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 good idea, but guess what? If you can break in, so can a burglar!
One out of six 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 becoming a victim.
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 windows?
- 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 sliding door frame and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin in the hole.
- Lock your double-hung windows. You can install inexpensive vent stops available at most hardware stores. These manually operated devices allow the bottom sash to be opened approximately 6″ for ventilation, but will prevent it from being opened further for security reasons. To open the window fully, the vent stop can be easily disengaged. When leaving your house, it is recommended that all ground level windows and windows accessible by exterior fire escapes be secured and the vent stops engaged. Secure basement windows with grills 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, rekey 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.
- All outside doors should be metal or solid wood. If your doors don’t fit tightly in their frames, install weather stripping around them. 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:
- Install outside lights and keep them on at night. Consider having outside lights controlled with motion detectors. These devices will automatically turn the lights on when someone walks in the motion range of the detector.
- Prune back shrubbery so it doesn’t hide doors or windows. Cut back any tree limbs that could be used by an intruder to gain access into your home.
- 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 it up.
- 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.
- Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If one doesn’t exist, you can start one with the help from local law enforcement.