Home Security Tips

Exterior Doors:

  • Exterior doors should have quality deadbolt locks with no less than a 1″ throw
  • All latch-strike plates on your doors should be secured with at least 3″ screws
  • All exterior doors should be solid hardwood or metal-clad
  • Exterior doors should have wide-angled peepholes at heights everyone can use or a voice intercom system
  • Your doorframe should be strong enough and tight enough to prevent forcing or spreading
  • Door hinges should be protected from removal from the outside
  • Locks should not be able to be reached through a mail slot, delivery port, or pet entrance
  • Install storm and screen doors with adequate locks if you like to leave your front door open during the day
  • Change the locks whenever you move into a new home
  • Do not place spare keys under a doormat, in a planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox. Give them to a trusted neighbor.
  • Be sure to trim your landscaping so that it does not block the view of entry ways into your home from the street or public areas
  • Exterior entrances should be lighted properly
  • Be sure to always lock your doors when you are home and every time you leave your residence

 

Sliding Glass Doors:

  • Make sure your sliding panel is secured from being removed from the track
  • Your sliding glass door should have at least one of the following:
    • Track lock
    • Insertion pin lock
    • Hinged door bar
    • Metal or wooden dowel in track

 

Garage Doors:

  • The door from your garage to your living quarters should have locks that are sufficient for an exterior door, because this door is also an entry/exit door for your security system
  • The door from the garage to your living quarters should be made of metal or solid wood
  • If your overhead garage door is equipped with an automatic opener make sure it uses a “rolling code” to deter “code grabbers”
  • Overhead garage doors should be kept closed and locked at all times
  • To avoid leaving your overhead garage door open, a remote door position indicator can be installed in the interior of your home to show you that your garage door is either open or closed

 

Windows:

  • Windows should be secured with auxiliary keyed window locks
    • Have your auxiliary window locks installed to allow ventilation while remaining locked
    • Keep the keys readily available for emergencies
  • If you don’t have auxiliary locks make sure your windows are secured by pins, nails, or dowels
  • Windows should have screens or storm windows that lock from the inside
  • Sliding windows should have a dowel in the track to avoid being pried open
  • Basement windows should have a second lock or be covered with a grate or grille
  • Always leave one opening as fire exit
  • Place security bars around windows with portable air condition units
  • Trees and shrubbery should be kept trimmed back from upper floor windows
  • Ladders should be stored where an intruder cannot access them
  • Replace or repair any broken window as soon as possible
  • Always make sure all windows are securely closed and locked, even if you are just leaving for a few minutes

 

Outdoor Security:

  • Keep areas around your house, garage,or yard lit at night
  • Outside entrances should have a bright, working light to illuminate visitors
  • Motion sensors are a great way to control your exterior lighting
  • Your house number should be clearly displayed and at least 4″ tall with a contrasting background on post near your street and/or on your home
  • Use big, bold numbers on your mailbox
  • Never put your name on your mailbox
  • All outdoor storage sheds, pool houses, or other exterior buildings should be kept locked
  • Bicycles, grills, and other valuables should be locked away or locked to a stationary point
  • Fence and gate latches should be kept locked by a weatherproof padlock
  • All vehicles should be kept locked and windows shut
  • Plant prickly or thorny shrubbery near windows to discourage loitering or hiding
  • If you travel often or spend a lot of time in your backyard, consider having a surveillance camera system installed to monitor the exterior of your home
  • Displaying alarm company signs, neighborhood watch signs, or dog decals on windows or in your yard can be a deterrent for burglars

 

Interior Security:

  • Use automatic timers for lights
  • Always arm your security system
  • Keep window shades and blinds closed when you are not at home
  • When answering your door make sure you know who it is before opening the door
  • When recording your answering machine message make sure not give out your name, any times you may not be home, or any unnecessary information
  • Keep an up-to-date inventory of the valuables inside your home. Your records should include makes, models, serial numbers, photographs, and videos (Do not keep these records in your home – secure them in a safety deposit box)
  • Engrave your driver’s license number (not your social security number) on valuable items that could be stolen
  • Use a fire rated safe or safety deposit box for valuable items and paperwork

 

While on Vacation:

  • Do yard work before you leave
  • Discontinue mail and newspaper service when away for an extended period of time
  • Arrange for a friend or neighbor to come by and check on your home
  • Do not leave a message on your answering machine letting callers know you are away
  • Leave a radio on and tuned to a talk-radio station
  • Set at least two timers to turn the lights on and off in a logical sequence
  • Set a timer for your television or radio to allude that someone is home
  • Leave a vehicle in your driveway or ask a neighbor to park at your house

 

Your Alarm System:

  • Always use your system
  • Be cautious about who you give your alarm codes and keyfobs to
  • Since many people are desensitized to sirens and alarms, make sure your alarm is connected to a central station where authorities can be dispatched if needed
  • In case your telephone service is disrupted, a back-up cellular connection is an important added security measure for alarms connected to central stations
  • Be sure to test your system weekly and have your alarm company service your system on an annual basis