If you are locked out of your house or apartment, can you get in? Do you keep a window or door unlocked? Hide a key in the mailbox or on top of a window or door ledge? Not a good idea! If you can gain access to your house or apartment, a burglar can too, but probably quicker! Half of burglars gain access through unlocked door & windows. The National Crime Prevention Council estimates that one in ten homes will be burglarized this year. You can reduce the chances of becoming a victim with a small investment. GOOD LOCKS and GOOD NEIGHBORS can be a good deterrent to burglars.
Check the locks
- Install deadbolt locks; the key-in-the-knob locks are not enough.
- Sliding glass doors are easily penetrated if not properly secured. You can purchase slider bars, but an old broomstick will secure the door when you place it in the track. You can also prevent the door from being lifted off the track. Drill a hole through the door frame & fixed frame, then insert a pin or nail into the hole.
- Lock your windows with key locks, or “pin” by drilling a hole on a 45 degree angle between the inner & outer frames. Then insert a pin or nail into the hole that can be removed. Secure basement windows with grates or grills.
- Do not hide 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 as effective as locking your car door & leaving the window open.
- All outside doors should be metal or solid wood.
- If your doors do not fit tightly in the frames, install weather stripping.
- Install a peephole in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains break easily and will not keep an intruder out.
Check the outside
- Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights & keep them on at night. Motion lights are quite effective & may startle an would be thief.
- Keep your yard clean. Make sure shrubs & trees do not block out windows. Cut taller tree limbs that may be used as a ladder.
- If you travel, create the illusion that someone is home by using timers that turn lamps on & off throughout the night. Lights that are on 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
- Leave shades, blinds & curtains in normal positions. Do Not let the mail pile up as well as newspapers. Notify the Postal Service & Newspaper.
- Make a list of valuables including electronic items & jewelry. Photograph them & list the serial numbers. Engrave the items through Operation Identification.
- Ask your local Police to conduct a security survey.
Consider an alarm
- Check with several companies for the best system that fits your needs & pocketbook. Check references to be sure the company is reputable before signing a contract.
- Learn how to use your system properly to avoid not putting the system on. Do not create false alarms, people will ignore your alarm if too many occur. Police Departments may charge you for false alarms as well.
Burglars do more than steal
- Burglars may commit more violent crimes such as sexual assault, robbery & assault if they surprise someone at home.
- If something does not look right such as a slit screen, broken window or open door, do not go in. Call the Police Department from a neighbor’s or public phone.
- At night, if you thing you hear someone breaking in, leave safely if you can, then call the Police Dept. If you can’t leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone & call the Police. If an intruder is in your room, pretend you are asleep.
- Think carefully before purchasing a gun. Guns are responsible for many accidental deaths. If you buy a gun, learn to use it & store it safely.
- Never leave a message on an answering machine stating that you are away !!!!!