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How to Secure Your Home

With the exception of some fed parolees, nobody needs to live in lockdown. To be safe, all you have to do is be conscious of your habits and surroundings…and memorize our tips.

Tip 1:
Change all the locks now if you didn’t when you first moved in. Even if the previous owners personally hand you their keys, you don’t know (and they may have forgotten) who had a spare set.

Tip 2:
Lock all windows and doors every time you leave the house -- especially in the morning before work or while you’re running weekend errands. Most burglaries take place between 8 am and 5pm.

Tip 3:
Don’t “hide” the key in your ingenious, secret-yet-convenient spot. If it’s convenient, it’s not secret. The mail box, under the mat, and over the door are all really bad ideas, too.

Tip 4:
Get good locks. Go for high quality, name brand deadbolts. If you get a double cylinder (requires a key on both sides), don’t store the inside key within view, or worse, within arm’s length of a glass window. One simple smash and the bad guys literally have the keys to your castle.

Tip 5:
Thwart thieves. Leave your curtains slightly parted to make it look like someone’s at home. Put some lights on timers. Hook a few staggered timers up to a TV or stereo, too. For sliding doors, drop a metal rod or 2x4 in the track.

Tip 6:
Make sure the hinges to all exterior doors are on the inside. If they’re not, it’s easy to remove the whole door and waltz right over your threshold.

Tip 7:
Light hidden spots and corners as recessed corners and doorways make great hiding places. Install spotlighting and hook it up to a timer so it goes on every night.

Tip 8:
Trim hedges below windows and around doors. Don't let hedges, trees and other landscaping get overgrown to the point where they conceal the area around windows, doors and walkways.

Tip 9:
Hit the button! Alarms won't work unless you turn them on (duh!). Do it before leaving the house and going to bed.

-- Amy Keith

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