Home and Vehicle Security Tips

Crime is on the rise everywhere and with the state of the economy, house and vehicles are being broken into on an all too regular basis. The Webster Police Department makes the following recommendations on how you, the homeowner or vehicle owner, can help to prevent allowing yourself to be a victim of a "B&E" as well as some other tips for general security purposes.   


Home Safety Tips

General Home Safety and Appearance

  • Are your house numbers visible from the street for emergency service such as police, fire, and ambulance?

  • Does the overall appearance of your home give criminals information about you and your family that would assist them in victimizing you--things such as a full mailbox, outdoor lighting on during the day, or the garage doors open with no cars present?

  • Are all fence gates padlocked to make it more difficult for strangers to enter your yard?

  • Donít leave notes on your door when you are away from home.

  • Donít leave keys in mailboxes or planters, under doormats, or in other obvious hiding spots. Leave an extra key with a neighbor.

  • Donít give your name, phone number, or whereabouts on your answering machine message. Never say you arenít home. Just ask the caller to leave a message.

  • Keep property in good condition and free of trash, litter, weeds, leaves, graffiti, dismantled or inoperative vehicles, and other things that indicate neglect in caring for your property.

  • Never announce your vacation plans or that you are "leaving the house" on Facebook, My Space, Twitter, or other social networking sites.

  • Use timers on lights, radios, TVs, etc. to make them go on and off during the day and night to make your home appear occupied.

  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery if going on vacation, or have neighbor pick up anything left at the home.

  • Keep valuables out of the line of sight of a potential burglar.

Landscape Appearance

  • Are your shrubs and trees trimmed to "open up the line of sight" of your home for your neighbors from several directions?

  • Are shrubs and trees trimmed to prohibit concealment of an intruder?

  • Is shrubbery trimmed away from the outside of the windows to prohibit concealment of an intruder?

  • Trim bushes to less than 3 feet to eliminate possible hiding places, especially near windows and sidewalks.

  • Trim trees so that limbs donít provide access to roofs, second stories, etc.

  • Remember that privacy fencing creates hiding places

Outdoor Lighting

  • Do you have only decorative lighting such as used in flower beds?

  • Do you have only entrance/exit lighting such as front/rear door type lights?

  • Do you have true security lighting operated by an electric eye or timer, every night, all night, giving your home a perimeter of light around it?

  • Leave outside lights on after dark or have outside lights controlled by a motion detector. Make sure there are no dark areas around the house, garage, or yard in which a person could hide. Street lights are generally inadequate for illuminating your property

  • Check lights regularly and replace burnt out bulbs.

External Doors

  • Are all external doors either metal, solid wood, solid wood frame, or at least solid core construction?

  • Are door frames strong and tight enough to withstand some degree of force?

  • Are doors with outside exposed hinges pinned to prevent easy removal from outside?

  • Are all external doors equipped with "good" dead bolt locks which have at least a one-inch throw?

  • Are the strike plates installed with three-to-four inch screws which are anchored well into the two-by-four inch stud behind the door frame?

  • Are glass sliding doors pinned to prevent being forced open? Is the upper track secured with large pan head screws to prevent lifting?

  • Are French or double doors fitted with flush bolts at the top and bottom edge of the inactive or secondary door?

  • Is there a door leading from the garage to the interior of the home, and if so, is it equally secure as an external door?

  • Donít rely on chain locks for security. Theyíre only good for privacy.

  • Re-key or change all locks when moving into a new home.

  • Reinforce the glass in windows on the lock sides of doors so a burglar cannot break them and reach in to open the door.

  • Keep all doors and windows locked, even if you are just going out ďfor a minute.Ē

  • Donít leave your home keys on a chain with your vehicle keys when you use valet parking. Also, donít leave your garage door opener where it is easily accessible.


  • Are wooden windows "pinned" on both sides, from the inside?

  • Are aluminum windows fitted with secondary locking devices, easily removed, in case of fire?

  • Is shrubbery trimmed away from the outside of the windows to prohibit concealment of an intruder?

  • Keep all doors and windows locked, even if you are just going out ďfor a minute.Ē If a window is left open a few inches for ventilation, pins or dowels should be inserted in the tracks to prevent someone from opening it more.

  • Replace broken windows or screens.

Garage Doors

  • Are overhead garage doors fitted with an interior locking device, blocking the track, as well as an outside locking device?

  • Do windows in the garage door prohibit viewing the interior of the garage from the outside by use of curtains or film?

  • Is the garage door kept down and locked at all times?

  • Donít leave your home keys on a chain with your vehicle keys when you use valet parking. Also, donít leave your garage door opener where it is easily accessible.


