Following 33 reports of break and enter to homes as well as thefts from vehicles in Airdrie suburbs since Sept. 11, Airdrie police are advising residents to take a few precautions to deter offenders. RCMP said suspects are stealing garage door openers out of vehicles and are then using them to gain access to homes through the opened garage door. Homeowners everywhere can help ensure their homes and garages are safe by taking the following steps:

It may seem obvious, but by not giving thieves easy access you can greatly improve the security of your home. In addition to ensuring all of the doors and windows in your home are properly secured, garage doors and windows should be locked at all times, as opportunistic thieves have been known to steal items from open garages while residents are occupied elsewhere around the house or yard. Doors should also be strengthened by adding a quality deadbolt, reinforced hinges and door jams for maximum security.

If you’re leaving your car in the street, take out your garage door opener. A garage door opener provides would-be thieves easy access to your home or garage, and can be obtained in seconds
from an unattended vehicle. Although it may be an inconvenience, taking your garage door opener inside can be the difference between a secure home and one that’s an easy target for criminals. When on vacation, unplug the garage door opener, padlock the latch or disable the door by putting a bolt through one of the holes in the garage door track.

As simple as it seems, shedding a little light on the situation can be enough to dissuade criminals. Install exterior motion lights to brighten dark areas and eliminate any easy hiding spots around
doors or windows to make them easily seen by neighbours and passersby. When leaving your home unattended for longer periods, make your home looked lived in by putting lights, radios and TVs on variable timers. To further improve visibility, shrubs and trees should be trimmed away from windows and doors.

When possible, keep valuable items stored in your garage out of sight. That new mountain bike or new set of golf clubs can be an attractive target. Keeping such items out of view from any
passersby can drastically reduce the incentive for thieves. Even when stored in a garage and out of sight, bikes should be locked to a stationary object. To keep everything from the prying eyes of criminals, windows can be covered with curtains, blinds or translucent film, which can be purchased at your local hardware store.

If they can’t enter through an open door, burglars will often try to come through windows because most are relatively easy to pry open or break. For the best chance at keeping thieves out, install bars across the window. Ready-made kits can be purchased at most hardware or department stores. For do-it-yourselfers, a few lengths of steel pipe can make a sturdy and cost-effective deterrent.