ABC 7 and some local homeowners things can prevent crime -- like an obvious security sign.

"Maybe you do and maybe you don't have an alarm sign, but I'm going to pass you up," said Williams.

Getting through a security door may be easier than you think with standard screws, so install a screw that requires a specialized tool.

"I notice that the screws are regular Phillips. Why is that a problem? Because I can take a screwdriver and take that off and the door can come right off," said Williams.

Williams suggests removing items around the home that could offer height or a tool for a break in.

Home improvement and gardening supplies left out can become accessories to a crime.

"Gloves, so I don't leave prints," said Williams.

At the door, Williams says, installing a plate around the door knob and properly installed deadbolt will deter some would be burglars.

"Make sure your deadbolt goes 2 inches into the frame," said Williams.

Inside the home, he says, security systems won't help if the alarm siren doesn't sound and Williams suggests putting motion sensors lower in the room and near the entry point.

Experts say the least expensive investment in your security is getting to know your neighbors, especially behind your home, and watch out for one another.

You can contact your community policing officer to see if Keeping It Real will do a seminar for your neighborhood.

Some myths ABC 7 learned: Dogs may not be good deterrents unless they are trained for security; burglars can easily befriend or subdue your pet. And the best place to put your valuables: In a safe, mounted or bolted to the floor.