Vehicle Safety Tips

  • Park in open, well-lighted, and populated areas near your destination, preferably one in view of a security camera.

  • Avoid parking near trucks, vans, dumpsters, and other objects that obstruct visibility and provide hiding places.

  • Avoid parking near strangers loitering or sitting in vehicles.

  • Park in lots or garages where you donít have to leave your keys.

  • Park in your garage, if you have one. Donít leave your vehicle on the street, in an alley, or on your driveway. If you have to park on a street, avoid dark or isolated areas.

  • Turn off your engine, roll up all windows, lock all doors, and take your keys with you even if you are making a quick stop at a store or gas station, or even in your driveway.

  • Close all windows and lock the trunk and hood.

  • Donít leave spare keys in your vehicle. An experienced thief knows all the hiding places. Store spare keys in your wallet.

  • Donít leave your vehicle in an unattended public lot for an extended period time.

  • If you have a vehicle alarm system, always activate the system when leaving the vehicle.

  • Check your vehicle if you hear the alarm sound. But donít try to stop a person attempting to break in. Get a good description of the person and call 911.

  • When you lock your vehicle with a Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) fob make sure that all the doors are locked before leaving your vehicle, especially in public parking lots. There has been an increase in the use of jammers to prevent the RKE signal from activating the door locks.

  • Turn your wheels sharply toward the curb when parking on a street.

  • Use anti-theft devices that can be attached to the steering wheel or column, or brake pedal. Use one every time you leave your vehicle unattended. Steering wheel locks are inexpensive and are recommended by some experts to be the most cost-effective theft deterrent on the market today.

  • Buy a vehicle with a locking ignition or steering column.

  • Consider having your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) etched on all the windows.

  • Never leave anything of value in plain sight. Remove all cellular phones, audio systems, GPS devices, Satellite Radio Receivers, computers, packages, sports equipment, cameras, purses, wallets, firearms, etc. from the inside of your vehicle.

  • Take anything you canít afford to lose with you, e.g., a wallet, credit card, or laptop computer. Put other valuables in the trunk before you park, never after you park. Thieves may be watching.

  • If you have a locking trunk release inside your vehicle, be sure to lock the release.

  • Lock your glove box.

  • In shopping, ask the store to hold all your purchases until you are finished there so you can carry everything to your vehicle in one trip. If you need to make more than one trip to load your trunk, move your vehicle to a different area of the parking lot after each trip.

  • Make sure that any valuables that were locked in the glove box or trunk were not taken or tampered with when you return to your vehicle. Thieves are able to get into some vehicles without leaving any visible signs of a break-in.

  • Take the removable face of your CD player with you even if you are going to be gone for a few minutes.

  • Lock truck-bed toolboxes.


To prevent the theft of motorcycles

  • When at home park and lock your bike in the garage, preferably behind a car. And make sure the garage is secure.

  • When out, park in a well-lighted area in full view of people in the area and within the coverage of a security camera.

  • Try to avoid parking between larger vehicles as they provide cover for thieves.

  • Do not leave your helmet or riding gear with your bike.

  • Lock your ignition and remove the key. Also lock your bikeís forks or disc brakes with a large external lock.

  • Cover your bike when you leave it unattended. Use a cover with grommets so the cover can be locked in place. And set the alarm to activate when the cover is removed. Few thieves will risk a blind theft. They usually look for certain models.

  • Chain and lock your bike to a secure, immovable object when itís unattended. Use a high tensile-strength chain and a matching security lock. Loop the chain through the rear wheel or frame and make sure it is tight around your bike. Do not let it rest on the ground. And use multiple locks. A thief might be prepared for one but not the other.

  • Lock bikes together when riding with others.



Alarm Disclaimer: Although an alarm is a very good deterrent to a thief, it is not guaranteed protection. It is important that the above suggestions are followed even if you have a security alarm. Always be sure to arm your alarm no matter how long or how short of an amount of time you will be gone.

NEVER ATTEMPT TO STOP A THIEF. If you witness what you believe to be a breaking and entering in process into a house or a vehicle, never confront the person or attempt to stop them. Chances are if they are willing to burglarize a home or vehicle, there is a good chance they are willing to cause bodily harm to you. Call 911 immediately to report any suspicious activity.


Information compiled from the suggestions of this department, Olympia, WA Police Department, Fort Worth, Tx Police Department, and San Diego, CA Police Department.



Webster Police Department
357 Main St., Webster, MA 01570       Phone: (508) 943-1212       Fax: (508) 949-3898      Crime Tips: (508) 949-3874
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