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How To Protect Your Home From Intruders
SAFETY AT YOUR FRONT DOOR
- Never automatically open your front door. Make sure you know your caller's identity before admitting him.
- If the person at your door is a stranger, ask for identification to be passed under the door. If he is unable to do this, do not admit him.
- It is advisable to have a wide angle viewer (peep-hole) in the door so that you can check a person's identity without unlocking your door.
- All doors in your home leading to the outside should have dead-bolt locks.
- When away at night, leave a light burning.
- Do not leave a key over a door or under a mat.
- The single lock on a garage door is inadequate to keep intruders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in. Use a padlock. But never leave it unlocked. This is an invitation to have the padlock removed so that a key can be made, and the lock returned to its position. Later, the burglar returns when no one is home and enters at his leisure, using "his" key.
- Mark your valuables and keep an accurate record of all your most valuable possessions.
- When leaving on a trip:
- stop all deliveries
- Connect a light to a timer
- Notify the police and have a neighbor check your home periodically
- Have someone maintain your lawn.
- Be a concerned neighbor. If you see a suspicious person, car or situation, contact the police.
SAFETY FOR THE APARTMENT DWELLER
- If you live in an apartment building with an intercom system to the front door, make sure the landlord keeps it in operating order
- Never admit anyone unless you are expecting him or know him
- Never admit anyone to the building who is there to see another tenant or to deliver something to another apartment
- Anyone asking admission so that he can do some work for another tenant should not be admitted, but should be referred to the building's manager
- If you see someone in your building who looks out of place or is acting suspiciously, contact the police
How To Protect Yourself On City Streets
Street crime is on the increase in most large cities. It is also becoming more prevalent in small communities. The following list of "safeguards" will help protect you - and may even save your life!
- When leaving home, make sure that all doors and windows are locked - including the garage door
- Watch for loiterers and do not carry large sums of money
- If possible, travel with another person. This is especially true after dark
- When carrying a purse, women should have only 3 or 4 one dollar bills placed inside. Credit cards, currency, driver's license, keys and jewelry should be carried in a coat or sweater pocket or concealed on your person to reduce the opportunity of large losses. If you do carry a purse, don't wrap the strap around your shoulder, neck or wrist. If your purse is grabbed, a strong strap will not yield easily and you may be injured. Some purse snatch victims have been thrown off balance & received concussions, broken hips, arms or legs. Don't carry anything more valuable than you can afford to lose. Always leave all unnecessary credit cards at home.When you shop and carry a purse, put it in your shopping bag
- At night, travel only well-lighted and well-traveled streets
- Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers
- Walk on the side of the street nearest to oncoming traffic. If accosted by someone in a car, run in the direction opposite the way the car is headed
- Beware of people who approach asking directions, keep a polite but safe distance
- A good suggestions for men is to carry a second wallet containing a few $1.00 bills and old expired credit cards, which are normally destroyed or discarded. If confronted at knife or gunpoint, give the suspect the second wallet and concentrate on a good physical description to help the police in making the arrest
- Upon returning home, particularly after dark, do not linger at the entrance of your residence. Make a quick check for mail or newspapers, and enter immediately. If you feel something is strange, there probably is, don't enter but go elsewhere and call for police assistance
- If you feel someone is following you, go to the nearest occupied residence or building, and ask for assistance
- If you are confronted with a dangerous situation, cry out for assistance. Yelling, "FIRE! FIRE!" instead of "Help!" will generally bring faster attention
How To Protect Your Valuables From Theft
One of the most effective tools you can use to retrieve property stolen from your home is a simple electric engraving pen. With this pen you can inscribe your name or a number on the most valuable items in and around your home. Before you do this, check with local police to see which they prefer you use - your name, driver's license, social security number or whatever.
Engraving your name or number on your valuables helps deter robbery in two ways:
- 1st. You discourage the thief since marked property is much more difficult to sell
- 2nd. If a thief does steal your property, it is much easier to catch and prosecute him when he is discovered with goods in his possession that are easily identifiable as stolen
Billions of dollars worth of property stolen each year is never returned to the owners. Why? Because without some identifying mark or number, the police are unable to verify stolen property, or trace the owner. More than half the property recovered by the police is eventually auctioned off or destroyed because the goods have no identifying characteristics.
