How to Prevent a Home Burglary
- · Invest in solid doors and good quality locks on doors and windows. This includes on all sliding glass doors as well. Make it not only difficult but also time consuming for a burglar to gain entry.
- · Whenever you go outside, lock the door and take the key with you, even if you are just stepping next door or out mowing the back yard.
- · Don't put valuables where they can be seen from the window, especially items that can be easily carried.
- · Be sure your garage door can be secured. Do not leave it open when you are away; an empty garage broadcasts your absence.
- · When you aren't home, use a timer set to turn interior lightson and off at varyingintervals as though your home was still occupied.
- · Don't keep large amounts of cash or really valuable jewelry around the house.
- · If someone comes to your door asking to use the telephone, make the call yourself. Don't invite them in.
- · Don't hide a spare key under the door mat or under a flower pot. Thieves know all the good hiding places.
- · Plant thorny bushes under all windows. Trim back any trees or shrubs near doors and windows to eliminate hiding places for would-be theives.
- · Invest in a good security system along with motion sensor lights installed out of reach
- · Don't leave ladders outside. Keep any tools that could be used to break in your home safely locked away in a garage or shed.
- · Get a barking dog or "beware of dog" signs. If you own a dog and go out of town, have someone come in and care for your dog in your home.
- · Always double check doors at night and lock all windows.
- · Engrave all valuables such as stereos, microwaves, videocameras, with your driver's license number. (Engraving tools are available through the Larchmont Police Department.) Videotape the contents of your home. Keep the video and the list of all valuables in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
- Tips on Securing Doors and Windows
- · Exterior Doors: Many residential doors are of wood hollow-core construction and have poor locks. They are easily forced or kicked open. If you want better protection, you need to install solid doors and quality locks. For maximum protection, use metal doors. Do not use doors with glass panels.
- · Arcadia (sliding glass) Doors: Many burglars enter homes through poorly protected sliding glass doors. Additional locks and security measures here will prevent the door from being opened or lifted out of the track. Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in, from each corner of the sliding door frame section and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth. Auxilliary patio door locks may also be purchased and install easily.
- · Double Doors: These doors need solid security as they are easily jimmied or forced open. Flush lever bolts installed at the top and bottom of the doors are recommended. Make sure the bolt is long, sturdy and mounted into a solid door frame.
- · Doors with Windows: Doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation require double key deadbolt locks. This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door. The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home (this is necessary to ensure easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency).
- · Garage Doors: Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space. The door leading from the garage into the house should be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against the burglar, the better protected you are.
- · Hinges : Many homes have doors which open to the outside, exposing the hinge pins. Despite your good strong lock, the burglar can remove the pins and lift the door from the frame. To prevent this, remove two opposing screws from each leaf of the hinge. Screw a long lag bolt into the frame side of the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about 1/2 inch protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom hinge plates. The hinge pins can now be removed by the burglar but the door will remain firmly in place. This technique is good for any door, no matter how the hinges have been placed.
- · Door Viewers: In order to avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, install a door viewer. This device has a wide angle lens to let you see someone standing outside your door without opening it.
- · Spring Latch : Some homes come equipped with this lock. It offers very little protection. The bolt can be slipped with a credit card or knife. This same lock, with a deadbolt latch, provides more protection, but it too can be forced open.
- · Deadbolt Locks : A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure:
- · The bolt extends at least one inch from the edge of the door.
- · The connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door.
- · The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least three inches in length.
- · The cylinder has a steel guard around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted.
- · Single Cylinder Deadbolt A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the door frame. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame they are installed in.
- · Double Cylinder Deadbolt This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function.
- · Rim Lock This lock has either horizontal or vertical deadbolts. It cannot be easily slipped, pried or forced with a wrench. This lock, like all others, requires a strong mounting surface and hardware to be effective.
- · Padlocks When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage shed, fence gate or tool box, do not economize. Low priced locks are made from low quality materials and easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock:
- · Double locking shackle at the toe and heel
- · Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better
- · Five pin tumbler
- · Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked)
- · A strong steel hasp should be used with the padlock
- · Sliding Windows: Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment as arcadia doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.
- · Casement - Crank Windows: These windows are easily secured. The latch should close properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle. Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window.
- · For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in case of emergency.
- · Double Hung Windows An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt which is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders. You may also purchase special key locks for windows at a hardware store.