A.W. Gifford Lock & Safe Specialists

Keep your home safe!
Welcome to our Security Tips section. This area focuses on keeping your home or business safe and secure. Typically a burglar will only spend about 60 seconds attempting to break in to a building. Anything you do to increase the time spent to gain entry will decrease the likelihood of a theft occurring.

There are a number of steps that you can take, many of them inexpensive, to persuade a burglar that this is not the building for them.

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.



Locks & Keys

General Tips

Doors & Windows

Locks & Doors

Landscaping & Lights

Safes & Lights

Notes on the Neighborhood

Outdoor Security & Suspicious Idlers

Vacation Security

Smart Tips

Home Security Tips
Locks & Keys

The first thing to remember about locks and keys is to keep keys out of circulation. The potential for theft by use of unauthorized keys is staggering. Just think of all the people who have keys, from housekeepers to childcare providers to valet parking attendants. Then, think of all the places where duplicate keys can be made, from hardware stores to shoe repair shops.

Change all locks when moving into a new house or apartment.

Be wary of giving out keys to your home. Only give keys to a few trusted people.

Do not leave spare keys in obvious places like under flowers pots or welcome mats.

Do not have identifying tags on your key ring that provide thieves with personal information such as your name and address.

Buy locks with keys that cannot be easily duplicated such as Medeco or Assa High Security Locks.

Look for specialized keys that require your authorization to make copies and can only be duplicated by a professional locksmith.

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Doors & Windows

When protecting your home from break-ins, check the easiest points of entry: doors and windows.

Choose solid wood or steel doors as hollow wood doors can be easily kicked in.

Install doors with the hinges on the inside of the door so hinges cannot be easily removed.

Do not leave gaps around doors and frames that would make doors vulnerable to prying.

Reinforce security on sliding glass doors by placing a metal or solid wood rod on the inside track.

Watch the electric garage door close completely when you come and go so that someone cannot sneak under as it closes.

Make sure back doors and the door that connects your garage to you home are solid and secured with high security deadbolt locks.

Make sure your windows can be securely locked.

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Landscaping & Lights

Remove trees or branches of trees close to your home that give burglars access to upper levels.

Make it difficult for potential burglars to navigate through your yard and approach entry points. Plant low thorny bushes below your windows.

Trim your trees and shrubbery; don't give burglars somewhere to hide.

Keep your lawn well maintained so that they know that the house is attended to and constantly inhabited.

In addition to keeping your yard neatly trimmed and well cared for, keep it well lighted. Burglars prefer to operate in the dark.

Install porch lights, and be attentive to burned out bulbs.

Install motion sensitive lights: they will not only make you feel safer when approaching your home after dark, but they will also deter criminals who don't want to be seen.

When you go out in the evening, leave a light on, preferably on each floor.

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Notes on the Neighborhood

Be aware of the physical details, people and happenings in your neighborhood.

When moving, call the police and find out the frequency of burglaries in your new neighborhood and how they have occurred, so you know how to protect yourself.

Do not let strangers into your home, especially when they offer free services such as free inspections of your roof, furnace or air conditioners. If you are not sure about a worker even after asking for identification, call the company.

Tell your neighbors about suspicious strangers, including a description of the suspect and his procedure.

Do not go in the house if you suspect there is a stranger inside. Use a neighbor's phone or your wireless phone to call police immediately.

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Vacation Security

When leaving for vacation, take steps to secure your home while you are away.

Do not be overly communicative about your vacation schedule or even your day to day schedule.

Do not tell people you aren't at home on the outgoing message of your answering machine.

Put timers on indoor lights, televisions and radios. Specifically, look for timers with random patterns that suggest movement and activity in the house.

Erase the message on your answering machine often, so it isn't obvious you're out of town.

Secure all lock on doors and windows, including garage and pet doors.

Use new, quality, long-lasting light bulbs.

Arrange to have your yard maintained, including having your driveway shoveled or lawn mowed.

Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and check inside and outside of your house every day.

Do not close all shades and curtains, it will be too obvious that you are away.

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Smart Tips

Be proactive about your home security.

Do not display valuables to the outside world.

Dogs really are a deterrent. Not only do they frighten intruders, but they also warn you.

Do not provide access to your keys. For example, auto repair or valet parking attendents can make copies of standard keys within minutes and they have access to your address on your registration.

Business Security Tips
General Tips

With your business as well as your home, you need to be aware of when you are most at risk of being burglarized and act accordingly. The time when you are most at risk are when you:

have just fired an employee

have multiple keys in circulation (Maintenance people, employees, etc)

have a very consistent schedule

take long vacations

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Locks & Doors

Your locks are your first line of defense. Be sure they offer patented key control to guard against unauthorized key duplication and are resistant to picking and drilling.

Install Medeco or Assa High Security Locks or Electronic Access Control Units on all doors. Remember, standard access systems do not offer high security.

Install solid doors.

Select door frames and hinges that cannot be pried open.

Secure all windows.

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Safes & Lights

Position your safe in clear view and secure it to the floor.

Give the combination or key only to specially 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 a minimal amount of cash is stored at your business.

Vary your route and 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.

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Outdoor Security & Suspicious Idlers

Be sure fire escapes don't provide easy access.

Keep a clear view into and out of your establishment by clearing high bushes or trees.

Ask employees and neighbors to report suspicious persons and happenings.

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 involved in a possible crime.

If you are robbed, remember that it is better to lose your valuables than your life. Yield your possessions and let the robber go. Then call the police. Be alert to every detail that could aid in identifying the criminal.

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