In some cities, local law enforcement agencies will lend you and your neighbors an engraving pen free. In these communities, you may borrow an engraving tool for several days. If this service is not available to you, you can purchase an inexpensive electric pen from your local hardware store for as little as $10 to $15. This small investment could be worth a great deal more to you at a later date.
Items already marked with a serial number - such as cars, TV's, cameras, typewriters, radios, stereos, tape decks, appliances, etc., may not have to be engraved with your name or personal number. Check with local police first. If they recommend you inscribe your identifying mark on serialized items, inscribe this information just above the manufacturer's serial number.
On unserialized property, inscribe your name or number on the upper right corner of the rear or the backside of each item. Should you decide to sell or discard the item at a later date, you should invalidate your number by using the engraving pen or any sharp tool to draw a single line through your name or number from the upper left to the lower right hand corner.
Do not deface your name or number in any other way. It is also advisable, when selling "marked" property, to write out a simple receipt and specifying on it that you were the previous owner and indicate the name or number used by you. This could prevent legal hassles for the new owner at a later time.
To protect smaller valuable items such as jewelry, silverware, etc., it is wise to take a photo of each item. A Simple, instant-type camera photo is sufficient.
After you have marked and/or photographed all your valuables, make a detailed list of these items and keep it in a safe place. When new items are acquired, add them to your list. As other valuables are sold or discarded, cross them off the list.
If you use credit cards, they should also be recorded on your list, either copy your account number from each card and expiration date, or you can have photo copies made for your records.
How To Protect Cars, Bicycles, Motorcycles
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CAR
- Always lock your car doors. Be certain all windows are completely closed. When driving, keep all doors locked. It is best to park in attended lots. If you must leave a key with the attendant, leave only the ignition key. In all cases lock your car. At night, park only in well-lighted areas.
- If you have a garage, the single lock on the door is inadequate to keep intruders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in. One of three methods may be used to secure the door:
- Add another bolt and padlock on the opposite side, or
- Install a pair of cane bolts to the inside - only operable from the inside, or
- Add a top center hasp. Any person of average height can operate this locking device. The hasp must be of hardened steel and installed with carriage bolts through the door or gate
- Use large washers on the inside. After the nuts are secured, deface the threads of the bolt ends with a hammer to keep the nuts from being removed.
- In every case, use a minimum standard exterior padlock. Don't hide a key outside. Most hiding places are obvious to the burglar.
- Never leave a padlock unlocked. This is an invitation to have the padlock removed so that a key can be made, and the lock returned to its position. Later, the burglar returns when no one is home and enters at his leisure, using "his" key.
HOW TO PROTECT BICYCLES
- You don't leave your car unlocked, so treat your bicycle the same way. Use an approved chain and padlock whenever you are not on the seat! Lock it to the garage - with a 3/8" x 6" eye screw fastened to a stud. The eye screw should be at least 3 feet above the floor, because this makes using a pry bar much more difficult.
- Whenever you lock your bike in a public place, chain it to a secure rack or stanchion through the frame and a wheel. Keep the chain as high above the ground as the bike will allow. This reduces the leverage for a pry bar or bolt cutter attack.
MINIMUM STANDARD FOR APPROVED CHAIN
- Must be a least 5/16" hardened steel alloy. Links must be of continuous welded construction. Lighter chain, or chain with open links simply will not withstand bolt cutting attacks. Don't GIVE your bicycle away! Using anything less will invite its theft.
How To Protect Motorcycles
- These expensive bikes require additional security measures. They must be secured with a mated 3/8" hardened steel alloy chain and a padlock of equal strength. Sheathed cable has not proven to be a satisfactory deterrent to theft.
- Good exterior lighting is important, particularly when the yard area is obscured by high, non-removable shrubbery. The best possible location for outside lights is under the eaves. This makes ground level assault more difficult. You can buy an inexpensive timer or photo-electric cell which will automatically turn the lights on at dusk and turn them off at dawn.
How To Protect Your Home While Away
- Be sure to lock before you leave, and let a neighbor have a key. When leaving your home, practice the following advice - it could pay big, big dividends.
Going out to the market for dinner?
