1) Be smart with your keys:  Remove the secret, hidden house key. The key under the mat, inside the mailbox, beneath a rock—everybody hides a house key and everyone knows where they are hidden. Give it to a a nearby friend or neighbor, instead.

And don’t leave keys and garage-door remotes in a visible spot. Your car and house keys and garage remotes should not be placed near the door or other visible spots inside your house. Keep them inside a cabinet or a drawer where they are out of sight.

 

2) Hold a household meeting: Make home security a habit, with every member of the household, kids included, and agree to a routine that should include such simple rules as:

  • Use door and window locks. It costs nothing and takes little energy and make it a habit to lock every door and window when leaving, after entering, and before bedtime.
  • Do not open the door to uninvited or unwelcome visitors.
  • Close and lock the garage door.
  • Secure your home even if you’re doing work around the house and yard.
  • Use your alarm system all the time, even when you take a quick trip to the store or visit next-door neighbors.

3) Add signs: Post Custom Security Specialists signs or window stickers near all entryways. If you do not have a security system, post a few “Beware of Dog” signs in visible entry spots around the property.

4) Lock up the ladder: Don’t store a ladder outside. A burglar, perhaps posing as a handyman or contractor, could use it to gain access to a second-floor window or balcony.

5) Light up the outdoors: If you don’t have them already, buy and install outdoor lighting with infrared motion sensors and install one near each point of entry. Replace any burned-out lightbulbs and put your porch lights on timers. Find the best bulbs for outdoor uses.

6) Install timers: When you leave for work or appointments or go on vacation, you can create a “someone’s at home” look using timers on lights and TVs. No surprise, there are lots of gadgets available. Fake TV, for instance, simulates the flickering lights of a television, and from outside, it appears that someone is watching television.

7) Secure air conditioning units: Unsecured window air conditioners could provide an easy entry point for a crook. Use an air conditioner bracket, sliding window lock, or corner braces.

8) Eliminate hiding spots: If your bushes or shrubs are too tall, full, or too close together, you’re providing a nice hiding spot for a potential burglar. Trim and prune plantings.

9) Check windows: Are the window locks operable? If not, get them fixed or replace them. Also consider installing aftermarket window locks, which let you open the window a few inches while still keeping it secure. Another alternative is to use inexpensive window-break alarms.

10) Assess doors and locks: You’re probably not going to be able to install new doors by yourself over a weekend but you can inspect all of your doors throughout your house. Replace hollow doors with solid-core or metal-clad doors.

Sliding-glass doors have a latch to close them but are often an easy point of entry for burglars. To make one more secure, place a wood dowel cut to size or an adjustable safety bar in the interior floor track, or consider adding a floor bolt.

Replace weak locks, since locks are the weakest point on a door. Make sure you have a grade 1 or grade 2 dead-bolt lock that penetrates the door frame. It’s not necessary to get one at a specialty locksmith; these can be purchased at a big-box home store. The strike plate—the stationary piece that the bolt enters—must be heavy duty, made of solid metal or brass, with six three-inch-long screws that penetrate the door jamb and the door frame.