One of the tools used in crime prevention is the home check list.

I use this list when I conduct home security surveys, but now you can conduct your own survey.

This check list is easy to use and easy to follow. It’s a great way to improve the overall security of your home. Not all of this will apply to you, but most probably will.

I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes, read over the list and conduct your own survey.

This information was furnished by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

Exterior Doors

All doors are locked at night and every time we leave the house—even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Doors are solid hardwood or metal-clad.

Doors feature wide-angle peepholes at heights everyone can use.

If there are glass panels in or near doors they are reinforced in some way so that they cannot be shattered.

All entryways have a working, keyed entry lock and sturdy deadbolt lock installed into the frame of the door.

Spare keys are kept with a trusted neighbor, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox.

Garage and Sliding Door Security

The door leading from the attached garage to the house is solid wood or metal-clad and protected with a quality keyed door lock and deadbolt.

The overhead garage door has a lock so that we do not rely solely on the automatic door opener to provided security.

Garage doors are all locked when leaving the house.

The sliding glass door has a strong, working key lock.

A dowel or a pin to secure a glass door has been installed to prevent the door from being shoved aside or lifted off the track.

Protecting Windows

Every window in the house has a working key lock or is securely pinned.

Windows are locked, even when they are opened a few inches for ventilation.

Outdoor Security

Shrubs and bushes are trimmed so there is no place for someone to hide.

There are no dark areas around our house, garage or yard at night that would hide prowlers.

Every outside door has a bright, working light to illuminate visitors.

Floodlights are used appropriately to ensure effective illumination.

Outdoor lights are on in the evening—whether someone is at home or not or a photocell or motion-sensitive lighting system has been installed.

Our house number is clearly displayed so police and other emergency vehicles can find the house quickly.

Security When Away From Home

At least two light timers have been set to turn the lights on and off in a logical sequence, when we are away from home for an extended time period.

The motion detector or other alarm system (if we have one) has been activated when we leave home.

Mail and newspaper deliveries have been stopped or arrangements for a neighbor/friend to pick them up have been made when we go away from home for a period of time.

A neighbor has been asked to tend to the yard and watch our home when we are away.

Outdoor Valuables and Personal Property

Gate latches, garage doors and shed doors are all locked with high-security, laminated padlocks.

Gate latches, garage doors, and shed doors are locked after every use.

Grills, lawn mowers and other valuables are stored in a locked garage or shed, or if left out in the open, are hidden from view with a tarp and securely locked to a stationary point.

Every bicycle is secured with a U-bar lock or quality padlock and chain.

Bikes are always locked, even if we leave them for just a minute.

Firearms are stored unloaded and locked in storage boxes and secured with trigger guard locks.

Valuable items such as televisions, stereos and computers have been inscribed with an identifying number approved by local police.

Our home inventory is up-to-date and includes pictures. A complete copy is kept somewhere out of the house.

Police Officer Larry Jacobs is a crime prevention specialist with the Crime Prevention Unit of the Sandy Springs Police Department.