Dos and don'ts for home security

Keeping your house safe from burglars is mostly a matter of making it look like it's more trouble than it's worth for thieves to break in. Here are do and don't tips to keep your home safe from burglars.

Dos and don'ts for home security

Do:

  • Build a fence with gates around your property (but don't obscure windows).
  • Store valuables in a fireproof, waterproof safe.
  • Establish neighbourhood watch programs, and post signs that area homes are being watched.
  • Program your local police precinct on your phone's autodial or post the number near the phone.
  • Replace hollow-core outside doors with steel doors.
  • Install a wide-angle (180-degree) peephole in your front door. Simply drill a hole to put it in. If the bell rings and you don't see anyone through the peephole, don't open the door.
  • To keep intruders from lifting a sliding door out of its frame from the outside, drive a couple of screws partway into the top track on the inside. No one will be able to lift out the doors without removing the screws first.
  • Install decorative grillwork over low windows (unless that violates local building or fire codes).
  • Add keyed pin locks to all windows, even on the second floor. Burglars know how to use ladders.
  • Trim shrubbery bordering your home. Doing so both allows you a clear view through your windows, and prevents burglars from lying in wait behind them.
  • Install dead bolts on outside doors.
  • Secure cellar or basement doors that lead to the outside sliding crossbars from the inside.
  • Reset your garage door opener. This will keep thieves who carry collections of standard transmitters from finding one that will open your garage.

Don't:

  • Leave cartons from new computers, TVs or appliances outside the house. They let burglars know you have expensive new equipment inside.
  • Leave ladders in plain sight. The same goes for tools that can be used to break into your home.
  • Put your name on your mailbox. That's information a burglar can use to phone you and find out whether you're at home.
  • Leave an extra key unsecured. Keep it mounted on the wall and closed with a combination lock. Only give the combination to people you want to have access to your house.
  • Rely on door chains. They can be broken easily. Opt instead for dead bolts.
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