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From the security desk…

Howdy neighbors! I hope everyone is enjoying the coming of Fall and soon-to-be cooler temperatures. This month I am going to focus on a few ideas to help make your home more secure. I have touched on these before, and it is always a good idea refresh our memories.

According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 2.1 million burglaries reported in the United States. That equates to 1 every 15 seconds. For most, buying a home security system can decrease the risk of being burglarized, or at least give peace of mind. But before you buy a system here are a few simple, low- or no-cost measures that could deter someone from targeting your home.

1. Have a household meeting with the goal to make home security a habit. All persons in the house should be involved. Here are a few habits to consider: locking windows and doors when leaving, after entering, and at bedtime; do not open the door to unwelcomed guests; secure your home even when doing work around the house or yard; close and lock the garage door.

2. Have the police perform a walk-through and perform a security inspection. Several in our neighborhood have already done this. It can be very helpful.

3. Organize a burglary. Have a trusted neighbor roam through your house for three minutes and find as
many valuables as possible. Then hide the valuables in more strategic places. It might be worth considering a small safe or off-site storage.

4. Remove the “hidden” key. Instead give a copy to a trusted neighbor. Most devices used to hide a key
these days are not so secret.

5. Place keys and garage door remotes in a smart spot and not near the door or visible in the house.

6. Add security signs or stickers near all entryways, whether you have a security system or not. A “beware of dog” sign can also be useful.

7. Lock up the ladder. Don’t store a ladder outside. This could be used to gain access to a second-floor
window or balcony.

8. Light up the outside. Purchase and install lighting with motion sensors at each entry point.

9. Install timers. These create a sense that someone is home. Timers can be used on lights and TVs.

10. Secure air conditioners. Unsecured window air conditioners could provide an easy point of entry for a would-be burglar. Make sure to use window locks or corner braces.

11. Eliminate hiding spots. Trim and prune plantings. Overgrowth is always a good place to hide.

12. Check windows. Make sure window locks are operable. Replace if not.

13. Assess doors. Replace hollow doors with solid-core or metal-clad. Given that many of us have a sliding glass door, it is good to use a wood dowel or safety bar in the interior floor track.

14. Replace weak locks. It is best to have a grade 1 or 2 dead bolt lock that penetrates the door frame. Easily bought at Home Depot, Lowe’s or similar store. The strike plate must be heavy duty, made of solid metal or brass, with six three-inch long screws that penetrate the door jamb/frame.

These are just a few ideas to think about. Again, many of you know this stuff but it’s always worth a refresher. I hope everyone has a nice fall season. Until the next time, be observant, vigilant, and neighborly.