Here are a few simple security steps:
Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors should be metal or solid hardwood, and at least 1.75-inches thick. Frames must be made of equally strong material, and each door must fit its frame securely. Even the most efficient lock, if it is placed in a weak door, will not keep out a determined burglar.
A peephole or a wide-angle viewer in the door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain.
Sliding glass doors present a special problem because they are easy to open, but if you have these doors, you can find special locks for them. A broomstick in the door channel can also help, but cannot be depended on.
Deadbolt locks are best. They usually are locked with a key from the outside and a thumb turn on the inside. The cylinder (where the key is inserted) should be pick-resistant. Ask your hardware dealer for a reputable brand or buy your locks from a locksmith.
Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by "pinning" the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside.
For windows at street level or on fire escapes, consider installing metal accordion gates.
Helpful Home Security Habits
- Establish a routine to make certain that doors and windows are locked and alarm systems are turned on.
- Avoid giving information to unidentified telephone callers and announcing your personal plans in want ads or public notices (such as giving your address when advertising items for sale).
- Notify the police if you see suspicious strangers in your area.
- Don't carry house keys on a key ring bearing your home address or leave house keys with your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant.
- Don't hide your keys in "secret" places outside your home – burglars usually know where to look.
- Leave blinds open in their usual position.
- Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
- Lower the sound of your telephone ringer and answering machine so they can't be heard outside.
- Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
- Stop newspaper deliveries.
- Ask a friend to pick up "throw-away" newspapers and circulars.
- Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times. Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
- Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what's happening in your area – working closely with them is a good way to prevent crime.
Courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute (http://www.iii.org/)