- A residence which presents a "lived-in" appearance is a deterrent to burglars. Never leave notes that can inform a burglar that your house is unoccupied. Make certain all windows and doors are secured before departing. An empty garage advertises your absence, so close the doors.
- When going out at night, leave one or more interior lights on and perhaps have a radio playing (TV sets should not be left unattended). Timers may be purchased that will turn lights on and off during your absence.
- Do not leave door keys under flower pots or doormats, inside an unlocked mailbox, over the doorway, or in other obvious places.
When planning vacations or prolonged absences
- Discontinue milk, newspaper, and other deliveries by phone or in person ahead of time. Do not leave notes.
- Arrange for lawn care and have someone remove advertising circulars and other debris regularly. On the other hand, several toys scattered about will create an impression of occupancy.
- Notify the post office to forward your mail or have a trustworthy person pick it up daily. Apartment house tenants should also heed this hint since stuffed mail receptacles are a give-away when no one is home.
- Inform neighbors of your absence so they can be extra alert for suspicious persons. Leave a key with them so your place may be periodically inspected. Ask them to vary the positions of your shades and blinds.
- When you leave, do not publicize your plans. Some burglars specialize in reading newspaper accounts of other people's vacation activities.
- If you find a door or window has been forced or broken while you were away, DO NOT ENTER. The criminal may still be inside. Use a neighbor's phone immediately to summon police.
- Do not touch anything or clean up if a crime has occurred.
- Preserve the scene until police inspect for evidence.
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO:
- Lock before you leave
- Trust a neighbor with a key
- Be a concerned neighbor - yourself
How To Burglar-Proof Your Doors
- The majority of devices mentioned in this report cost very little. All of them will help reduce burglary and make your house or apartment more secure.
- Begin with a home "security" check. Start with the front door and work clockwise around the entire inside of your home, finishing with the back yard, fence and shrubs, gates and garage.
- Shrubbery should never block the view of your front door. This allows an intruder the opportunity of privacy to gain entrance. A wide angle viewer in the door lets you know your visitor in advance. This item is recommended over a chain lock.
LOCKS, BOLTS AND HINGES
- A DEAD-LATCH is an inexpensive lock set which keeps the burglar from simply slipping your door open with a plastic credit card. This method of entry is common in many areas, but very easy to prevent.
- AUXILIARY DEADBOLT: 1" deadbolt, single cylinder with hardened cylinder guard, and thumb turn.
- For extra security, a single cylinder dead bolt lock, with one inch throw and case-hardened insert, is recommended for all exterior doors. If you have easily breakable glass within 40 inches of a deadbolt lock, it should be augmented with a stronger type of glass or plastic to provide adequate security.
- Most police departments do not recommend deadbolt locks for residential use. You may be adding additional security at the expense of personal safety with a double cylinder dead bolt. For example, you could lock yourself in and not be able to escape in case of fire or other emergency.
- THE RIM LOCK is a 1" dead bolt lock which is installed on the inside surface of the door. It is less expensive than other types of locks, but equally effective for security.
- THE "JIMMY-PROOF" RIM LOCK is another lock which is installed on the inside surface of the door. But this lock has vertical dead bolts, which is an approved locking device.
- CANE BOLTS: 1/2" in diameter by 12" high installed at the top & bottom of the inactive door offers minimum security.
- Many homes with pairs of doors, use half-barrel slide bolts on the inactive door. These are weak and totally inadequate.
- FLUSH BOLTS: Installed at the top and bottom of the inactive door or a pair of doors, flush bolts offer additional security, since the intruder cannot get at these devices to tamper with them if the doors are locked.
Some exterior doors are improperly installed so that the hinges are installed from outside. To protect such a door from being lifted from its hinges by pulling the hinge pin, follow these simple steps:
- Remove two screws, opposite each other, from both leaves of the hinge
- Insert screw or concrete nail into jamb leaf, protruding 1/2"
- Drill out the opposing screw hole in the door. Do this in the top and bottom hinge of the door. When closed, the hinge pins may be removed, but the door will remain firmly in place.
How To Burglar-Proof Your Windows
- Many burglars enter homes by simply breaking glass windows.
- A good deterrent is to have better quality glass installed at vulnerable points around the perimeter of your residence.
