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Security Tips

Nothing can guarantee against a break in but the following tips go a long way to deterring would be burglars.

First, please note that 9 out of 10 convicted burglars said they would avoid a house with a security system.

Exterior Doors and Windows

  • Make sure exterior doors are equipped with brand name deadbolts with steel strikes.
  • If they are hollow-core, replace them with solid wood, fiberglass or steel.
  • To secure sliding glass doors, add a bolt lock or use a wood or metal bar to block the door closed. When visible, it will also deter break in attempts.
  • Do the same with double-hung windows.
  • Windows and doors left open invite entry. Be aware of easily accessible windows and sliders on the second floor above the garage or porch roof or near a balcony.
  • Most home burglaries occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., so get in the habit of locking all doors and windows whenever you go out. Some thieves are opportunistic. They will try to open your door. If it's locked, they will simply go to another house and try until they find an unlocked house.

Lighting

  • To keep ambience up and energy usage down, we recommend the use of photocells to sense daylight as well as motion detection to sense presence.
  • Try to eliminate shadows that may act as suitable hiding spots.
  • Uplighting trees is attractive but don’t miss lighting up entry ways and windows to deter burglars.
  • Light pathways to improve safety through visibility.
  • Set up timed events for when you’re away after dark to give your home a lived in look.

Landscaping

  • Be sure to plant appropriately sized plants in front of windows and doorways. A burglar will look for spots to attempt break ins that don’t draw attention.
  • Trim any branches that may help gain access to a window.
  • Padlock your backyard gate and have a fence. This will make it a bit more difficult for prowlers to wander in your backyard.

Valuables

  • Don’t announce your latest purchase to the public. Break down boxes and turn them inside out so as not to broadcast what new, valuable item was just added to your home.
  • Keep your valuables out of sight from windows.
  • Use an etching pen to mark an ID number, like your driver's license number, on valuables.
  • Take pictures an make an inventory of valuables in your household and store it somewhere other than your home, such as in a safe deposit box.
  • If you are a gun collector, consider renting a P.O. box to receive your gun or hunting magazines. Organised crime rings have been know to find out where to get guns through magazine subscription information.

Personal Safety

  • Install peepholes in all exterior doors so you can identify whoever is outside.
  • Never open the door to a stranger. Do not rely on a door safety chain, because these can be broken easily.
  • If you expect an authority or other professional but don’t personally know them, ask for identification before opening the door
  • If one comes unexpectedly, double check their identity with their company. Get that number yourself as if they are a criminal they will be prepared with a phone number that has an accomplice at the other end of the call.
  • Once you open your door, your locks can’t do their job of protecting you.
  • If you have a cellphone, keep it in your bedroom at night. If a burglar cuts your landline telephone wire before breaking in, you will still be able to call police from your bedroom.

Keys

  • If you can find them in a hiding place, so can a criminal. They will look in the mailbox, under the mat, under a planter, etc.
  • Be careful who gets your keys. Having someone you trust hold extras can be great but each key that gets handed out adds to the chance that they can be lost.
  • If any of your keys get lost or if a prior occupant might have a copy – get your locks rekeyed.
  • Don't put your name or address on your key ring (or those that are lent out – initials are fine), because it might lead a thief right to your door with key in hand.
  • When having a car parked or serviced, leave only the car keys.
  • Don't leave your purse unattended, such as in a grocery store cart. It only takes a moment for a someone to take your keys and your address out of your purse, while leaving your purse in the cart. While you are finishing your groceries unaware that your keys are missing, the burglar can be in your home.

Vacation/Out of Town

  • Have some preset lighting scenes set to run while you’re gone to offer a lived in look. If you’ve got shade control, set this as part of a daily automated routine as well.
  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery while you’re out so they don’t pile up.
  • Don’t leave a voice mail message saying you’re away or on vacation
  • Ask a neighbor or friend to take your garbage and recycling out and back in and regularly clear away flyers.
  • Have your lawn mowed while you’re away.
  • When going away on a holiday, fold your address card that is in your clear luggage tag so that your home address is not visible. Or use your workplace address. Professional burglar rings will note addresses of travelers at the departing airport or when travalers arrive at tourist destinations and then relay that information back to their associates in your home city.
  • If you are going to use a taxi or a limousine to take you the airport, or to a train or to a bus station for your holidays, go to a friend's house with your luggage to be picked up so as to avoid it being known that you will be away.
  • Don't brag and tell everyone about your upcoming out of town vacation. Show everyone pictures when you get back.

Security System

  • Have your system designed, engineered and installed by an expert. Too much is at stake to not take advantage of experienced professionals.
  • Be sure to pay special attention to functional placement of not just cameras and motion detectors but of control interfaces such as keypads and touch panels we well.
  • Let people know you have a security system. Post signs and stickers and let your friends, family and neighbors know you have a system and use it.
  • If you have elderly or incapacitated friends or relatives, check to make sure their security devices are all in good working order.
  • If a marketing company phones you about getting an alarm system installed, tell them that you already have one that is monitored. Don`t tell them over the phone that you don`t have an alarm.
  • They will ask: "Is your alarm monitored?" Career criminals will call to find out if you have a monitored alarm system.

Fire

  • Have properly installed, high quality smoke detectors installed.
  • To make sure firefighters can find your house quickly if a residential fire alarm is triggered, post your address prominently and have your lighting tied into your alarm system so it will flash outside during an emergency and turn on inside to aid in escape.
  • The heating and cooling system can also be triggered to shut down so smoke is not spread and more oxygen isn’t feeding the fire.
  • Keep a properly maintained and current fire extinguisher in the kitchen, garage and master bedroom. You may be able to catch a fire in its early stages and prevent disaster.
  • Maintain your landscape to eliminate dead vegetation that could catch fire and use fire-resistant plants.
  • Store firewood and other combustibles away from your home, and keep the lid on your trash can.
  • Clean your gutters regularly. Dry leaves and evergreen needles in rain gutters can easily catch fire.
  • To prevent sparks or embers from wildfires from entering and igniting your home, place screens with openings of ½" or smaller over all attic and foundation vents.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

  • Install a quality CO detector and to make it more effective, tie it into your alarm and automation system so lights outside will flash to make your home easy for emergency personnel to spot while the inside lights come on to assist in exiting and your heating and cooling systems will turn off so the CO will not spread throughout the house.
  • Any fuel-burning appliance can emit carbon monoxide gas, so be sure such appliances are vented directly to the outside and keep fresh air circulating in your home.
  • Have your heating system checked for carbon monoxide emissions before the heating season begins and consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Check your kitchen range, fireplaces and water heater for carbon monoxide emissions periodically.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected every year, crack a window or door slightly to allow proper airflow, and keep the damper open until the fire is completely out.
  • Never run your car engine for more than a few moments in a garage or other enclosed area, even if the door is open.

Other

  • If there's a Neighborhood Watch Program in your community, join it. If there's not, start one.
  • Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to your local police.
  • Get to know your neighbors. When they know you, they will be more likely to look out for you.
  • Some burglars scan newspapers for wedding and funeral announcements and special community and holiday events that might take you out of your home, so be especially careful on these occasions.
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