Check out these great tips from the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department.
Check Your Locks
◦Make sure every external door has a strong, well-installed dead bolt lock. Key-in-the-knob locks alone are not enough.
◦Sliding glass doors offer easy access if they are not properly secured. You can secure them by putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside track to jam the door or by installing commercially available locks. To prevent the door being lifted off of the track, drill a hole through the sliding door frame and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin in the hole.
◦Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin" your windows by drilling a small hole at a 45 degree angle between the inner and outer frames, then insert a nail that can be removed. You should secure basement windows with grilles or grates (but make sure that they can be opened from the inside in case of fire).
◦Never hide keys around the outside of your home. Instead, give an extra key to a neighbor you trust.
◦When you move into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.
Check Your Doors
◦All outside doors should be metal or solid wood.
◦Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so that you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains break easily and don’t keep out intruders.
◦If your doors don’t fit tightly in their frames, install weather stripping around them.
Check the Outside
Take a look at your home from the outside, and keep in mind the following tips to help make your home as safe as it can be:
◦Burglars hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at night. Motion-detector lights can be particularly effective.
◦Keep your yard clean. Prune shrubbery so it doesn’t hide windows or doors. Cut back tree limbs that a burglar could use to climb to an upper-level window.
◦If you travel, create the illusion that you are at home by getting timers that will turn lights (and perhaps a television or radio) on and off in different parts of your home throughout the day and evening hours. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
◦Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. And make sure you don’t let your mail and/or newspapers pile up. Call the post office and newspaper to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick them up.
◦Make a list of your valuables, such as VCRs, stereos, computers, and jewelry. Take pictures of the items, list their serial numbers and description. This will help police if your home is burglarized.
◦When getting work done on your vehicle, leave only the vehicle key for the service personnel. The same goes for car park attendants and valets.
◦If you are having work done on your vehicle, give the service station your business address – not your home address.
What If I Live in an Apartment?
◦Never let anyone you don’t know into your building or past security doors.
◦Organize citizen patrols to walk around the apartment complex and alert police to crime and suspicious activities. Don’t forget to patrol parking lots, stairways, laundry rooms, and playgrounds.
◦Publish a newsletter that gives local crime news, recognizes Apartment Watch captains, and highlights community activities.
◦Have a reception in the lobby of your building or a cookout on common property so neighbors can get to know one another.
◦Create a safety zone for children – places where they can go in emergency or scary situations.
◦Check the complex on a regular basis for problems such as burned-out light bulbs, dark corridors, uncollected trash, or broken locks on mailboxes and doors. Report any such problems to the building manager. Keep pressure on management to make sure it provides adequate security.
◦Organize meetings to brainstorm how you can help each other, such as starting an escort service for the elderly.
Register your Alarm with Us
If your property is monitored by an alarm monitoring company register your alarm with us. If there is an activation, we need to have that information in the event there is a break in so we can contact you. You can register with the Mendon Police Department in person at the police station or online through the alarm registration page.