Residents should consider the following options to increase the security in your apartment or condominium:
Underground Garage Area
- Stop once you are inside and remain near the door until the garage door closes to prevent any unwanted individuals from entering.
- Lock your vehicle and remove all valuables.
- Valuables such as bicycles should be locked in a secure area or storage room.
- Never let anyone in that you don’t know.
- Report all issues regarding doors, locks, and security concerns to your property manager right away.
- Lock your doors, windows, and draw your shades at night.
- Install deadbolt locks of good quality with a 1-inch throw.
- Add security strike plates – heavy duty plates approximately 6 inches long that use four to six 3-inch screws.
- Install 180-degree, wide angle viewer to your door.
- Secure all sliding glass doors with a length of wood in the track or by adding a Charley Bar.
Call 9-1-1 if you see or hear anything suspicious.
A few simple alterations to the exterior of your home can be enough to deter intruders from attempting entry. Trim bushes, shrubs and trees so all of your doors and windows are visible to your neighbors or to the street. Your home’s landscaping should not provide concealment for criminals. Unobstructed doors and windows are a deterrent because intruders are forced to work where they can be seen.
Maintain adequate lighting, especially at entry points to the home. Motion activated lights may not only startle would be intruders, but can alert you or your neighbors to movement around your home. Conduct monthly checks to ensure all of the exterior lights around your home are working properly. Display house numbers that easily seen and read from the street. Consider aiming an exterior light at the numbers themselves. Emergency responders can save critical time when the street address for your home is visible from a distance. Adding a second set of house numbers near the street or on a mailbox also helps emergency responders locate your residence.
Limit direct access to your yard or storage shed. Intruders look for none, or few obstacles blocking quick exits. Fences prevent burglars from carrying away large items if the gates are locked. If you have or install a fence, consider locking the gates when they are not in use. Ladders and tools should be stored in a garage or shed and the enclosure should remain locked. Place all other items of value including lawnmowers, bicycles and power tools inside the enclosure as well. Landscaping should also be designed to control access to your property. Proper barriers make the intruder feel uncomfortable as he or she approaches your home.
Always lock your garage doors. This is especially important if you have an attached garage. Burglars can enter your home through the door leading from an attached garage to the house.
All exterior doors should be solid core wood (at least 1 3/4” thick) or metal wrapped. Your doors should fit their frames tightly, with no more than 1/8” clearance between the door and the frame. This will boost your protection, and save energy too! Most hollow core doors can be easily breached and doors with large gaps in the frame are easily pried open. Remember that any exterior door to your garage is also an exterior door to your home.
Electronic garage door openers with automatic locking devices offer good security against burglaries. Keep transmitters in a safe place. Avoid leaving transmitters in vehicles that are parked outside your home. If you suspect a thief has one of your transmitters or obtained your garage door frequency, contact a dealer who will change the frequency.
Garage doors not controlled by an electronic device should be kept locked at all times. Doors not used on a regular basis should be locked inside the garage with a secondary device such as a padlock.
Patio doors are often more secluded than other entry points to your home. Many patio doors and sliding windows come equipped with a lock that is easily pried open. A supplemental lock should be installed.
Broomsticks cut to fit snug in the track and “Charley Bars” are a simple cost effective way to provide added protection. Key locking devices are another added security feature that will limit the intruders’ ability to enter or exit through the patio door.
Some sliding glass doors can be lifted out of their track from the outside. By installing two sheet metal screws in the track just above the removable part of the door this can be prevented. Adjust the screws so that the doors or window will clear just underneath them. Drill a hole and insert a nail through the inside frame and part way through the metal door frame. You will be able to remove the nail when needed but the burglar cannot.
Casement windows that crank outward provide good security for your home. Make sure that you lock the window when they are closed. This will prevent an intruder from breaking the glass and cranking the window open themselves. Do not leave any windows open that are accessible from the ground when you are not home. Lock the same windows while you are asleep.
Double Hung Windows are easier for thieves to jimmy or pry open. These windows can be made more secure by taking these simple, inexpensive precautions. To secure a double hung window, drill a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window. Continue drilling through the bottom window into the lower portion of the top window. A pin can now be inserted which will lock the window shut. By partly opening the window (less than 4 inches) and making a second set of holes, the window can then be used for ventilation. Again, open windows and doors should never be left unattended while you are gone or asleep.
Making your home appear occupied while away on vacation will help discourage burglaries. Here are some simple tips to help give the impression that you are home.
- Use automatic timers to turn lights on at dusk and off around bedtime. Consider putting the television on a timer as well. Vary the times that lights turn on and off if possible.
- Keep garage doors closed and locked.
- If your vehicle must stay outside make sure the vehicles are locked and no valuables are left inside.
- Stop the mail and newspaper or have a trusted neighbor collect both each day.
- Turn your telephone ringers to off and lower the volume on any answering machines. A loud unanswered telephone ring can tip off intruders that no one is home.
- Make arrangements to have your lawn mowed and/or driveway plowed.
- Sign up for the police department vacation house check. If you want the interior checked or have special circumstances, tell a neighbor where you can be reached in case of an emergency and ask the neighbor to check on your home occasionally.
- Do not tell more people than necessary that you will be away from the home.
- Do not post vacations or photos on social media until you return from the trip.
Sign up for a vacation house check.