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Thieves can be creative when breaking into your home. Some things we may forget about are the area thieves will target. Use this checklist to ensure that you are safe against home burglary.

Doors and Entry Areas
Doors are solid core construction
• Entry door has a wide angle viewer (peep hole)
• Locks are secure from being opened if a burglar breaks a panel of glass or wood
• All of my doors can be securely locked
• Lock strike plates have at least 3 inch screws screwed into the house framing
• Do all of your out-swinging doors have the hinges pinned or have non-removable pins?
• All entry areas are unobstructed by shrubbery and other décor to permit maximum visibility
• All sliding doors have an auxiliary lock that locks both the door and panels together
• My sliding glass door does not lift out of the track
• The garage door is secured with a lock, hasp or similar lock and not just the garage door opener
• I lock my vehicle and remove my keys and valuables even if it is parked inside the garage

• All windows are equipped with auxiliary key locks
• Louvered windows have been secured or replaced
• Window locks are properly secured and mounted
• The windows are locked when shut
• Windows have locks that allow you to lock the window when it is partially open
• In high crime areas, bars or ornamental grilles block the windows
• Garage windows are properly locked and secured
• Second floor windows are as secure as first floor windows

Safe Practices
Keep a list, pictures or videos of all your valuable property
• Keep a list of all serial numbers and identifying numbers to valuable property, including bicycles
• Avoid unnecessary display of your valuables
• Do not “hide” a key outside of your home
• Outside lighting around the home is a safe practice
• Is your ladder secured and out of sight?
• Keep a list of emergency numbers by every phone
• Discuss a plan with your family if you were to ever find a burglar in your home

9 out of every 10 arrests are made because of a neighborhood tip. The following list highlights only a small amount of suspicious activities criminals carry out every day. You will not be in trouble if you call the police regarding any suspicious activity. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

• Anyone looking into a car or home
• Anyone forcibly entering a car or home
• Someone running from a home or business
• Someone carrying a weapon
• Someone screaming
• An unknown adult talking to children, offering them candy or gifts or asking them for help
• Someone who does not belong in the area
• A person walking in the neighborhood with items which could be stolen
• Anyone ringing your doorbell or knocking on your door without a reasonable explanation
• Persons loitering around a schoolyard or park
• Strange vehicles parked in your area for several hours
• A clean automobile with dirty or damaged tags
• Groups of people loitering or walking through your neighborhood

Stolen and vandalized vehicles cost victims time and money and increase everyone’s insurance premiums. Often stolen vehicles are also used in the commission of other crimes as well. 

• Never leave your vehicle running or your keys in it while you’re away, even if it's just for a minute.
• Always roll up the windows and lock the doors, even if it’s in front of your home.
• Never leave valuables in plain view. Lock them up in the trunk or at least out of sight. Purses, electronics, packages, etc. should be left home or taken with you when you leave your vehicle.
• Always park your car in a well-lit area or where it is in plain view of others. This is a strong deterrent to most criminals. 

Assaults can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Here are some tips to reduce your chances of being attacked.

At Home
• Keep your home securely locked and well lighted
• Install a peephole in your door and use it
• Beware of unexpected sales or service calls
• Check identification before letting someone you don’t know inside of your house
• Offer to make a phone call for a stranger if he or she wants to use your phone
• If you come home and see signs of forced entry do not enter your house. Instead go to a neighbor’s and immediately call the police.

While Walking
Be alert to your surroundings and to people around you
• Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
• Walk confidently and at a steady pace
• Walk close to the curb. Avoid bushes, doorways and alleys
• Try not to walk alone, especially at night. Avoid areas where there are few people. The more people that see you walking, the less likely an assailant will attack you.
• Be careful when people stop to ask you for directions. Always reply from a distance and never approach the vehicle.
• If you are in trouble, gain attention in any way you can. Scream “FIRE” or “HELP” to attract attention.

While Driving
Keep your car in good working order and keep the gas tank at least half full.
• Park in well-lit areas and lock the doors, no matter how long you will be away
• Have your key ready before you get into your vehicle and check the front and rear seats before you get in
• Drive with your doors locked no matter what area you are in
• Keep valuables such as purses, electronics, money, packages, etc., out of sight.
• If you think you are being followed DO NOT DRIVE HOME. Drive to a well-lit open gas station or business and call the police. If it is safe to do so, get a tag number and description of the vehicle following you.
• If an unmarked police vehicle attempts to stop you, signal to the officer that you see him/her and proceed to the nearest open business where there will be other people to watch. An assailant will usually move along when you involve witnesses.

If You Are Attacked
Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options.
• Keep assessing your situation as it is happening. If one strategy does not work, try another. Possible options are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant, and fleeing to a safe place.

Security Alarm System at Your Fingertips

Place your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: it's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation! Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. 

If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and the criminal won't want that. Also, remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.