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Protecting your home against crime

Although the U.S. Department of Justice cites a 20-year decline (since 1973) in the rate of property crimes nationally, law-enforcement experts still urge residents to take home security precautions rather than rely on optimistic statistics to keep family and property safe. Burglary and theft are crimes of opportunity, so the more difficult you make getting into your home, the more likely it is that a burglar will go elsewhere. Keep in mind that burglars don’t want to be seen while breaking in, so they are most likely to select a means of entry that is hidden from view: a rear entrance, a window shrouded by shrubs or trees, or a side door not visible from the street. While trees and fences offer homeowners a sense of privacy, they also give burglars the shield they need to gain illegal entry. Read More »Protecting your home against crime

How to make your stairs and hallways safer

Stairs and hallways should be kept free of clutter, toys, laundry baskets, or any of the typical items that seem to accumulate there. Make sure the stairs and hallways are well-lighted: switches should be installed at the top and the bottom of the stairs to prevent climbing up or down simply to turn the light on or off. Properly anchored railings should be installed on all stairs; consider railings in hallways for family members who are infirm.

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Using locks to protect yourself against home burglary

Door Locks

Install strong locks and bolts on all exterior doors, since doors are particularly vulnerable to burglars. Older, worn locks should be replaced with newer, higher-quality units. If you are an apartment dweller, it is imperative that you change the lock/cylinder since you have no idea who might have access to the key.

The front door needs a strong lock, particularly for periods when you are not at home and it will not be bolted from inside. Back and side doors need extra protection since they are often targeted because they cannot be seen from the street; an intruder may try to open them with force.

Install good-quality dead-bolt cylinder locks or mortise locks in all exterior doors. If purchas¬ing a dead-bolt cylinder lock, look for a bolt that extends at least 1 inch beyond the edge of the door when in the locked position. Make sure the lock has a case-hardened cylinder guard, steel inserts, a reinforced strike plate, and tie screws a minimum of 3 inches long that secure from the inside.

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