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Home Security Tips

There's no place like home . . . until someone breaks into your house. Here are some tips to help thwart intruders and make your home more secure.

Secure all doors and windows

  • Install doors that are solid or made of metal--hollow doors can be easily broken.
  • Make sure that all doors fit well into their frames--there should be no more than one-eighth of an inch of space between the door and frame.
  • Whenever possible, use a dead-bolt lock--the bolt should be at least 1½ inches long. You may also want to consider installing double-cylinder dead-bolt locks.
  • Lock all doors leading to the outside, including screen and storm doors, garage doors, cellar doors, and patio or porch doors. Be sure to lock second-floor patio and deck doors, too.
  • Door locks should be at least 40 inches away from windows, mail slots, or any other likely place for someone to reach in and unlock the door.
  • Make sure that door hinges are on the inside of your home.
  • Use chain bolts as a supplement to a lock on your doorknob--make sure that the chain is short enough so the door won't open wide enough for someone to reach in and unlock the chain.
  • Install a peephole in your front door.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with bars or locks, and place a wooden dowel in the door track.
  • Make sure that all windows have locks, especially those at ground level.
  • Whenever possible, use key locks, grates, or grilles on windows.
  • Keep your garage door closed to prevent someone from seeing what's inside--if your garage door has windows, get them frosted.
  • Have a secure lock on your garage door.
  • If your garage has a separate side door, make sure it has a secure lock.

Secure the outside of your home

  • Install lights around your driveway, garage, and backyard
  • Use motion-detector lights to surprise and scare away intruders
  • Make sure that the perimeter of your house is clear of trees, bushes, trellises, or air-conditioning units that would allow someone to gain access through a second-floor window
  • Eliminate hiding places around your home--trim trees and bushes
  • Never hide your house key outdoors--leave your key with a neighbor instead

When you're away from home . . .

  • Leave some lights on--use a timer, if possible
  • Leave the television or radio on
  • Have someone collect your mail and newspapers
  • Hire someone to mow your lawn or shovel your driveway while you're away
  • Hide your valuables

Install an alarm system

Alarm systems are an excellent way to prevent someone from breaking into your home. Most operate by alerting the alarm company or police as soon as the alarm is activated by an intruder. Many different kinds of systems are available at varying costs, so do some research and shop around before you purchase a system. Just be sure to purchase your system from a licensed alarm company.