Protect Your Home
Common sense plays a big role in both inside and outside home security issues. In combating burglary, our goal is to remove the easy opportunity the burglar needs to enter a house.
Check out what to do if you become a victim of burglary or theft.
Tips to Combating Burglary
- Lock your entry points. Keep windows and doors locked at all times.
- Update old locks. If you move into a previously owned house or apartment, change or re-key all locks. If there’s a chance that a former owner or tenant might still have a key, change or re-key the locks.
- Install deadbolt locks and metal strike plates. A deadbolt lock has a solid metal bar that covers the gap between a door and its frame. There are no springs to operate the bolt and when fully engaged, it cannot be pushed back with a credit card or any other flexible shimming device. It is important that a reinforcing metal strike plate be used with the deadbolt lock. The strike should be anchored in studs of the building so that the door cannot be easily kicked in.
- Install metal outside doors. Since most intruders enter a residence by physically destroying a door or door frame, strong doors and frames, including your garage door, are essential to your security. Steel doors and frames are harder to destroy than simple wooden doors and frames.
- Use a door peephole or view grill. Always acknowledge a caller at your door, but do not open it. Some burglars ring the doorbell and if there is no answer, they break in. Never open your door to someone you don’t know. Make sure the peephole is low enough for children to look out, or put in two peepholes at different heights. Always verify by telephone that the person works for the company they say they represent and has been sent for the reason stated.
- Put supplementary locking devices on all windows. In many reported burglaries, entry is made through a window. Window locks that secure both the inside and outside frames can provide another effective means of thwarting the would-be burglar. Auxiliary locking devices such as screws, pinning devices, and key operated locks, can be used to secure windows.
- Install secondary locks on sliding glass doors. Usually, a sliding door is more secluded from public view than a front door, making it a perfect target for burglars to enter. One way to help increase your security is to install a bolt lock on your door to help prevent the door from being slid open or lifted off its track.
- Always keep your garage side-entry door closed and locked. A deadbolt lock is especially important here. Once inside the garage a burglar can work uninterrupted at getting into the house.
- When away for extended periods of time, have a neighbor retrieve mail and papers. An accumulation of mail and newspapers is a sure sign that a resident is not at home. Arrange in advance to have a neighbor take any papers, mail, or free samples that may arrive while you’re gone.
- Have a trusted neighbor watch your home while you are away. The watchful eyes of your neighbors are some of the best crime prevention tools available. Tell the neighbor who is watching your house where you will be staying and how long you will be gone.
- Be sure your home always looks lived in. Put a couple of timers on various interior lights so that the lights are on until normal bedtime hours.
- Do not leave a door key under a doormat, in a mailbox, or other outside locations where a burglar could easily find it. If you must leave a key behind, keep it with a trusted neighbor. Make sure that each member of your family knows where the key is.
- Do not carry an identification tag on your key ring. This could allow a would-be thief to easily identify your home or vehicle.
- Properly store your tools. Do not leave ladders or tools outside your house where a burglar could use them to break into your home.
- Keep doors and windows highly visible. Low-voltage outdoor lights on timers, as well as neatly trimmed shrubs and foliage, eliminate potential hiding places for would be burglars.
- Engrave an identification number on all of your valuables. Marked valuables can more easily traced back to you in case of theft. Use an easily identifiable number, such as your date of birth, to assist police in tracking down your property. Do not use your Social Security number when marking your valuables.
- Use a safe deposit box. These may be used store valuable items such as jewelry, and important documents like the title of your car. This provides protection against damage from fires and floods as well as from theft. The cost of a safe deposit box is usually only a few dollars a month.
- Consider who you share your personal details with. Be suspicious of anyone you do not know who asks about your schedule and plans. Do not give out information over the phone to anyone you do not personally know.
- Consider installing an alarm system. Case studies reveal most burglars are deterred by the mere presence of an alarm system. The type of system for you depends on many different factors of your security needs and your lifestyle. It will be important to shop around.