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
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 hard 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