Your chances of being a victim of a property crime are much higher in Waukegan than in the country as a whole. Property crimes include burglary, car theft and vandalism. While the city is far less violent than it’s southern neighbor Chicago, the sheer number of property crimes that occur every day in the city provide good reasons for residents to have their guard up all the time. There are some things Waukegan residents can do to keep their home and property safe from thieves. Burglars do more than take physical possessions away from their victims. When a home is broken into, it takes quite a while for the residents to feel safe again. Installing a security system after the fact doesn’t do much for the family’s peace of mind. People who have been victims of this crime sometimes have a hard time sleeping at night and may even exhibit symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. To prevent burglary, don’t advertise to would-be thieves that you aren’t home. If you are going to be away for a few days, have the post office hold your mail or ask a neighbor to get it from your mailbox. If you are expecting a package and you won’t be home to receive it, have it delivered to another location where you can pick it up later. Burglars look for these signs to show them when a home is empty. If they aren’t sure whether you are home or not, only the most brazen of thieves will try to enter your house. Another way to prevent crime at your home is to make it hard to break in. Use deadbolt locks on your entry doors. If you don’t already have them, get a professional to install them for you so they are secure. An improperly installed deadbolt is just like no deadbolt at all. Although it might be convenient to leave a key inside a fake rock or under the door mat, these strategies for letting kids or family members into the house are just not safe. If someone needs to get into your home when you aren’t there, plan ahead and make sure they have a key. Leaving a key outside is like inviting thieves into your home. Get and use a security system. Choose the best system that fits within your budget and turn it on every time you leave your house and before you go to bed at night. Don’t choose a code that is easy for anyone, even close family members, to guess. A security system will only work if as few people as absolutely necessary know the code and the password. There are a lot of different systems on the market today. Talk to an experienced representative who can explain the system and the features. Take full advantage of whichever system you choose so you have the maximum amount of protection for your home. With your security system in place, the police will be alerted if someone attempts to break into your home. However, if you provide the criminals with ample places to hide outside your home, it’s unlikely your neighbors will be able to help the police identify them. By removing anything that obstructs the view of your house from the street, your home will immediately become a less attractive target for burglars. These types of criminals prefer secluded areas where they can hide if someone drives or walks down the street. If you must have flowers in your front yard, consider planting rose bushes. The thorns will make the burglar wish they never attempted to steal your things. In addition to the monitored security system, consider installing exterior lights over your entry doors. Having these lights will ensure anyone who’s paying attention will see someone at your door. You’ll also be able to see them from inside your house so you’ll never open your door to someone you aren’t expecting or don’t recognize. For even more security, put in some more lights with motion sensors so anyone who enters your yard will get instant illumination. Since they don’t want to be seen or caught, most criminals will run away. If all the residents take the time to follow these safety tips, Waukegan would be a safer place to live and work for everyone. Although there may always be some people who would rather steal from others than work for their own things, you can protect your investments by simply making your home less attractive to burglars. If you have a monitored security system in place, you can be sure the police will be notified if any burglar is bold enough to try to get into your secure dwelling. In the best cases, the police get there quickly and stop the burglar in the act. Unfortunately, most property crimes do not end this way and the homeowner or renter is left to make their own repairs and replace all of the items they lost on their own. The best way to avoid the stress of a burglary, by far, is to be proactive. Get secure locks, install security lights and order a security system. No one is going to care more about your property and your peace of mind than you will. Don’t leave your personal safety up to the local police. They have far too many homes to watch and too many other crimes to solve for them to have the time to focus on your house or apartment.