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Bridgeport In The Know

SECURE YOUR PROPERTY

HOME SECURITY BASICS

Here are tips to help you evaluate your home security on ways to "harden" your residence against break-ins. The emphasis is on securing the areas of vulnerability for a thief intent on entry windows & doors.

What may surprise you is that half of all burglars enter homes through unlocked doors and windows. Just by making a practice of locking doors and windows, you can reduce your chance of a burglary by half ! 

Please take the time to look at the security methods outlined here, and use them to increase the security of your home.

DOORS
The most common ways of forcing entry through a door is by kicking in the door, twisting off the doorknob, or prying the door open. Every external door should have a dead bolt lock.
Doors should be of metal clad or solid wood construction.
A 190 degree door view peephole should be installed in the center of doors without windows.
Door hinges should be on the interior side of the door. If hinges are on the exterior, hinges should be "pinned" to prevent door removal.
Consider break-resistant glass or laminates for windows within 40" of the door lock.

LOCKS
Exterior doors should have a properly installed deadbolt that operates with a key from the outside and a turning knob on the inside. It should be of case-hardened steel, with a 1 long bolt throw, a rotating or beveled collar & a strike plate secured with 3 screws. See drawing →
Chain locks are often used as a night latch. Chain locks are not recommended because they are easy to overcome with force.

WINDOWS
Screws securing most sash locks are too short. Replace them with screws at least an inch long.
Sash locks are flimsy. To reinforce your window, drill two 1/4-inch holes through corners of sashes. Insert 16-penny nails. The nails prevent the window from being opened from outside but can be removed to open the window from inside. Drill other holes in upper sash to keep window locked in a partially open position for ventilation.
Close and lock your first floor and upper floor windows when leaving home.
Vent locks are built-in devices to keep a window locked while it is open a few inches. Some are spring-loaded plastic wedges that pop out of the frame. Others are bolts that attaches to the moving part of window and slide into a hole in the frame.

SLIDING DOORS

Sliding doors should have a blocking device such as a track lock or dowel in the track.
Make sure the door can't be lifted out from its track. 
Install screws to project slightly from upper track to prevent doors from being lifted out.       

GARAGES
Keep your garage door closed, even when at home. Leaving your garage open gives burglars the opportunity to "take inventory."
Padlocks can be inserted into holes in garage door tracks to prevent the door from being forced open.

STORAGE SHEDS
Install a deadbolt or a good quality hasp and padlock. Hasps need to be bolted to the surface. Bolts should not be visible when hasp is in place.

LIGHTS
Porch lights should be on from dusk to dawn every night.
Consider using timers to turn lights on so you never come home to a dark house.
Use yard lights to illuminate walkways, driveways, and garages.
Motion detectors can be used to alert the resident and neighbors that someone is in the area.

LANDSCAPING 
Trim shrubs and trees around house to prevent a place for concealment by burglars
A deterrent to vulnerable first floor windows is to plant low, thorny bushes around these windows.
Fences should establish the boundaries of your property without offering concealment for a burglar.

VEHICLES
Car doors should be locked at all times and car windows closed all the way.
Do not leave any valuables visible in the car: no electronics or hookups, no change, nothing ever.
Use a mechanical locking device like a CLUB locked on your steering wheel.

OTHER SECURITY MEASURES
Operation ID:  Engrave valuables with your driver's license # and keep a detailed record.
Set some inside lights on timers to make your home appear occupied at all times.
Use a greeting on your answering machine greeting that doesn't tell the caller you are gone.
Put grills, bikes and other valuable items in your garage or lock them to a railing.

For more information on home security, for a free home security check in Bridgeport, contact Officer Ortiz of the Community Services Division 203-576-8278 nick.ortiz@bridgeportct.gov.

For more information about crime and safety in Bridgeport, click here.