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Securing Your Home


* Have good locks put on all points of entry. Inspect all doors and windows for loose locks, deadbolts, hinges and latches, and repair promptly. On exterior doors, a one-inch deadbolt lock provides good security. One-inch deadbolt locks on all exterior doors are effective, though care should be taken when installing double cylinder locks on emergency exits. Locks that have the keyhole in the knob are a poor choice. They are easily forced from the outside.
* Padlocks should be good quality with heel-and-toe locking. A good padlock will have a double locking shackle at the toe and heel, a five-pin tumbler and a hardened steel shackle, the bigger the diameter, the better.
* Locks are only as good as the keys that control them. If keys are lost, change the locks.

Windows and Sliding Doors

Window locks can be easily pried open, and sliding glass doors or windows can be lifted out of their tracks. Therefore, secondary locks should be installed on all windows and self-tapping screws in the upper track allow the door or window to slide into place. A square-edged length of wood placed in the bottom track will resist lateral forcing. Most windows can be pinned for security. Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant though the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame. A nail or pin can then be placed in the hole to secure the window.


Garages are favorite targets for burglars. Whether you are at home or away, garage doors should be kept locked at all times. Cane bolts and hasps are good protection. Make sure each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space.


* Exterior doors should be of solid-core construction. Double doors need good security because they are easily forced or jimmied. Flush lever bolts should be installed at the top and the bottom. The bolt should be long, sturdy and mounted into a solid doorframe. Doors with windows or glass ornamentation require double key deadlock bolts. This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door.
* The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in at all times when someone is home to ensure that the resident can escape in the event of fire or other emergency.
* Make sure that doorframes are solid and are equipped with proper strike plates. Doors should be mounted so that hinge-bolts are not exposed to the outside. Install a door eye-viewer.
* Metal bars installed on basement windows provide extra security. Try to use bars that can be opened from the inside in the event of fire or other emergency.

Alarm Systems

Burglars dislike noise: it attracts attention. A barking dog is a good deterrent, but clever burglars have been known to carry snacks with them to win over the watchdog. That's why a reliable burglar alarm is a better choice.

It's important to have a thorough home demonstration of your alarm system and to fully understand its features (e.g. a panic button).

Audible alarms are recommended over silent alarms for residential use and reliable alarms should include: 1. A battery-powered fail-safe back-up. 2. A rearming capability and siren timer shut-off. 3. Read-out ability to check that the system works. 4. A siren sounding device that can be installed on the exterior of the home to alert neighbours of possible intrusion.


Install bright lighting around the exterior of your home, paying special attention to entrances and garages. Sensor lights which are triggered by motion are a particularly good deterrent.

When away from the home, use a timer to activate interior lights to give the appearance that some is there.

Lock Weapons

Lock guns and ammunition away so that burglars will have no opportunity to use them during a break-in.

General Tips

* Have a cellular phone in your home to make emergency calls in case the telephone line is disconnected.
* When away from the home, ensure that newspapers and mail do not accumulate.
* Ask neighbours to keep an eye on your home and when you are away, to remove debris, leaves, snow, etc.
* Do not leave ladders in unlocked garden sheds or other areas accessible to criminals.

Inspect Your Home

Regularly inspect the interior and exterior of your home for security deficiencies (e.g. Windows which are not closed or properly secured).

Trademarks owned or controlled by the Canadian Real Estate Association used under license.