When it comes to protecting your home from burglars, it’s just as important to pay attention to what’s lying around outside as to what’s inside, according to Crime Stoppers.

The agency is warning the public to be aware of what they leave unattended on their property, after seeing an uptick in burglaries outside homes.

“What people are still forgetting are simple things like leaving your car unlocked in the driveway, which allows burglars to grab your garage door opener,” says executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Linda Annis in a news release.

“No need to smash windows or jimmy door locks on your home if they can just roll up your garage door. If the door leading from the garage into your house isn’t locked, you’ve just asked the burglars to come right in. “

Annis adds police are noticing a trend where thieves aren’t physically breaking into houses as much, but rather, using or stealing whatever they can find outside a home.

“Just a few years ago, the main thing was to warn homeowners how to prevent crooks from breaking into doors and windows, but affordable home security alarms and video equipment are starting to change that for the better,” she says.

To ensure your home isn’t targeted by thieves, Annis says there’s a few things to keep in mind.

“Ladders left in the yard,” she says. “Within a couple of minutes, an experienced crook can climb in through your upper floor windows, rifle your bedrooms for valuables they can sell for quick cash, and be back down again before anyone notices. Making sure we put away things outside the house gives us a chance to take preventative action.”

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is offering tips on how people can further protect their homes, including their “9 at 9” approach, which is a list of nine tips to do every night at nine pm


  1. Remove any valuables from inside your car, including garage door openers;
  2. Roll up car windows tight and ensure all the doors are locked;
  3. Make sure all garage doors are closed and locked, including the door inside that leads from the garage into your home;
  4. Lock up ladders, bikes and even garden equipment;
  5. Close and lock all doors and windows on your home;
  6. Set the alarm and check your video security equipment;
  7. Leave the porch light on overnight, so your front door isn’t hidden in darkness;
  8. Make sure packages from online deliveries are quickly picked up from your front step;
  9. Ask a neighbor to pick up newspapers and flyers from your door while you’re away so they don’t pile up.

Annis adds that people should not leave a spare key under their doormat or a flower pot.

“Everyone knows that one,” she says.

Annis says homeowners should also not become reliant on their home security systems.

“Video security and alarms help to secure our homes, but can also give us a false sense of security leading us to leave windows, patio doors and garages open anyway on a hot day,” she says.

Anyone who notices any suspicious activity in their neighborhood is asked to call police or make an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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