Do You Have These Items on Your Home Security Checklist

A home security checklist can help you assess the strength of your home defenses and highlight areas that need improvement.

Your Home Security Checklist

  • Do trees or shrubs block the view of doors and windows from the street? Trimming or removing overgrown landscaping can remove a common hiding place for thieves.
  • Does your house look like its empty? An overgrown lawn or uncollected mail and newspapers can give the impression that your house is empty. In the early evening, a dark house is signal to burglars that no one is home.
  • Are sheds or other exterior buildings kept locked when not in use? Open outbuildings can provide concealment and access to tools and other personal property.
  • Are all ground floor windows secured at night? Open or broken windows are an invitation to thieves, especially on the ground floor.
  • Do the entrances to your home have adequate lighting? Outdoor lights will reveal any activity and are a proven deterrent to burglars. Outdoor fixtures should have 60 watt bulbs or brighter to be effective.
  • Are cars left outdoors locked with keys and garage door openers removed? Leaving the keys or garage door remote in the car is an invitation to robbery. Make an effort to bring these items inside every time you come home.
  • Are all exterior doors made of solid core hardwood or metal? Solid doors offer better physical protection than hollow core doors or doors made of lightweight material.
  • Are all exterior doors secured high hardware designed to withstand excessive force? 1" dead bolts and heavy-duty strike plates secured with 3" screws offer the best protection from physical assault.
  • Are there windows in access doors or within 40" of an access door? Doors with or near windows should be protected with a dead bolt that is keyed on both sides.
  • Are sliding glass doors protected from forcing or removal? A broomstick or other board placed in the track of a sliding door can keep it from being forced. Pin locks can be installed to keep sliding doors from being lifted from their tracks.
  • Are basement windows secured? Adding secondary or keyed locks to basement windows can prevent them from being forced. A grate or grill placed over basement windows offers the best protection.
  • Do all garage doors have adequate protection? Adding locks to garage doors can help protect a major access point used by thieves.
  • Do you check doors and windows once a day to make sure they're locked? Regular inspection of your homes access points will help to avoid creating security "holes."
  • If you have a home security system, is it armed every time you leave home? Whether it's to run around the corner or to go on a week's vacation, your alarm should be set to offer the best protection.
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