How to Help
Prevent Burglaries to
The Basic Rule: Lock Your Doors
Homes and Apartments
are numerous tips about preventing crimes against your place of
residence. Some interesting facts to keep in mind: Burglary is a
very frequent crime. Many crimes occur in the daytime. Juveniles
commit many of them. Burglars come from every economic, social,
educational and racial background. Burglars will dress to suit
the area they are planning to burglarize many times. Daylight
burglars like rainy or stormy days. The home with no outside
lighting at night or with easy access is more likely to be
- Always install new locks in a
home or apartment when moving in, even if it is a newly
built home. Never use locks someone else has had a key to.
This means back, side and front doors.
- Never leave an extra key to
the house in the mailbox, under doormats, over door frames
or anywhere else-they are easily found.
- Don't give your key to anyone
except the people living inside the home or apartment.
- Install a small
"peephole" in the front and back door and use it
to look before you open a door for someone, whether it is
nighttime or daytime.
- When answering the door, ask
to see proper identification; if the person is a salesman,
solicitor, repairman or utility company representative, he
or she will have proper identification.
- Outside: light up the side
of the house, back and front and garage area with
nightlights; few homes with such lighting are ever
- Inside: leave at least one
light on (plus a bathroom light); do not pull the shades
or curtains when not at home.
- When not at home: don't leave
a note saying when you will return and make sure you close
the garage door when leaving (lock it too).
- Put your address numbers on
the back entrance way as well as the front.
- Do not use the spring-snap
locks; they are opened very easily and practically
without any sound.
- Do not buy any cheap
locks- they are hardly worth the risk.
- Use dead-bolt locks
(especially the ones that require a key); or use sliding
barrel locks; use crossbars and hasp locks on garage,
cellar and other such doors.
- Check your door hinges . .
. if the pins are on the outside, change them to the
inside (or to non-removable ones) to prevent a burglar
from removing them to open the door and get in.
- Make sure locks are away
from windows (to prevent the window from being smashed
and the burglar reaching in to unlock it).
- Use chain locks as an
added precaution on all entries.
- Remember: it does little
good to have good locks on the front door and poor locks
- Don't put your name or
address on the key case you carry; if lost or stolen,
change locks regardless of whether you had your name or
address inside the case.
- Strong door frames and window
frames: it does little good to attach good locks to door
frames or window frames when the frames are weak, rotted or
defective. Make sure your frames are solid and as strong as
the locks and hinges. Your landlord (if you rent) is
responsible for having good locks and good door and window
- Cellar windows: are many times
left open and are an easy place to enter a home or apartment
building. Close and lock them at all times!
- Windows: not only should every
window have a lock on it (the best is a key lock), but it
should have an additional lock that prevents it from being
lifted higher than four inches.
- Apartments: renters should
never allow their apartment to be on a "master
key" arrangement; ask about this and change your lock
if the landlord will not.
- Cellar doorway: make sure the
door to any other part of the apartment building or to the
basement, garage or fire escape is adequately locked just as
solidly and securely as the front door.
- Do not leave ladders outside
the house; they are perfect devices for entry.
- Do not leave rugs, wash or
tools and other items outside the home overnight.
- Keep the shrubbery trimmed
away from windows and keep it trimmed to a low height; they
are excellent places for someone to hide and not be seen
- Sliding doors are used
frequently by burglars to enter. There should be two locks
on such doors . . . plus put a sliding board or broom handle
braced inside the track to prevent the door from opening
from the outside.
- Padlock your garage (it is a
good entry point for burglars).
- Constantly check your locks
(especially ones at doors and windows you do not use often);
if any have been tampered with, replace immediately and
report it to the police.
- Remember: a barking dog at
night is a signal someone may be prowling.
- Be sure, at night as well as
daytime, that yard gates and other such locations are
closed; many burglars prefer a place where very easy access
is provided-opening and closing a gate takes time, attracts
attention, makes noise, etc.
- Train children not to open the
door to strangers at anytime.
- Consider having a dog in the
house; they are excellent noise makers and burglars avoid
them for many reasons.
- Always keep the door locked
even when you are in the house; because you are there does
not mean someone would not come in anyway.
- Windows with air conditioners:
a favorite point of entry for burglars. Nail or screw the
window in place. This prevents the window from being opened
and prevents the air conditioner from being stolen.
- Locks for mailboxes: a must
for home and apartment; it is too easy to steal your mail.
Get a U.S. Post Office approved lock.
- Do not keep stocks, bonds,
coin collections and such in your home; put them in a safe
deposit box at the local bank.
- Mark expensive clothing and
furs with indelible ink, showing your driver's license
number or some other identifiable mark.
- Use the police engraver to
engrave your driver's license number or some other such
identifiable mark on all valuables (silver, TV, radio,
stereo, clocks, guns, cameras, projectors, watches,
typewriters, small and large appliances, paintings and other
items) to aid in their recovery if stolen and help police
trace the items to the burglar.
- For items that cannot be
engraved, write down their descriptions and keep in a safe
place. Use this to identify stolen items and it will allow
you to recover them if stolen. (If you cannot prove an item
is yours, you cannot receive it even if police have
- Never allow anyone to
talk you into "buying" back something stolen from
your home. Report such an offer to police promptly and
follow their instructions on the matter.
- Aside from locking the garage,
never leave the key to the car or anything else in the car
- When working in the back yard,
don't leave the front door unlocked. Or if running next door
for a minute, don't leave the house open and doors unlocked
. . . many thefts and burglaries occur this way without the
owner or renter knowing it.
- Glass: use break-resistant
glass at every window possible, especially in doors;
remember also to nail or screw shut any unused windows and
check around the house or apartment at all heights to make
sure rarely used windows or possible points of entry (such
as a skylight, ventilator, air conditioner, window, etc.)
are also secured with nail, screw or lock. Burglars do not
like to "work" to get into a place-they like the
- Do not install a "doggie
door" in any of your doors leading to the outside or
into the garage; they can become "burglar doors"
- Report too many "wrong
number" calls you receive from telephone callers to the
police and telephone company; it could be a burglar trying
to determine if anyone is at home.
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For more information, contact the Office of
State Senator Vincent J. Fumo.
|1208 Tasker Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19148
|2637 East Clearfield Street|
Philadelphia, PA 19134
|Senate Box 203001|
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
|Copyright © 1996 by State Senator Vincent J. Fumo. Copyright is not claimed as to part of the original work prepared by an employee of the Senate of Pennsylvania, or Commonwealth governmental officer or employee as part of that person's official duties. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be copied, downloaded, stored, disseminated, transferred, or used, in any forms or by an means, except with State Senator Vincent J. Fumo's prior written permission.|