Not so long ago, people didn’t feel the need to lock doors or windows. But times have changed, and so has the need to use locks for protection.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, most individuals don’t have the proper lock security. Only half of Americans have dead-bolt locks on all of the entry doors to their homes and nearly one in five have none at all.

We recommend checking and updating old locks on all doors and windows and replacing them with ones that provide protection from keys being duplicated without your knowledge. Making sure your locks have a long enough bolt so the door cannot be pried open is also a good idea.

Installing quality locks is the first line of defense against home burglaries since they can protect you against physical attack. Other steps can be taken to increase your security.

  • Use your locks. Even the best locks can’t protect you if you don’t use them.
  • Do some yard work. Trim hedges and bushes so thieves can’t hide out.
  • Know your neighbors. Neighbors who look out for each other are among the best, and least expensive, defenses against neighborhood crime.
  • Secure your spare. Leave your spare key with a trusted neighbor. Never hide it on the property. Burglars have more experience looking for keys than you do hiding them.
  • Let there be light. Make sure all outside entrances — front, back and side — have good lighting so burglars can’t easily hide.
  • Stop mail and paper deliveries. A pile of newspapers in the driveway is a clear sign to a thief that you’re away from home.