Home Security

An excellent source of information for Home and Personal Security is Your Inside Look At Crime Prevention published by the National Crime Prevention Council(2002). Here are some excerpts from that document:

Protecting Your Home

One of the crimes most frequently reported to the police is residential burglary. It’s also the most preventable. It doesn’t take much or cost much to out-smart most burglars. They’re usually not professionals, but rather people taking advantage of an easy target. Burglars may do more than steal things. If they’re surprised by someone coming home or if they choose a home that’s occupied, someone may get hurt.


Make sure all your exterior doors have good locks—at least dead-bolt locks with a minimum one-inch throw.Use the locks you have. Always lock up when you go out, even if only for a few minutes.

  • Make sure outside doors and door frames are solid, 1 3/4″ metal or hardwood.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available bars or locks, or put a wooden dowel or broom handle in the door track.
  • Make sure your windows have good locks, particularly those at ground level. Lock double-hung windows by sliding a small-headed bolt or nail
    through a hole drilled at a slight downward angle in a top corner of the inside sash and partway into the outside sash.
  • Make sure all porches, entrances, and outside areas are well lighted.
  • Trim any bushes or trees that hide doors or windows.Maintain your yard and keep ladders and tools inside when you’re not using them.
    Don’t hide your keys under the doormat or in a flowerpot. That’s the first place burglars look! It’s much better to give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Mark your valuable property like televisions, VCRs, computers, cameras, and stereos with your driver’s license number. Borrow an engraver from the police. Keep a record of your property in a safe place.
  • Consider installing an alarm system for summoning emergency help. Law enforcement agencies can often help you assess your needs.
  • Ask local police to do a security survey.
  • If you park your car outside of your garage, never leave the garage door opener in the car.


Do your part to see that entrances, parking areas, hallways, stairways, laundry rooms, and other common areas are well lighted.Mailboxes should be in a publicly traveled, well-lighted area.

  • Make sure fire stairs are locked from the stairwell side with an appropriate emergency release mechanism. Laundry rooms and storage areas should be kept locked.
  • Use common area locks and encourage your neighbors to do the same.


Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers, and offer to return the favor.

  • Put an automatic timer on at least two lights and a radio. Consider photoelectric sensors to turn outside lights on and off automatically.
  • Tell a trusted neighbor when you’re leaving and when you’ll return. Include an itinerary and phone numbers where you can be reached in
    an emergency.