1. Leave your outside lights on at night. If your neighborhood is dimly lit, ask your municipal authorities to add streetlights or replace existing bulbs with ones of higher wattage.
2. Invest and maintain reliable dead-bolt door locks and sturdy window latches These devices ward off burglary attempts.
3. Trim tall landscaping to the height of your windowsills. Hedges provide hiding places for would-be burglars.
4. Install peepholes with magnifying lenses on your doors. This lets you see who’s at your door – without opening it.
5. Never leave notes on your door. This includes even when you’re at home.
6. Permanently mark your valuables to make it easier for the police to return them to you if they are stolen. Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers with a state abbreviation work best. Keep a record of marked objects.
7. Tune the stereo or TV to your favorite station when you leave the house. To a burglar it means that someone’s home.
8. Close and lock garage doors. Not only does this protect valuables stored there, it also prevents access to your house.
9. Park an additional car in your driveway or ask a neighbor to park there when away for an overnight trip. It gives the appearance that someone’s always home and prevents burglars from backing a van into the drive for easy loading.
10. If you leave a spare key outside, be creative. Burglars routinely check under flowerpots, welcome mats and on window ledges.
11. Ask a neighbor to collect newspapers and mail when you’re away. If you’ll be gone for an extended period, hire someone to take care of your lawn or even to house sit. Most important, make sure your neighbors know when you will leave and when you will return.
12. Team up with your neighbors and form a crime watch program. Your local police can help you get started.
13. Install a security system. Alarm systems and cameras are easy to use and provide you with an added sense of safety – without limiting your freedom while you’re at home
14. Install high security locks with restricted keys on your front door. This way when a key is given out they will not be able to duplicate that key without your knowledge.
15. If you have a window leading to a fire escape – you may want to add fire department approved gate installed on the window.