A burglary occurs somewhere in the U.S. every 14.6 seconds, according to the 2010 Crime Clock Statistics from the FBI. In fact, though burglary rates are gradually declining, an estimated three out of four homes will be broken into over the next 20 years.
Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of your family, so it's essential that you take the steps necessary to help keep your home and family protected. Here are 25 tips for keeping your family safe:
1. Make sure sliding doors have childproof locks. Placing a steel rod in the door channel adds an extra layer of security.
2. Second story windows should have safety bars or window guards.
3. Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers in the kitchen, near bedrooms, and in the basement.
4. Windows should open easily from the inside, but locks should prevent them from being opened easily from the outside, particularly with ground floor windows.
5. Make sure there are smoke detectors in hallways and in sleeping areas.
6. Install motion sensor floodlights over your driveway and walkways.
7. Keep hedges clipped back so that you can view the street and so that burglars will not have a convenient hiding place.
8. Install deadbolts on all exterior doors.
9. Choose deadbolt locks with at least a one-inch throw. These make it harder to disassemble a door.
10. If your front door incorporates windows or is flanked by windows, consider using a double key deadbolt. Otherwise, a burglar could break out a window, reach in, and turn the deadbolt thumb-turn to unlock the door.
11. Your front door should have a peephole installed at a convenient height.
12. Secure French-style patio doors with door pins or a secondary blocking device.
13. Use solid core wood or metal doors for your main home entrances.
14. Make sure your garage door has a twist lock that secures the door to the tracks.
15. Never leave a "hidden" house key for emergencies. Burglars know all the common -- and most of the uncommon -- hiding places.
16. Keep house keys and car keys separate from each other, and do not label keys.
17. Create a video inventory of your personal property and keep it in a safe place in case you need to make an insurance claim.
18. Get to know your neighbors. Neighbors you're friendly with will feel more comfortable notifying you if they see something amiss at your home, like an unfamiliar van parked nearby while you're away.
19. Inform house sitters how to handle phone calls while you're away. For example, saying, "He can't come to the phone right now," is better than saying, "He's away for two weeks."
20. Have your yard mowed and your mail collected while you're away on vacation.
21. Use an engraving pen to mark your driver's license number on your valuable property. Burglars don't want marked objects.
22. If you use valet parking, give the attendant only a valet key and not a regular car key. Keep the valet key separate from your house keys.
23. Can valuable objects be easily seen through ground floor windows? If so, draw blinds or rearrange furniture so that your valuables are shielded from view.
24. Explain to your children how to speak to strangers on the phone. They should learn to ask who is calling and should never say that Mom and Dad are away, but rather they "can't come to the phone right now."
25. Consider installing a home security system.
Home security systems are increasing in popularity as people discover how affordable and effective they are. Today's monitored home security systems
install quickly and are mostly wireless, so installation won't disrupt your schedule or your décor. These systems automatically notify monitoring center personnel whenever a break-in or fire is detected, and they come with great extras like the wireless keychain remote with "panic button."
If you'd like to know more, call Protect Your Home at 1-800-580-1342.