This holiday season, don't fall victim to burglars. Take precautions to make sure your home is secure.
Every holiday season we hear about someone's home being broken into and Christmas gifts being stolen. Your door locks and doors, keys and even garage door openers can be part of the problem — or the solution. Follow these four home security tips to avoid being the victim of a holiday break-in.
1. Check your locks
Make sure your locks are operating and installed correctly, and be sure to use them. A couple of common problems are broken or misaligned , and deadbolts that do not fully extend. Locks may seem to work with these problems, but they are not offering the security they were designed to provide.
The deadlatch is designed to prevent someone from using the old “credit card trick” to bypass an entry lock, and a deadbolt that does not fully extend can be easily pushed back. To be safe, make it a habit to lock all doors when you exit and are not in direct line of sight of the door. This includes the door leading from the garage into the house.
2. Take control of your keys
If you can't account for all copies of your keys, have the locks rekeyed. It’s a simple step to re-establish some level of key control. To maintain that control, protect your keys.
There are services on the Internet that can duplicate a key using just a couple of photos of the key. Don't give keys to anyone unnecessarily. Having your car serviced? Leave only the car key. Don't leave your keys exposed at home or at work. Keep spare keys in a secure location, not in a dish on the table or hanging on the wall.
While out shopping, keep your keys in your pocket or purse. If in a purse, never leave the purse unattended. Even when loading packages in your car while out shopping, secure your purse first.
3. Garage door openers
When it comes to trips in the car, don't leave the garage door remote in a conspicuous location. Thieves have been known to break into cars, grabbing the garage door remote and the car's registration. They then have your address and a “key” to your house. This is another reason why it is so important to lock the door from the garage leading into the house.
4. Foiling forced entry
Ensuring the locks work properly and controlling the keys and openers are easy ways to protect your home. Unfortunately, there are people who don't mind resorting to a little force to get into your house. The most common method of forced entry is simply kicking in the door. Modern construction practices make this relatively easy, because the door hardware is not firmly anchored to the wall framing surrounding the door.
The good news is that this can be remedied easily and inexpensively. Door reinforcement kits are available that protect the three most vulnerable areas of a door: the jamb, the door edge and the hinges.
To review: Check your locks. Control your keys. Secure your doors. You can do most of these things yourself, or you can contact a qualified locksmith. Either way, don't let yourself become this holiday season's sad news story.