The number of home burglary claims for Allstate Insurance customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area jumped 7% last year.
In a survey of police departments across the state, Allstate found flat screen televisions are typically the number one target in home burglaries, followed by laptops, jewelry and cash. Some departments reported an increasing number of home burglaries that are tied to organized criminal activity, like street gangs. Police say the thieves have shopping lists of items to steal and will back into a victim’s driveway and knock on the door. If no one answers, they break in and are gone within two minutes. After the burglary, most of these items end up at an organized fencing operation.
Overall, Allstate’s home theft numbers increased 9% statewide in 2009, and rose in most Texas cities.

City   Home Theft Change from 2008 to 2009
Austin  +47%
Dallas-Fort Worth       +7%
El Paso -16%
Houston         +8%
Lubbock         +1%
Rio Grande Valley       +55%
San Antonio     +6%
Waco-Temple-Killeen     +5%

To help safeguard your home and make it less inviting to burglars, here are some safety tips from Allstate:

1. Lock-up

Even if you’re just running out on a short errand, make sure all doors and windows are locked. Steel doors and deadbolt locks provide the best security. Also, always keep your garage door shut and locked.  Surveyed police departments said open garage doors are a common entry point for burglars. They make it easier for burglars to lift expensive items, like lawn equipment and tools quickly, and once in a garage, burglars can also work uninterrupted to get into your home.

2. Advertise Deterrents

An alarm system is an excellent deterrent to crime, as long as it’s used consistently. The system should include a loud siren and motion sensors. Display security system decals on your windows and doors.
3. Don’t publicize your plans

Be careful when tweeting or posting Facebook updates about the vacation you’re on or the concert you’re at.  Although you’re friends’ friends may seem trustworthy, you’d be surprised how quickly news spreads that you’re not home. Also, if you are away, keep lights on a timer, have your mail and newspaper delivery stopped and ask a family member or trusted neighbor to pick up any packages or flyers left outside.
4. Protect your possessions

Store items like jewelry, cash and weapons in a safe. Be sure valuables like flat-screen televisions are not visible from the street.  Also, create a home inventory of your possessions, including photos and videos of the items, to make filing a claim easier if your home gets burglarized.  If you have questions about making sure certain valuables are properly covered, contact your insurance agent.