Beat the burglars and keep your home safe this holiday season

NORFOLK, Va. - Statistics show burglaries occur about every 13 seconds and News 3 is taking action to keep your house off the hit list.

Around the holidays we see a spike in home break-ins with many of them occurring during the day when the homeowners are at work. Thieves go for TVs, electronics, guns, jewelry, cash and anything else that can be easily pawned, but there are some simple things you can do to protect your property.

Lights

We all know light deters crime; if you are out of town its wise to set lights or TVS to timers so anyone looking in would think someone is in the house.

Motion censored lights outside the house also scare crooks away because the light illuminates once they're on your property of inching closer to your door.

Security cameras

Cameras might not necessarily keep the thief from breaking in, but they will catch them in the act and might give police a description of the criminal.

Chesapeake resident Michelle Wiggs was at work when her home was broken into. "Someone stole the peace that I had in my home, that security that he had built ourselves to have."

The burglar kicked down her door and made entry into her house through the garage which leads us to another key home security feature.

Locks

"The distance the lock comes out and when you turn the cylinder you want to make sure the lock comes out an inch and a half or so," said Master Police Officer Roger Whitley as he inspected a Norfolk home.

The Norfolk Police Department will come to your home and do a free security check if you call their office and request the service. The officers advise everyone to take simple steps, like drawing your blinds and having a good relationship with your neighbors; those are two of the simplest pieces of home security.

John Sanker started Hampton Roads Security after more than a decade with a local police department. He said he investigated enough burglaries to know that families in this area needed better security "Most folks, their home is their domain, it's their castle. They keep all their valuables in there- your physical assets as well as your family. In order to keep my home safe I want all aspects covered," said Sanker.

You can also buy security features for all entry points in your home like motion detection lights that can be synced to the security system. Sanker says the new technology is making it easier than ever to arm your home with the greatest defense.

Most burglars are in and out in 10 minutes or less, and the average police response time is about seven minutes so keeping a home safe falls on the homeowner.