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Safety Tips From A.W. Gifford Inc. Of Springfield, MA

At A. W. Gifford Locksmith, we care about your safety. Our Security Tips section provides tips and suggestions on keeping your home or business safe and secure. A typical burglar will spend 60 seconds attempting to break in to a home or building. Anything that you can do to delay a burglar in entering your space will decrease the likelihood of a theft occurring. There are a number of preventative measures that you can take.

Click on one of the links below or continue scrolling down to read on. Please feel free to print these tips to use for your home or business.

Home Security Tips

Locks & Keys :

  • One of the best things you can remember to do with locks and keys is to simply keep them out of circulation. The less keys there are out there, the less likely someone will use them without your permission. Think of all the people who may have keys, from housekeepers to childcare providers to valet parking attendants. It is simple and inexpensive for duplicate keys to be made without your knowledge.
  • Always change your locks when you move into a new house or apartment.
  • As tempting as it may be, don't leave your spare keys in obvious places like under flower pots or welcome mats.
  • Do not leave any identifying tags on your key ring that can provide thieves with personal information such as your name and address.
  • Buy high-quality locks with keys that cannot be duplicated easily, such as Assa High Security Locks.
  • Specialized keys can be purchased that require your authorization for copies to be made. These keys can only be duplicated by a professional locksmith.

Doors & Windows

  • Always check doors and windows to ensure they are secure. These are the easiest points of entry and can protect your home from break-ins.
  • Avoid hollow wood doors that can be easily kicked in. Look for quality, solid wood or steel doors.
  • When installing doors, make sure the hinges are placed on the inside of the door. This makes it so that the door so hinges cannot be easily removed.
  • Make sure there are no gaps around your doors or frames. This not only wastes energy, but makes doors vulnerable to prying.
  • To easily reinforce security on sliding glass doors, place a metal or solid wood rod on the inside track.
  • When you come and go, watch to make sure the electric garage door closes completely. You want to make sure no one can sneak in as it closes.
  • Make sure any doors that lead to the outside of your home are solid and secured with high security deadbolt locks.
  • Make sure your windows can be securely locked.

Landscaping & Lights

  • Have any trees or branches removed that are close to your home and may give burglars access to upper levels.
  • Planting low, thorny bushes and plants below your windows can make it difficult for potential burglars to navigate through your yard and approach entry points.
  • Keep your trees and shrubbery trimmed; don't give burglars somewhere to hide.
  • Keeping your lawn well maintained and cared for lets outsiders know that the house is attended to and constantly inhabited.
  • Keep your property well lit. Burglars prefer to operate in the dark.
  • Installing motion sensing lights will not only make you feel safer when approaching your home after dark, but they will also deter criminals who don't wish to be seen.
  • When you go out in the evening, make sure to leave a light on, preferably on each floor.

Notes On The Neighborhood

  • Stay alert to the physical details, people, and happenings in your neighborhood.
  • When considering moving to a new neighborhood, call the police and find out the frequency of burglaries in the area. Ask about how they have occurred, so you know how to protect yourself.
  • Don't let strangers come to your home, even if they are offering free services such as inspections of your roof, furnace or air conditioners. Be safe, you can always ask for identification or call the company.
  • Tell your neighbors about any suspicious strangers, including a description of the suspect and their activities.
  • If you suspect a stranger may be inside your home, do not go inside. Use your cell phone or ask to use a neighbor's phone to call the police immediately.

Vacation Security

  • Take steps to secure your home when leaving for vacation. Secure all lock on doors and windows, including garage and pet doors.
  • Be careful who you tell about your vacation schedule or even your day to day schedule.
  • If you have an answering machine, do not leave a recording telling people you aren't at home.
  • Install timers on indoor lights, televisions and radios. You can purchase timers with random patterns that suggest movement and activity in the house.
  • Check your light bulbs and replace any that look as if they may go out soon. Invest in long-lasting bulbs.
  • Arrange to have your yard maintained while you are away, including having your driveway shoveled or lawn mowed.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor that you trust to pick up your mail and check the inside and outside of your house every day.
  • Do not close all shades and curtains, it will be too obvious that you are away.

Smart Tips

  • Be proactive about your home security.
  • Do not display your valuables to the outside world.
  • Dogs are a great deterrent. Not only do they frighten intruders, but they also warn you.
  • Limit access to your keys. For example: auto repair or valet parking attendants could have copies of standard keys made within minutes. They could even potentially have access to your address on your registration.

Business Security Tips

General Tips

Just as you would with your home, you need to be aware of when your business is most at risk of being burglarized and take the necessary precautions to keep it safe. The times you are most at risk are when you:

  • Have recently fired an employee
  • Have multiple keys in circulation (Maintenance people, employees, etc)
  • Have a consistent schedule
  • Take long vacations

Locks & Doors

  • Your locks are your first line of defense. Make sure you invest in locks that offer patented key control. This will guard against unauthorized key duplication and they are resistant to picking and drilling.
  • Consider installing Medeco or Assa High Security Locks or Electronic Access Control Units on all doors. Remember, standard access systems do not offer high security.
  • Install high-quality, solid wood or steel doors.
  • Ensure your door frames and hinges cannot be easily pried open.
  • Secure all windows.

Safes & Lights

  • Position your safe in clear view and secure it to the floor.
  • Give the safe combination or key only to authorized personnel.
  • Change the combination often.
  • Turn the dial several times after closing the safe to be sure it is locked.
  • Make frequent deposits so that a minimal amount of cash is stored at your business at any given time.
  • Vary the route you take and your schedule for trips to the bank.
  • Protect your business with proper lighting.
  • Install motion sensitive as well as constant outside lighting.
  • Eliminate dark places around the building that would make good hiding places.
  • Keep some interior lights on even when the business is closed.
  • Place inside lights in rear of room so that silhouettes can be seen from the street.

Outdoor Security & Suspicious Idlers

  • Check that any fire escapes don't provide easy access.
  • Remove any bushes or trees that keep you from having a clear view into and out of your establishment.
  • Ask employees and neighbors to report any suspicious persons and happenings.
  • Try to remember the physical features of suspicious persons and write down detailed descriptions.
  • Call the police if suspicious idlers continue to loiter.
  • Write down the license number of any vehicle that may be involved in a crime.
  • In the event that you are robbed, remember that it is better to lose your valuables than your life. Yield your possessions and let the robber go. Call the police as soon as possible. Be alert to every detail that could aid in identifying the criminal.