With this in mind, the security experts at Schlage have come up with a Top 10 list of things you can do help to keep your family and home from becoming crime targets.
1. Make sure each exterior door has a solid core and is protected by a high-quality deadbolt, including the door linking the garage and house. Also, secure all windows with quality locks -- even those on the second floor.
2. Invest in a home-security system with central monitoring, and if you move into a home that already has a security system, change the entry code.
3. Keep your property well lit at night and install motion sensors on exterior lights. The last thing a burglar wants is a spotlight shining on him as he creeps up to the house. Also keep your landscaping trimmed so shrubs don't hide your windows and consider planting prickly shrubbery near windows (think holly bushes).
4. Never leave your home unlocked and don’t “hide” spare keys outside -- crooks will find them. Even better, consider installing a keypad lock on your front door so you don’t have to worry about keys. While we’re talking about the outside, remember to use a padlock or cable lock to secure gates and fences around your home.
5. Working parents with latchkey kids should consider a remote entry/home-management system that lets you use your cell phone to monitor cameras at home, unlock doors, turn lights on and off and receive text alerts when the kids come home from school.
6. If you’re going away, even for a few days, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house and collect newspapers and mail (or have deliveries stopped until you return). Also, put a few lights on timers so it looks like someone is home.
7. Don’t let your kids play alone outside or in public places.
8. Never put your child’s name on clothes, jewelry, hats, back packs and other belongings that people can readily see.
9. Teach your children to never say “I am home alone” when they answer the phone. Tell them to let the answering machine pick up or say “my mom and dad are busy and can’t come to the phone.”
10. If your child rides a bike to school, make sure he or she has a high-quality bike lock and remind him/her to attach the bike to a secure object (like a bike rack).
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