Home. It's where the heart is. There's no place like it. But most of all, it's where we want to be comfortable, safe and secure. Unfortunately, burglaries are almost always a case of an opportunity seen and seized.
Locks & Keys
The first thing to remember about locks and keys is to keep keys out of circulation. The potential for theft by use of unauthorized keys is staggering. Just think of all the people who have used your keys, from housekeepers to childcare providers to valet parking attendants. Then, think of all the places where duplicate keys can be made, from hardware stores to shoe repair shops.
- Buy Kwickset ANSD High Security locks.
- Change all locks when moving into a new house or apartment.
- Only give keys to a few trusted people and be wary of giving out keys to your home.
- Do not leave spare keys in obvious places, such as under flower pots or welcome mats.
- Do not have identifying tags on your key ring that provide thieves with personal information such as your name and address.
- Install a double cylinder lock on doors located near windows to prevent thieves from breaking the window and turning the latch
Top of Page
Doors & Windows
When protecting your home from break-ins, check the easiest points of entry: doors and windows.
- Choose solid wood or steel doors. Hollow wood doors can easily be kicked in.
- Install doors with the hinges on the inside of the door so hinges cannot be easily removed.
- Do not leave gaps around the door frame that would make doors vulnerable to prying.
- Use vertical bolts on sliding doors so burglars cannot gain entry by lifting them off the track. Reinforce security by placing a metal or solid wood rod on the inside track.
- Watch the electric garage door close completely when you come and go so that someone cannot sneak under as it closes.
- Make sure back doors and the door that connects your garage to your home are solid and secured with high security deadbolt locks.
- Lock your pet door when you are away. Thieves can convince children to crawl through it and open the door.
- Make sure your windows can be securely locked.
- Double-hung windows (the ones that slide up and down) are fairly safe, particularly if they have locks mounted on the sides or in the corners.
Top of Page
Landscaping & Lights
When planning your landscaping, think like thieves and know your enemy.
- Remove trees or branches of trees close to your home that give burglars access to upper levels.
- Make it difficult for them to navigate through your yard and approach entry points. Plant low thorny bushes below your windows.
- Trim your trees and shrubbery; don't give them somewhere to hide.
- Keep your lawn well maintained so that they know that the house is attended to and constantly inhabited.
- In addition to keeping your yard neatly trimmed and well cared for, keep it well lighted. Burglars prefer to operate in the dark.
- Install porch lights and be attentive to burned out bulbs.
- Install motion sensitive lights; they will not only make you feel safer when approaching your home after dark, but they will also deter criminals who don't want to be seen.
- Leave a light on, preferably on each floor, when you go out in the evening.
Top of Page
Notes on the Neighborhood
Be aware of the physical details, people and happenings in your neighborhood.
- When moving, call the police and find out the frequency of burglaries in your new neighborhood and how they have occurred, so you know how to protect yourself.
- Participate in a neighborhood watch program. Post signs to let potential housebreakers know that your neighborhood is aware of their threat and that you are collectively willing to protect yourselves. A united front makes your neighborhood less vulnerable.
- Do not let strangers into your home, even if they offer free inspections of roof, furnace or air conditioners. If you are not sure about a worker, even after asking for identification, call the company.
- Tell your neighbors about suspicious strangers, including a description of suspects and their actions.
- Do not go in the house if you suspect there is a stranger inside. Use the neighbors' phone or your wireless phone to call the police immediately.
Top of Page
When leaving for vacation, take steps to secure your home while you are away.
- Do not be overly communicative about your vacation schedule or even your day-to-day schedule.
- Do not tell people you aren't home on the outgoing message of your answering machine.
- Put timers on indoor lights, televisions and radios; specifically, look for timers with random patterns that suggest movement and activity in the house.
- Erase the messages on your answering machine often, so it isn't obvious you are out of town.
- Ask police to check your street often.
- Secure all locks on doors and windows, including garage and pet doors.
- Use new, quality, long-lasting light bulbs.
- Arrange to have your yard maintained, including having your driveway shoveled or lawn mowed.
- Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and check the inside and outside of your house every day.
- Do not close all shades and curtains; it will be too obvious that you are away.
Top of Page
Be proactive about your home security.
- Do not display valuables to the outside world.
- Conduct a security inspection. Contact your local crime prevention office or a professional locksmith to conduct the survey for you.
- Make a list of trouble spots and do what you can to correct them.
- Look for ways to secure all entrances and openings.
- Dogs really are a deterrent. Not only do they often frighten intruders, they also warn you.
- Do not provide access to your keys. For example, valet attendants can make copies of standard keys within minutes, and they have access to your address on your registration.
- Be proactive in protecting your keys against duplication without your knowledge or permission. Install good quality locks (such as Kwickset locks) that provide protection. Top of Page