- Most burglars avoid attempting to break the following types of glass due to the fear of attracting attention:
- LAMINATED GLASS is made by a vinyl or plastic interlayer sandwiched between two layers of glass. This type of glass adds additional strength to your windows. To gain entry, a burglar would have to strike the glass repeatedly in the same spot in order to make a small opening. Most burglars are reluctant to create this type of noise for fear of being detected.
- TEMPERED GLASS is made by placing a piece of regular glass in an oven, bringing it almost to the melting point, and then chilling it rapidly. This causes a skin to form around the glass. Fully tempered glass is four to five times stronger than regular glass.
- WIRED GLASS adds the benefit of a visible deterrent. Extra effort will be needed to break the glass and then cut through the wire located within the glass, in order to gain entry.
- PLASTICS: Plastic material is divided into two types : acrylic or polycarbonate. The acrylics are more than ten times stronger than glass of the same thickness and are commonly called plexiglass. Polycarbonate sheets are superior to acrylics and are advertised as 250 times more impact resistant than safety glass, and 20 more times than other transparent plastic.
With SLIDING WINDOWS the primary objective is to keep the window from sliding or being lifted up and out of the track. There are many manufactured products available for securing windows. Here are some of the suggestions:
- PINNED WINDOW ANTI-SLIDE BLOCK SLIDEBOLT: It is not recommended that you lock a window in a ventilated position. This is an invitation to a prying action which can result in entry. Key locking devices offer no real security, and they can be a fire exit hazard.
- CASEMENT WINDOWS are the simplest to secure. Make sure the latch works properly and that he "operator" has no excess play. If so, replace the worn hardware.
- DOUBLE HUNG WINDOW latches may be jimmied open. If a window is not used, screw it shut (except bedrooms). For windows in use, drill a sloping hole into the top of the bottom window, through and into the bottom of the top window, and insert an easily removable pin or nail.
- LOUVRE WINDOWS are bad security risks. Remove and replace with solid glass or other type of ventilating window. Or protect with a grate or grille (except bedrooms).
One window in every bedroom on the ground and second floor must be left available as a fire exit, particularly for children and guests in your home. At night, the bedroom window may often be the quickest and safest means of getting out. Because of the danger of fire, ALL decorative or security bars on these windows must be break-away, and be operable by children!!
How To Reduce Crime In Your Neighborhood
- While we don't like to talk about it - or even thinks about it - crime is on the increase throughout the world. The number of burglars, muggers, auto thieves, robbers, purse snatchers, etc., is growing at an alarming rate. Now you, as a resident, working with neighbors can help reduce the crime rate.
- How? By organizing and/or joining a neighborhood program in which you and your neighbors get together to learn how to protect yourselves, your family, your home and your property. Working together, you can get the criminals off your block and out of your area.
- There's safety in numbers and power through working with a group. You'll get to know your neighbors better, and working with them you can reduce crime, develop a more united community, provide an avenue of communications between police and citizens, establish on-going crime prevention techniques in your neighborhood, and renew citizen interest in community activity.
- "Citizens Safety Projects" or COP "Citizens On Patrol" are set up to help you do this. It is a joint effort between private citizens and local police. Such programs have been started all over the counyry. Maybe one already exists in your community.
- These organizations don't require frequent meetings (once a month or so). They don't ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime. They leave the responsibility for catching criminals where it belongs - with the police. This is NOT a "vigilante" group.
- These groups gather citizens together to learn crime prevention from local authorities. You co-operate with your neighbors to report suspicious activities in the neighborhood, to keep an eye on homes when the resident is away, and to keep everyone in the area mindful of the standard precautions for property and self that should always be taken. Criminals avoid neighborhoods where such groups exist.
Through co-operation with local law enforcement agencies, some of the things you will learn - and all free - are:
- What to do in an emergency
- How to best identify a suspicious person
- How to identify a vehicle being used in a suspected criminal activity
- Signs to watch out for before entering a house or apartment that may be in the process of being burglarized
- What to do in case of injury
- What to do about suspicious people loitering on your street
- How to identify stolen merchandise
- How to recognize auto theft in progress
- How to protect your house or apartment
- How to recognize a burglary in progress
- How to protect yourself and family - and much more
It's easy to get your group started. All you have to do is contact your neighbors and arrange a date, place and time for the first meeting. Hold the meetings at your home or that of a neighbor. Try to plan a time that is convenient to most of your neighbors - preferably in the evening.
