Welcome to our Locks and Home Security Tips section. This area focuses on keeping your home safe and secure. Typically a burglar will only spend about 60 seconds attempting to break in to a building. Anything you do to increase the time spent to gain entry will decrease the likelihood of a theft occurring.

There are a number of steps that you can take, many of them inexpensive, to persuade a burglar that this is not the building for them.

Home Security Tips

Locks & Keys

  • The first thing to remember about locks and keys is to keep keys out of circulation. The potential for theft by use of unauthorized keys is staggering. Just think of all the people who have keys, from housekeepers to childcare providers to valet parking attendants. Then, think of all the places where duplicate keys can be made, from hardware stores to shoe repair shops.
  • Change all locks when moving into a new house or apartment.
  • Do not leave spare keys in obvious places like under flowers pots or welcome
  • Do not have identifying tags on your key ring that provide thieves with personal information such as your name and address.
  • Buy locks with keys that cannot be easily duplicated such as Medeco High Security Locks.
  • Look for specialized keys that require your authorization to make copies and can only be duplicated by a professional locksmith.

Doors & Windows

  • When protecting your home from break-ins, check the easiest points of entry: doors and windows.
  • Choose solid wood or steel doors as hollow wood doors can be easily kicked in.
  • Install doors with the hinges that cannot be removed.
  • Do not leave gaps around doors and frames that would make doors vulnerable to prying.
  • Reinforce security on sliding glass doors by placing a metal or solid wood rod on the inside track.
  • Watch the electric garage door close completely when you come and go so that someone cannot sneak under as it closes.
  • Make sure back doors and the door that connects your garage to you home are solid and secured with high security deadbolt locks.
  • Make sure your windows can be securely locked.

Landscaping & Lights

  • Remove trees or branches of trees close to your home that give burglars access to upper levels.
  • Make it difficult for potential burglars to navigate through your yard and approach entry points. Plant low thorny bushes below your windows.
  • Trim your trees and shrubbery; don’t give burglars somewhere to hide.
  • Keep your lawn well maintained so that they know that the house is attended to and constantly inhabited.
  • In addition to keeping your yard neatly trimmed and well cared for, keep it well lighted. Burglars prefer to operate in the dark.
  • Install porch lights, and be attentive to burned out bulbs.
  • Install motion sensitive lights: they will not only make you feel safer when approaching your home after dark, but they will also deter criminals who don’t want to be seen.
  • When you go out in the evening, leave a light on, preferably on each floor.

Neighborhoods

  • Be aware of the physical details, people and happenings in your neighborhood.
  • When moving, call the police and find out the frequency of burglaries in your new neighborhood and how they have occurred, so you know how to protect yourself.
  • Do not let strangers into your home, especially when they offer free services such as free inspections of your roof, furnace or air conditioners. If you are not sure about a worker even after asking for identification, call the company.
  • Tell your neighbors about suspicious strangers, including a description of the suspect and his procedure.
  • Do not go in the house if you suspect there is a stranger inside. Use a neighbor’s phone or your wireless phone to call police immediately.

Vacation Security

  • When leaving for vacation, take steps to secure your home while you are away.
  • Do not be overly communicative about your vacation schedule or even your day to day schedule.
  • Do not tell people you aren’t at home on the outgoing message of your answering machine.
  • Put timers on indoor lights, televisions and radios. Specifically, look for timers with random patterns that suggest movement and activity in the house.
  • Erase the message on your answering machine often, so it isn’t obvious you’re out of town.
  • Secure all lock on doors and windows, including garage and pet doors.
  • Use new, quality, long-lasting light bulbs.
  • Arrange to have your yard maintained, including having your driveway shoveled or lawn mowed.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and check inside and outside of your house every day.
  • Do not close all shades and curtains, it will be too obvious that you are away.

Smart Tips

  • Be proactive about your home security.
  • Do not display valuables to the outside world.
  • Dogs really are a deterrent. Not only do they frighten intruders, but they also warn you.
  • Do not provide access to your keys. For example, auto repair or valet parking attendants can make copies of standard keys within minutes and they have access to your address on your registration.