Home Safety Information
Many crimes against property are crimes of “opportunity.” If property is easily accessible, then the chance of it being stolen is much higher. Listed below are suggestions to help deter potential burglars, secure your home, and protect your family and property.
Doors and locks
The most common point of illegal entry to any building is the door. Make your house as difficult as possible to enter. Below are tips for securing doors:
- Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points, including garage and back doors.
- Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch bolt.
- Use a heavy-duty, four-screw strike plate mounted with 3-inch screws that penetrate into a wooded door frame.
- Have a peep-hole in the door so you do not have to open it to see who is outside.
- Avoid doors with glass panels and sidelights. These are easily broken allowing the burglar to reach in and unlock the deadbolt.
- For sliding glass doors, insert a wooden dowel or stick into the track to limit or prevent movement. Older sliding doors can be lifted from their tracks, so install anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws.
Remember, LOCK YOUR DOORS, even when you are home!
Windows are left unlocked and open at a much higher rate than doors. An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for a burglar to select your home. Consider the following tips:
Keep windows closed and locked when you are not home.
If a window must be left open, it should be no more than 6 inches with a blocking device (wooden dowel) to prevent the sliding window from opening further. Be sure a burglar can not reach in a partially opened window and remove the blocking device.
Use crime prevention or alarm decals on windows that are accessible on the ground floor.
Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night. Light timers are inexpensive and readily available. Proper exterior lighting is also critical. Ensure that walkways and doorways are properly lighted. Motion-sensitive lighting on the rear of the house is highly recommended. Remember:
- Use interior light timers to establish the perception of occupancy in the residence.
- Exterior lighting should allow 100 feet of visibility
- Use proper lighting along walkways and at your door.
- Use motion sensor lights on the rear of your residence.
Alarm systems have a definite place in home security but are only effective if used properly. If an alarm system is installed, it should be advertised with signs or decals to serve as a deterrent for potential burglars. The system should have an audible alarm that automatically shuts off after 1-2 minutes. The burglar will be long gone and the automatic shut off goes a long way for neighborly relations. Your neighbors should be aware that you have an alarm system in the event of activation. If you choose to install an alarm system, remember:
- Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage.
- Alarm systems need to be properly installed, programmed, and maintained.
- Alarm systems need to have an audible horn or bell to be effective.
- Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date.
- Instruct a neighbor how to respond to an alarm activation.
Shrubs and bushes near your house should be trimmed below windows and well maintained. Be aware of trees, downspouts, or latticework that would allow access to the upper floors.
One of the best deterrents for any type of criminal activity in your neighborhood is having a healthy relationship with your neighbors. Good neighbors look out for each other. Get to know your immediate neighbors well, including those across the street. They have the best view of your home and are more likely to notice unusual activity. Giving a trusted neighbor a key eliminates the problem of hiding a spare key outside your home. If your neighbor is on vacation, pick up their newspapers, flyers, mail, etc.
The above steps can go a long way in securing your home from intruders. However, if the unthinkable does occur, a detailed inventory of household items will aid law enforcement in their quick recovery. When taking pictures during holidays or birthdays, snap a few shots of the new television or DVD player that was received as a gift. This will help identify the item and assist your insurance company with any claim that may be filed. Record serial numbers on the owner’s manual and store the manuals in a safe place. Engraving initials or a driver’s license number (not your social security number) on items is also effective.
There are many ways to protect your home. In the end, a good relationship with your neighbors and a sense of ownership in your neighborhood or on your street is what really keeps people safe. Make an effort to know your neighbors. Try to notice things that may be “out of place” in your area. Call us immediately if something needs to be checked. The Greensburg Police Department would much rather check out something that is legitimate, than miss something that is not.