Crime prevention tips from Sheriff Andrews to help you reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
House crime prevention tips
- Clearly display your house number for emergency personnel to locate your home quickly.
- Keep emergency numbers accessible.
- Lock all windows when leaving and at night.
- Install motion sensors or photoelectric lights outside.
- Install a monitored security alarm system.
- Trim plants and tree limbs close to your house.
- Plant prickly shrubs under windows.
- Do not leave keys outdoors (or hide under doormat).
- If keys are lost, change all locks.
- Do not advertise a garage sale as a "moving sale".
- Repair window glass and door or window locks.
Personal Safety Tips
- Do not let strangers in to use the bathroom or phone.
- Stamp "Do Not Duplicate" on your keys.
- Keep house keys on a separate key ring.
- Lend keys only to trusted people.
- When parking in a commercial garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant and remove your garage door opener.
- If living alone, use your first initial in telephone directory and on your mailbox or buzzer.
- Insure your possessions.
- Mark your valuable items. Engrave your driver's license or initials and date of birth on items without serial numbers.
- Store valuables in inconspicuous hiding places.
- Do not keep jewelry in your bedroom or in the cookie jar.
- Keep emergency (and neighbors') telephone numbers handy.
- Do not keep large sums of money in your house.
- Do not answer telephone inquiries or respond to mail questionnaires about your type of home, alarm system, or daytime occupancy.
- Always lock your car and park in front of the garage.
- Do not leave the garage door opener or personal items in your unlocked car.
- Leave only the ignition key on your car ring.
Door and Window Tips
- Change door locks when moving into a new location.
- Install a wide-angle peephole. Use it before opening the door.
- Install quality exterior doors (solid wood, steel reinforced).
- Install door locks with pick-resistant cylinders of heavy-duty deadbolt locks.
- Replace exterior door hinges with interior hinges or change hinges to the non-removable type.
- Replace a standard strike plate with an extended strike plate, using hardened screws 2"-3" long.
- Secure sliding glass doors with a steel rod or wooden dowel in the track.
- Install heavy-duty screws and a keyed locking device in a sliding door frame or sliding windows.
- Do not use door chains. A floor-mounted retractable door stop is more effective.
- Install a heavy-duty "hook and eye" on the upper part of a storm door
- Replace sheet or plate glass with tempered or safety laminated glass.
- Install key locks or window pegs on window sashes.
- Firmly secure air conditioners to the windows.
- Install metal grates or grills on cellar and ground level windows.
Garage, Sheds, Outside
- Always close and lock garage doors. Use cane bolts or hasps or install heavy-duty padlocks with hardened shackle and a heavy steel body.
- Secure machinery, lawn furniture, ladders, and tools inside.
- Secure extension ladders with chain and padlock.
- File off the stamped key number on the bottom of padlock casing so no one can duplicate keys.
- Place garden trellises away from second-floor access.
- Create an occupied, lived-in appearance in your home when you're away.
- Transfer valuables to a safe deposit vault.
- Turn your telephone ringer down.
- Do not leave notes on your door or messages on your answering machine indicating the time you will return.
- Move valuable items away from windows.
- Place a "neighborhood watch" sticker on your door or window.
- Do not put your home address on luggage tags. Use a business address.
- Leave your vehicle or have a neighbor's vehicle parked in your driveway. Have it moved periodically.
- Lock all windows, screens, storm windows, sheds, and gates.
- Leave shades and blinds partially open. The house will look "lived in" and it will also allow your neighbor and police to check inside.
- Put lights and a radio on automatic timers. If power goes out, have a neighbor re-set timers.
- Make arrangements for someone to collect your mail and deliveries, mow the lawn.
- Set self-timers on lights in various rooms.
- Have your neighbor put some trash out in your section on trash day.
- Continue with snow removal. Have neighbor make tracks in the snow to show normal activity around your house.