Basic Home Security

Don't let burglars make their way into your home. Take a few basic steps to crime-proof your property before tragedy strikes.

Some experts claim that the crime rate is increasing, especially criminal acts that occur in one's own home. Robbery, vandalism, and assault can be deterred by performing a few maintenance and preventative actions.

1. Check with the local police or sheriff's office. Find out what the patrol schedule is in your area. Mention any general concerns you have for personal safety as well as specific events you have observed or heard neighbors talk about. Ask about the fastest way to reach law enforcement officials in the event of an attempted robbery or other crime on your property. Report any suspicious activity, such as a stranger's loitering, strange footprints, or unusual telephone calls or visitors at the door.

2. Examine all the windows in your home, from attic to basement. Make sure the frames are sturdy and the locks secure. Don't forget to make the rounds of your home at night to make sure all windows are closed and locked. Consider having glass block windows installed in your basement to prevent intruders from entering your home by that route. Keep windows covered with blinds or curtains at night to prevent peepers from looking in.

3. Place indoor peepholes in entrance doors to your home. That way you can see who is knocking at the door or standing on the porch. Get dead-bolt locks added for extra protection to the doors that lead outside your home. Each evening have a family member check the door locks to be sure they are latched. Occasionally jostle the door handle to see if it is loose or if the locks will hold. Tighten loose screws and replace worn handles, latches, bolts, chains, or locks.

4. Install outdoor lighting for your property. Porch lights, garage lights, and motion sensor lighting can help to frighten away mischievous teens, unwanted animals, or criminals bent on trouble. You may want to leave on a small indoor light, like the ones that typically are installed over the stove or sink, while you are out of town to let observers think that someone is at home. Keep flashlights beside your bed, and check the batteries frequently to be sure they still work, in the event that you hear an unusual sound somewhere else in the house. A flashlight will let you dial a phone without turning on the whole-room light.

5. Think about getting a security system. Even a simple watchdog can help to scare away burglars, according to a recent study. As burglars should know, a large dog's throaty growl or even a small animal's persistent yapping can awaken the home's residents, allowing them to call the police. In a larger home or more questionable neighborhood, you may want to install a security system. Set it each night, and if tampered with, the alarm should go off either at your home to wake you up and scatter would-be criminals or at the police station to bring help on the double.

If you can't afford the cost or hassle of hiring a security guard, try tips like these to make your home safer.

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