If exterior doors are hollow-core, replace them with
solid wood, fiberglass or steel.
Make sure exterior door hinges are on the inside
rather than the outside - where an intruder can remove the pins and
pull the door out of the frame
If you have double-hung windows, bolt the upper and
lower sashes together or insert a metal bar in the track to prevent
To secure sliding glass doors, add a bolt lock or use
a "charley bar" to block the door closed.
Use bars to secure basement or garage doors and add
bars to basement windows.
Most home burglaries occur between 8:00am and 5:00pm,
so get in the habit of always locking all doors and windows whenever
you go out.
Invest in high-quality, name-brand deadbolt locks for
all exterior doors.
If you have a double-cylinder deadbolt that is
operated by a key both inside and out, keep the key near the door so
every family member can find it and exit quickly in case of fire.
Alarm systems are an effective deterrent. Nine out of
ten convicted burglars agree they'd avoid a house protected by an
Security system decals and signs are also an effective
According to the FBI, more burglaries occur in July
and August than in any other months.
Make sure your security system includes a loud inside
alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the
master bedroom and main living areas.
Never leave an answering machine message indicating
you're not at home. Instead, just say you "can't come to the phone."
Use timers to turn lights, televisions and sound
systems on and off at different times to give your home a "lived-in
look" when you're away.
Install motion-detecting outdoor floodlights around
your home. Remember to mount them high enough to prevent intruders
from disabling them.
If there's a Neighborhood Watch Program in your
community, join it. If there's not, start one.
Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to your
Get to know your neighbors.
If you have elderly or incapacitated friends or
relatives, check to make sure their security devices are all in good
Some burglars scan newspapers for wedding and funeral
announcements and special community and holiday events that might take
you out of your home, so be especially careful on these occasions.
Don't let mail, newspapers or flyers accumulate while
you're away, tipping off criminals. Have the post office hold mail,
have newspapers suspended, and have a neighbor or friend clear away
To a burglar, an empty trash can may mean you're away.
Keep some trash on hand, and consider asking a neighbor to set out
trash for pick-up at your house.
Don't leave valuables in sight through windows, where
they will tempt burglars.
Use an etching pen to mark an ID number, like your
driver's license number, on valuables.
Make an inventory of valuables in your household and
store it somewhere other than your home, such as in a safe deposit
Leave curtains slightly parted so your house doesn't
have an empty look.
Never open the door to a stranger. Install peepholes
in all exterior doors so you can identify whoever is outside. Do not
rely on a door safety chain, because these can be broken easily.
Ask for I.D. from service representatives who come to
your home, and if they don't have it, check with their company to
verify identity before letting them in.
If you're planning to go away, be careful whom you
When vacationing, leave a car in your driveway or
arrange for a neighbor to keep a car there and move it around from
time to time.
Have someone mow your lawn, rake leaves and shovel
snow while you're away.
Prune overgrown trees and shrubs to eliminate hiding
places for intruders.
Many garage door openers respond to common codes, so
follow the manufacturer's instructions to program yours with a unique
code no burglar's opener will match.
Keep your garage door locked at all times, preferably
with a deadbolt lock.
Thieves always look in mailboxes, under doormats and
above doorways for keys. Don't make it easy for them to get into your
Don't put your name or address on your key ring,
because it might lead a thief right to your door with key in hand.
When having a car parked or serviced, leave only the
If there's any chance a previous resident may still
have keys to your house, re-key the locks.