Residential Systems | Home Security Tips

Security-savvy homeowners can take additional safety measures that compliment their home security system:

1. Mount bright lights at front and back porch and walkway entrances, and consider leaving them on at night. Energy-smart lights can make this cost-effective. Motion sensors save electricity but don't always catch suspicious activity.

2. All doors that lead from inside to outside should have working locks. Don't overlook garage and shed doors, where locks can prevent theft and/or house access.

3. Change any deadbolt locks that require an inside key to lock; when this key goes missing, you'll be vulnerable. Instead, replace these with a "thumb-turn" latch and make sure that everyone in your family can reach it.

4. Window locks can break. Check and secure these regularly and make sure they can be opened from the inside. Make sure any security bars have a "quick release" latch.

5. In the event of an emergency, make sure everyone in your home knows how to open all aforementioned locks and latches to leave the house quickly.

6. Trim shrubs and bushes underneath windows so a would-be burglar can't hide.

7. Store and lock away any ladders and tools that you own.

8. Garage and shed window shades should be drawn; home shades should be drawn after dark.

9. When you leave for a few days, leave some lights on a timer so that it appears someone is home.

10. Before you leave, bring yardwork up to date, and make sure a friend or family member collects your mail and newspapers.