Residential Burglary Prevention

You are the #1 defense against residential burglaries. 

Tips to Get Started

  • The most important thing you can do is call 911 IMMEDIATELY to report a crime or any suspicious activity. Don't wait to call. If you see something suspicious, call. Remember someone’s race alone does not make them suspicious. You are the eyes of your neighborhood - and you can remain anonymous. 
  • Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in. 
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. 
  • Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors. 
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for an extended period, connect lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day. 
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked. 
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers, or fliers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange with a friend or neighbor to take them in regularly. 
  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended period. 
  • Contact the Tiburon Police Department for a Vacation House Check.
  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as needed. 
  • Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors. 
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security. 
  • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives. 
  • Contact the Tiburon Police Department to have a staff member come to your property to provide more tips on how to better secure your property. 

Don't Tempt a Thief

  • Lawn mowers, barbeques, and bicycles are best stored out of sight.
  • Always lock your garden shed and garage. 
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows. 
  • Never leave notes on your door such as "gone shopping".

Get the Best Locks

  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can guarantee your home's security. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice and recommendations. 
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. 
  • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed. 

Targeting the Outside

  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards. 
  • Trim trees and shrubs so they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders. 
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside. 


  • Most windows can be pinned for security. Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame - place a nail in the hole to secure the window. 


  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market. It can even lower your yearly home insurance rate. 
  • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you. 
  • Register your security surveillance cameras with the Tiburon Police Department through our Citizens' View Security Camera Program

If you come home to find an unexplained open or broken window or door:

  • Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside. 
  • Use a cell phone or neighbor's phone to call police. 
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence. 
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles. 
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons. 

Other precautions you should take:

  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other "secret" hiding places - burglars know where to look for hidden keys. 
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home - this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory. 
  • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 immediately.
  • Mark your valuables with your driver's license number using an engraver. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover. 

Some comments from your local burglar: 

  • "Of course I look familiar—I was here just last week cleaning your carpets."
  • "Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier."
  • "Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have."
  • "Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer on your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it."
  • "If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy."
  • "A good security company alarms the window over the sink, as well as second floor windows."
  • "It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella and you forget to lock your door. Understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather."
  • "I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters."
  • "Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table and the medicine cabinet."
  • "You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me."
  • "A loud television or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. Leave it on."
  • "Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook."
  • "The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors."
  • "I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll go back to what he was doing. Call the police when you think you heard a window break."
  • "I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?"
  • "I love peeking into windows, looking for signs that you’re home and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems. I call this "window shopping for later," when I pick my targets."
  • "Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook or Social Media page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address."
  • "To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation."
  • "If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in."