- Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead bolt lock. Key in the knob locks are not enough.
- Sliding glass doors can offer easy access for would be burglars. Consider installing commercially available locks and / or "Charlie Bars" to prevent the door from being lifted off of the track. Also, an effective lock can be created by simply drilling a hole in the frame and inserting a pin or nail.
- Lock double-hung windows with key locks and secure basement windows with grills or grates.
- Instead of hiding keys outside of your home, give an extra key to a trusted neighbor or friend.
- When you move into a new home or apartment, re-key all locks!
- All outside doors should be metal or solid wood.
- Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains offer little protection.
- Replace doors that do not fit snuggly.
- Install outside lighting around your home, and if not motion activated, leave them on at night.
- Prune your shrubbery and trees to prevent hiding doors and windows from common observation.
- Cut trees that might offer access to upper levels to your home.
- Clearly display your house number so police and EMS personnel can find your home quickly.
- If you are going to be away, install timers that will activate lights throughout your home during the evening hours. Lights left burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
- Make a list of all valuables in your home and record all serial numbers and full descriptions. Consider videotaping and / or photographing your valuables.
- Check several companies before you buy. Do business with an established company and check references before signing a contract.
- Less expensive options include motion sensors that plug into outlets or light fixtures. Contact your home improvement center for the latest options.
Remember, most burglars will spend no more than 60 seconds attempting to break into your home. Strong locks, sound doors and good lighting can be big deterrents to burglars.
Start or join a Neighborhood Watch program.
National Crime Prevention Council, Crime Prevention Tips.