1. Keys Ready. When approaching your own front door, have your key out before you get there. Scan in all directions for threats before you open the door.
2. Change the locks when you move in to a new home and when a tenant moves out.
3. If you live alone, have a male friend or relative record your voice message on your answering machine.
4. Trim down bushes and trees blocking any doors and windows of your house. Keep the exterior of your home well lit.
5. Equip all doors and windows with good locking devices. All doors that enter your home should be equipped with easy to use deadbolts and door jams. Large sliding doors are particularly vulnerable to being forced open or lifted off their track and should be fitted with a special bolt or pin lock. For best security, keep all doors and windows locked.
6. Install peepholes in doors without windows that enter and exit your home. If you have children, install a second peephole about eye height for them. If affordable, install a video-equipped intercom system. Make it a habit to look through the peephole or video intercom before opening the door.
7. When doors are locked, you should have an easy way to see and communicate with the person on the other side.
8. Do not rely on the security provided by most automatic garage doors that do not have a locking system. Predators can easily rollup most automatic garage doors. It is also a good idea to get a motion alarm that sounds a loud siren when activated for garages and sheds.
9. Install an exterior perimeter alert alarm system around your house, as well as an interior alarm system. If possible, have the systems equipped with cameras and an auto-dialer.
10. A perimeter exterior alarm can act as an early warning alert system that can provide the added time needed to get help on the way, to get your weapon, or get to a safe room.
11. An interior alarm system can startle the intruder, and, hopefully, derail their plan. If your system is equipped with an auto dialer, it could dispatch help to your home right away. It can also provide you with an early warning that your home has been compromised and gives you a better chance to protect your family, escape, hide or fight back.
12. Build a designated safe room in your house, equipped with a door jam, a cell phone charger, and emergency numbers including police and fire, as well as trusted friends and neighbors that live nearby. Your first call in an emergency should be to 100, and remember not to hang up until they tell you to.
13. Have the main control system for external and internal alarm sirens accessible in your safe room so you can activate them in an emergency.
14. Have emergency phone numbers to police, fire and poison control by every phone or places in the house.
15. Get good quality smoke and fire detectors and position them on every level of your home and work place. Use the highest performing batteries in your smoke and fire detectors and change batteries at least three times a year.
16. Use timers to turn on your lights, radio and television. This way, you do not come home to a dark house. To an observer, your home will appear occupied.
17. Draw window shades and drapes when there is a need to turn on lights inside your home. This prevents observers outside from seeing in your home when it is dark outside and there are lights on inside.
18. Get a dog. It doesn't necessarily have to be an attack dog, but one that barks and alerts you to trouble.
19. Avoid putting your name on your mailbox or home. For women living alone, do not publish your first name in the phonebook or online. Instead, use initials or a fictitious name commonly associated with a male.
20. Never announce that you are home alone. Do not allow anyone that you are unfamiliar with into your home. If you have called for a repairman, ask the company how he can be identified. When the repairman arrives at your door, have him slip identification under the door for you to check.
21. If you order a food delivery, have the exact amount for the purchase ready and complete the transaction on the porch on in the hallway.
22. When arriving at or leaving your home, work place, or vehicle, always have the key you will be using next ready to go.
23. If you return home and find doors and windows have been tampered with, do not enter. Go to a neighbor and call the police.
24. Never give directions to your home to a stranger or in the presence of a stranger.
25. Never give any other key (from the bunch of keys in your key chain) than the ignition key when having your car serviced or valet parked. Also, lock your trunk and glove box and remove any valuables or papers with your name, address or any other private information on them.
26. Don’t Invite Push-Ins. If someone approaches as you are about to open the door, don’t try to open the door in a hurry and get inside before they reach you. If you get the door open but don’t get inside in time, they could push you in and enter with you. Instead, do not unlock the door. If you are in an apartment building corridor, go to a neighbor’s door and knock. If you live in a suburban home, walk toward a neighbor’s home, even if this means walking toward the threat, and be ready to defend yourself, or scream for help. If you have a cell phone, dial a helpline immediately.
27. Don’t open your house door without knowing who is on the other side. Even if it is someone who claims to be from the electric company, if you’re not expecting them, make them wait while you call yourself and verify their identity. The minute you open your door, that person has access not only to your home, but to you and your family as well.
29. If you are repainting the exterior of your house, take the ladder in at night. Yes, it’s a pain, but it is much less painful than someone gaining entry when you’re asleep and cannot protect yourself.
30. Keep the bushes around your house trimmed so that someone doesn’t have a place to hide.
31. Better yet, when you plant bushes beneath your windows, make sure they’re thorny and would hurt if someone got too close to them. Make your home unfriendly to anyone who wants to access it without your permission.
34. Don’t make it too easy for someone to just slide open a window or door and let themselves in. The dowel is easy to move in the event you have a fire and need to escape, but it will also keep them from being opened more than an inch or two so no one can fit their body through the opening.
35. Answer the Door. Typically, we have been told, “If you are home alone and someone knocks, don’t answer, they will go away.” Recent events, though, are showing that more and more, burglars are doing home invasions assuming that if no one answers, it is safe to go in. Locally, we’ve been told by our police department to answer with a call for who it is, and let them know you are on the phone or will not be answering the door or other ways to let the person know you are not going to be opening the door. Never actually answer the door even for a service person you are expecting until you have been able to confirm that they are actually who they say they are.
36. Do not invite a predator in.