Then call your local police department. They will be happy to give your group informal lectures, free literature - and in many instances, window stickers and I.D. cards. Remember, police officers can't be everywhere. Your co-operation with them is for the benefit of you, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood.
- Safe rooms, sometimes referred to as panic rooms, are hideaways in your house where you can quickly escape to if an intruder forces his way into the house. In storm-ridden areas, safe rooms can also refer to rooms built with protection from high winds in mind. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss safe rooms from a security point of view.
- When planning a safe room for your house, it is important to select a spot not only that you can access quickly but that you can do so in a manner that won't alert the intruder. A good choice is to make the safe room accessible from the master bedroom. Most burglars try to choose times when you're not at home to break in, but in lieu of that, night is the next most popular time. Once inside, there should be a phone so you can call the police. In addition to keeping a landline telephone inside, you should keep a charged cell phone incase the intruder has cut the phone line. It's also a good idea to keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher inside.
- It is important that a safe room be constructed soundly incase an intruder finds it and tries to force his way in. Some people choose to hide the entrance behind a bookcase or some such in order to camouflage the entrance, but it should still be very sturdy. A safe room should have a solid metal-core door with a double cylinder deadlock that locks from the insider as soon as you enter. (Store the key in the master bedroom so it's easily accessible to you in an emergency.) The safe room should be well-ventilated incase you're forced to remain inside for a while.
How to be safe when your at home
- In general, burglars will avoid occupied houses. However, there always exceptions to the rule, and you shouldn't assume that nothing can ever happen when you're at home. If someone breaks in while you're not there, your belongings are at risk. If someone breaks in when your family is home, your family is at risk as well. There are a number of measures you can follow in order to minimize the risk of being targeted.
- Don't hand out keys to friends, even if they are trustworthy. Know the location of all your house keys all the time. Never use hide-a-keys or leave the key under the doormat, above the door, in a flowerpot, or anywhere outside the house. You may think you're being clever, but experienced thieves know all the tricks. Also, keep your car keys and house keys on a different ring if you ever use valet parking or leave your keys with parking lot attendants or even at a repair garage.
- Don't let strangers in the house: Think this only applies for children? Think again. Home security means being cautious. Even before you open the front door to accept a package, you should ask for photo identification. This goes for anyone you don't recognize. Don't assume someone is legitimate just because they're wearing a uniform or driving a company truck--these things can be stolen. If somebody comes to your door and asks to make a phone call, offer to make it for them, but don't let them in. If they are injured, call 911, but don't open the door. If you walk away to make a call or some such, lock the door behind you; you don't want to leave the door unlocked and unmanned. A chain on the door helps insure someone can't force their way in while you're there
- Locks: Keep your doors and windows locked, even if you're at home. Get your children into this habit, too.
- Don't be predictable: If you always leave at the same time every day, are gone for the same length of time, and return at the same time, thieves can easily memorize your routine, taking advantage of the times your not at home. Work is work, and you probably can't change those hours, but if you go to a class or the grocery store at the same time all the time, try to make yourself less predictable.
- Valuables shouldn't be on display: It's not a good idea if somebody can look in your window and see your wallet, credit cards, purse, jewelry, or fancy electronics in open sight. A computer or television placed in front of a ground-floor window may make an easy target. Likewise, electronics placed across from a window are easily visible, too. Also, don't leave your garage doors open for the world to see your belongings. Lightweight items could be snatched away quickly and easily.
- Watch your trash: Just bought a new entertainment system? A bunch of empty boxes out by the curb triggers an alarm to would-be thieves. Instead of putting boxes out in plain sight, cut them down, and stuff them in trash bags. Also be wary of identity theft. Never put personal identification information in your trash un-shredded.
- Be alert: Try to be aware of your surroundings on a day-to-day basis, even in your own familiar neighborhood. This doesn't mean walking around like a crazy paranoid person; just keep your eyes out for suspicious activity.
- Paying attention to the simple things can make you and your family much less of a target. Burglar alarms and home security systems are great investments, but prevention is the best way to stay safe.
Note: All prices in US Dollars