* PHYSICAL PROTECTION: Make sure that all protective measures installed meet the fire and life safety standards for your type of building.
1. Make sure that all exterior single-swing wooden doors are of solid-core or paneled construction, with a minimum thickness of 1-3/4 inches.
2. Install a wide-angle (180 degree) peephole. This device enables you to identify persons at the door without them seeing you.
3. Hinges should be located on the inside or have non-removable pins.
4. Adjust exterior sliding-glass patio type doors so that they cannot be lifted up in their tracks to defeat their locks. One way to do this is to install a few sheet-metal screws in the top track with their heads nearly touching the top of the door when it is closed.
1. Doorknob locks offer no security. Defeating these locks is one of the most common means of forced entry. Chains do not provide security either. They are only good for privacy. All exterior doors should have an additional deadbolt lock.
2. Install single cylinder deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Bolts should have a minimum throw of 1 inch. Strike plates should have screws that are at least 3 inches long.
3. On all exterior double doors, install flush bolts installed at the top and bottom of the inactive door. These should be made of steel and have a minimum throw of inch.
4. Install locking devices on all exterior sliding-glass patio type doors. These doors should have deadbolt locks as well as secondary locking devices, the simplest of which is a wooden stick that is placed in the lower track to prevent the door from opening. Better security can be obtained from thumbscrew type locks that are mounted on both the top and bottom tracks.
5. Install good locks on all doors that lead outside throughout garages or storage areas.
6. Re-key or change all locks when moving into a new home.
* GOOD SECURITY PRACTICES:
1. You and your home will not be safe unless you follow good security practices. These tips will help make your protective measures effective.
2. Keep all doors and windows locked, even if you are just going out "for a minute". If a window is left open a few inches for ventilation, it should be locked to prevent someone from opening it more.
3. Lock gates, garages and sheds after each use.
4. Store bicycles, mowers, etc in a locked garage or shed, or secure them to some stationary point.
5. Don't leave notes on your door when you are away from home.
6. Don't leave keys in mailboxes or planters, under doormats or in other obvious hiding spots. Leave an extra key with a neighbor.
7. Learn to recognize who belongs in your neighborhood, development or apartment, i.e., residents, workers, guests, etc.
8. Know who's at your door before opening it. Check photo registration card before dealing with any solicitors, peddlers, interviewers, etc.
9. Be suspicious of persons making unsolicited offers of services.
10. Post a NO SOLICITING sign if you don't want any solicitor to ring your doorbell, knock on your door or make any other sound to attract your attention.
11. Ask for photo identification before letting in anyone you don't know. Check out the identification with the company or agency if you are suspicious.
12. Never let a stranger enter your home to use the telephone. Offer to make the call yourself in an emergency.
13. Don't give your name or whereabouts on your answering machine message. Never say you aren't home.
14. Don't leave your home keys on a chain with your vehicle keys when you use valet parking. Also, don't leave your garage door opener where it is easily accessible. Keep your vehicle registration, proof of insurance and any other papers with your home address on them where a criminal is not likely to find them.
15. Don't give maids, babysitters, valets or others working in your home access to your home keys.
16. Call the police.
* DETERRENT MEASURES - DOGS: In most cases, dogs act as a psychological deterrent and can be an excellent supplement to a security system provided the animal can be relied upon to give warning when warning is needed. Dogs can scare a stranger away by either barking or looking fierce. But remember that they can be lured away, poisoned, killed or even stolen. Trained attack dogs are not recommended because the risk of liability to the owner is great should the dog attack an innocent person. Outside dogs should be kept in a fenced area with a good lock on the gate.
* DETERRENT MEASURES - ALARMS:
1. There is no way an alarm system can make your home burglar proof. However, a good system can deter and/or detect most nonprofessional burglars and give you some peace of mind. Reputable companies will install and maintain a system that will ring an alarm on the premises and silently signal the company's headquarters for dispatching the police.
2. Once the company representative has made an appraisal of your security needs, ask for a written proposal and a copy of the contract you will have to sign. Make sure the contract lists all the points of protection, the equipment to be installed and the initial and monthly payments. You should also check with your insurance company to see if you qualify for an alarm discount.
* PROVIDING VISIBILITY - LIGHTING:
1. Illuminate your property at night. Don't depend on streetlights or lights from adjoining properties.
2. Leave outside lights on after dark.
3. Make sure there are no shadows or dark areas around the house, garage or yard in which a person could hide.
4. Check lights regularly and replace burnt out bulbs.
5. Protect your lights from vandals with wire covers.
6. Be sure your lights don't shine into the eyes of passing motorists or police patrols
7. Padlock your circuit breaker box to prevent lights from being turned off.
8. Good four-corner exterior lighting is important, particularly when there are dark areas around the house. Floodlights installed under eaves can illuminate these areas and expose anyone next to the house. Timers or photoelectric cells can be used to turn lights on at dusk and off at dawn. And motion sensors can be used to turn lights on when any motion is detected.
1. Trim bushes to less than 3 feet to eliminate possible hiding places, especially near windows, sidewalks and exterior doors.
2. Trim tree canopies to at least 8 feet to allow visibility into your property.
3. Make sure that trees and bushes do not block lights.
* MAINTAINING YOUR PROPERTY:
1. It is important to keep your property in good condition. Criminals are attracted to property in poor condition because they see that the owners or tenants do not care about it.
2. Keep property free of trash, litter, weeds, leaves, dismantled or inoperative vehicles and other things that indicate neglect in caring for your property.
3. Remove graffiti as soon as possible after it is found. This will discourage further vandalism. The graffiti should be covered with matching paint so a "canvas" is not left for the vandals. Hardware or paint stores should be consulted regarding the best products for removing various types of graffiti from specific surfaces without damaging the surface. Extreme care should be used in applying special graffiti.
* PERSONAL SAFETY AT HOME:
1. Always leave your headlights on when arriving home after dark until you have unlocked the garage door or unlocked the front door.
2. When arriving home by private auto or taxi, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.
3. Have the door key in your hand so you can open the door immediately when you return home.
4. If you are a woman alone, list only your first initial and last name on the mailbox or in the telephone directory.
5. When moving into a new apartment or residence, ALWAYS have the locks re-keyed or changed.
6. Know who is at your door before opening it. Wide angle door viewers (180 or 190 degrees) enable you to identify the visitor. You can see the person but they cannot see you.
7. Never rely on chain locks. They are a privacy lock, not a security lock.
8. Never dress in front of windows, always close your drapes.
9. Never let anyone into your home without proper identification. Don't be afraid to ask for identification.
10. Always leave outside lights on after dark, or use motion lights.
11. If you receive a wrong number phone call, don't give out your name or phone number.
12. If you receive an obscene phone call, hang up and call the police.
13. In an apartment building, NEVER be alone in the laundry room.
14. If you suspect anyone is in your home, do not go in . Go to a neighbors house and call the police.
15. If you see or hear anything suspicious, call the police.