If you were locked out of your house, would you still be able to get in? Maybe
you keep an unlocked window in the back, or a hidden key in your mailbox or on
top of a window ledge? You may think this is a good idea, but guess what? If you
can break in, so can a burglar!
One out of ten homes will be burglarized this year. For a small amount of time
and money you can make your home more secure and reduce your chances of being a
Many burglars will spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to break into a home.
Good locks - and good neighbors who watch out for each other - can be big
deterrents to burglars.
Check the locks
Did you know that in almost half of all completed residential burglaries,
thieves simply breezed in through unlocked doors or crawled through unlocked
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|Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead bolt lock.
Key-in-the-knob locks alone are not enough.|
|Sliding glass doors can offer easy access if they are not properly
secured. You can secure them by installing commercially available locks or
putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside track to jam the door. To
prevent the door being lifted off the track, drill a hole through the slide
door frame and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin in the hole.|
|Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin" your windows by
drilling a small hole into a 45 degree angle between the inner and outer
frames, then insert a nail that can be removed. Secure basement windows with
grilles or grates.|
|Instead of hiding keys around the outside of your home, give an extra key
to a neighbor you trust.|
|When you move into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.|
Check the doors
A lock on a flimsy door is about as effective as locking your car door but
leaving the window down.
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|All outside doors should be metal or solid wood.|
|If your doors don't fit tightly in their frames, install weather stripping
|Install a peephole or wide angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see
who is outside without opening the door. Door chains break easily and don't
keep out intruders.|
Check the outside
Look at your house from the outside. Make sure you know the following tips.
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|Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at
|Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't hide doors or
windows. Cut back tree limbs that a thief could use to climb to an
|If you travel, create the illusion that you're at home by getting some
timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house
throughout the evening. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.|
|Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. And don't let your
mail pile up! Call the post office to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick
|Make a list of your valuables - VCRs, stereos, computers, jewelry. Take
photos of the items, list their serial numbers and description. Check with
law enforcement about engraving your valuables through Operation
|Ask local law enforcement for a free home security survey.|
Consider an Alarm
Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have many valuables in your
home, or live in an isolated area or one with a history of break-ins.
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|Check with several companies before you buy so you can decide what level
of security fits your needs. Do business with an established company and
check references before signing a contract.|
|Learn how to use your system properly! Don't "cry wolf" by
setting off false alarms. People will stop paying attention and you'll
probably be fined.|
|Some less expensive options...a sound-detecting socket that plugs into a
light fixture and makes the light flash when it detects certain noises,
motion sensing outdoor lights that turn on when someone approaches, or
lights with photo cells that turn on when it's dark and off when it's light.|
Burglars Do More Than Steal
Burglars can commit rape, robbery, and assault if they are
surprised by someone coming home or pick a home that is occupied.
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|If something looks questionable - a slit screen, a broken window or an
open door - don't go in. Call the police from a neighbor's house or a public
|At night, if you think you hear someone breaking in, leave safely if you
can, then call the police. If you can't leave, lock yourself in a room with
a phone and call the police. If an intruder is in your room, pretend you are
|Gun are responsible for many accidental deaths in the home every year.
Think carefully before buying a gun or keeping weapons in the home. If you
do own one, learn how to store it and use it safely.|
There's More You Can Do
Work with neighbors and local government to organize community clean-ups. The
cleaner your neighborhood, the less attractive it is to crime.
|Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be
away from home now, say "I'm not available right now."|
Crime Prevention Council