Home Safety Check - Things Every Homeowner and Renter Should Do

A home security breach is not a pleasant thing to experience, or even just think about.

Besides reviewing your home, condo or renter insurance policy annually for adequate coverage, and taking home videos or photos of possessions for your records, there are several essential things to do if you experience a break-in.

I once knew someone who always rang his home doorbell before entering after being away for a period of time, thinking this would alert someone who might still be in the house, give the burglar a chance to get away and avoid a personal confrontation. This assumes there is a window or back door through which an uninvited visitor could escape. But if it already looks as if a break-in has occurred, call the police first.  If you have prior documentation on what was taken, your job will be much easier.

Protect yourself against being a target, by doing the following:
  • Automatic timers on lights and radios, especially when away.
  • Always keep your garage door closed
  •  Do not leaves notes on the door for anyone or leave newspapers in the driveway (this can be a problem sometimes when newspapers decide to give you a free promotional newspaper while away, so have someone remove your throwaways); keep your landscaping maintained.
  • If home is new, change your locks when you move in.
  • Insert steel rods into track of sliding doors.
  • Install impact-resistant glass for windows
  • At a minimum, install deadbolts on all doors (be sure they do not require a key from the inside).
  • Arrange for removal of trash receptacles from the street.
  • Forward your calls to another number that is answered while you're away--a no-answer call can be a tipoff that no one is home.
  • Ask a relative or friend to do a drive by while you're away.
  • And, if you're home during the day, keep your doors and windows locked especially when you are at the back of your home. Don't assume you live in a perfectly safe area, because opportunists can be anywhere at any time.

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