"Your Home Town Source for Security"
"The Key Pedaler" - Yuba City, CA - (530) 674-3890
Home SecurityReturn to "The Key Pedaler" Home Page
In The Home
If you were locked out of your house, would you still be able
to get in? Maybe you keep an unlocked window in the back, or a
hidden key in your mailbox or on top of a window ledge?
You may think this is a good idea, but guess what? If you can
break in, so can a burglar!
One out of ten homes will be burglarized this year. For a small
amount of time and money you can make your home more secure and
reduce your chances of being a victim.
Many burglars will spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to
break into a home. Good locks - and good neighbors who watch out
for each other - can be big deterrents to burglars.
Check the locks
- Did you know that in almost half of all completed residential
burglaries, thieves simply breezed in through unlocked doors
or crawled through unlocked windows?
- Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed
dead bolt lock. Key-in-the-knob locks alone are not enough.
- Sliding glass doors can offer easy access if they are not
properly secured. You can secure them by installing commercially
available locks or putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside
track to jam the door. To prevent the door being lifted off the
track, drill a hole through the slide door frame and the fixed
frame. Then insert a pin in the hole.
- Sliding windows can be secured with channel window locks.
Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin"
your windows by drilling a small hole into a 45 degree angle
between the inner and outer frames, then insert a security pin
(see locksmith supply) or a nail that can be removed. Secure basement
windows with grilles or grates.
- Instead of hiding keys around the outside of your home, give
an extra key to a neighbor you trust.
- When you move into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.
Check the doors
- A lock on a flimsy door is about as effective as locking
your car door but leaving the window down.
- All outside doors should be metal or solid wood.
- If your doors don't fit tightly in their frames, install
weather stripping around them.
- Install a peephole or wide angle viewer in all entry doors
so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door
chains break easily and don't keep out intruders.
Check the outside
Look at your house from the outside. Make sure you know the
- Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep
them on at night.
- Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't
hide doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that a thief could
use to climb to an upper-level window.
- If you travel, create the illusion that you're at home by
getting some timers that will turn lights on and off in different
areas of your house throughout the evening. Lights burning 24
hours a day signal an empty house.
- Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. And
don't let your mail pile up! Call the post office to stop delivery
or have a neighbor pick it up.
- Make a list of your valuables - VCRs, stereos, computers,
jewelry. Take photos of the items, list their serial numbers
and description. Check with law enforcement about engraving your
valuables through Operation Identification.
- Ask local law enforcement for a free home security survey.
Consider an Alarm
- Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have many
valuables in your home, or live in an isolated area or one with
a history of break-ins.
- Check with several companies before you buy so you can decide
what level of security fits your needs. Do business with an established
company and check references before signing a contract.
- Learn how to use your system properly! Don't "cry wolf"
by setting off false alarms. People will stop paying attention
and you'll probably be fined.
- Some less expensive options...a sound-detecting socket that
plugs into a light fixture and makes the light flash when it
detects certain noises, motion sensing outdoor lights that turn
on when someone approaches, or lights with photo cells that turn
on when it's dark and off when it's light.
Burglars Do More Than Steal
- Burglars can commit rape, robbery, and assault if they are
surprised by someone coming home or pick a home that is occupied.
- If something looks questionable - a slit screen, a broken
window or an open door - don't go in. Call the police from a
neighbor's house or a public phone.
- At night, if you think you hear someone breaking in, leave
safely if you can, then call the police. If you can't leave,
lock yourself in a room with a phone and call the police. If
an intruder is in your room, pretend you are asleep.
- Guns are responsible for many accidental deaths in the home
every year. Think carefully before buying a gun or keeping weapons
in the home. If you do own one, learn how to store it and use
There's More You Can Do
- Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If one doesn't exist, you
can start one with help from local law enforcement.
- Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates
you may be away from home now, say "I'm not available right
- Work with neighbors and local government to organize community
clean-ups. The cleaner your neighborhood, the less attractive
it is to crime.
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In The Home
When we talk about violence, we can't ignore weapons. Nine
out of ten murders involve a weapon - eight of ten involve a firearm.
Most robberies involve the use of a weapon, most frequently a
One in seven teens has reported carrying a weapon - like a
bat, club, gun, or knife - at some time to protect himself. Weapons
can make violence more deadly and less personal. A gun in the
home increases the likelihood of homicide three times and the
likelihood of suicide five times.
Reduce the risk
- Think long and hard about having weapons, especially firearms,
in your home. Studies show that a firearm in the home is more
than forty times as likely to hurt or kill a family member as
to stop a crime.
- Look at other ways to protect yourself and your home. Invest
in top-grade locks, jamming devices for doors and windows, a
dog, or an alarm system. Start or join a Neighborhood Watch.
- If you do choose to own firearms - handguns, rifles, or shotguns
- make sure they are safely stored. That means unloaded, trigger-locked,
and in a locked gun case or pistol box, with ammunition separately
locked. Store keys out of reach of children, away from weapons
and ammunition. Check frequently to make sure this storage remains
- Obtain training from a certified instructor in firearms safety
for everyone in the home. Make sure it's kept current.
- Teach your children what to do if they find a firearm or
something that might be a weapon - Stop, Don't Touch, Get Away,
and Tell a Trusted Adult.
- Show children how to settle arguments or solve problems without
using words or actions that hurt others. Set the example by the
way you handle everyday conflicts in the family, at work, and
in the neighborhood. Don't forget that common courtesies like
"please," "thank you," and "excuse me"
help ease tensions that can lead to violence.
- Discourage name-calling and teasing. These can easily get
out of hand, moving all too quickly from "just words"
to fists, knives, and even firearms. Teach children that bullying
is wrong and take their fears about bullies seriously.
- Take a hard look at what you, your family, and your friends
watch and listen to for entertainment - from action movies and
cop shows to video games and music lyrics. How do the characters
solve problems? Do they make firearms and other violence appear
exciting, funny, or glamorous? Are the real-life consequences
of violence for victims and families clear? Talk about what each
of you liked and didn't like.
- Stick with friends and family who steer clear of violence
and drugs. And encourage your children to do the same. Research
shows use of alcohol and other drugs is closely linked with violence,
including the use of guns and other weapons.
Take action in your community
- Be sure you know where and how to report potentially violent
situations or concerns about conditions in the neighborhood that
could lead to violence. Ask your police department for help in
identifying what to report, when, to whom, and how.
- Support efforts to keep guns, knives, and other weapons from
menacing the everyday lives of children and teens. Encourage
children to report any weapons they know about in or near school
to staff or the police.
- Look around to see what happens to young people after school
hours. Are there supervised programs for younger children? In many
areas, after-school programs are located in schools themselves and
called Safe Havens.
For More Information
Center to Prevent Handgun Violence
1225 Eye Street, NW, Room 1100
Washington, DC 20005
National School Safety Center
4165 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Ste 290
Westlake Village, CA 91362
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Don't let your guard down just because you live in the country.
Rural communities have their own unique crime problems - like
theft of crops, timber, livestock, and expensive farm equipment.
Vandals do more than break mailboxes, they can destroy crops and
fields. Alcohol and drug abuse problems plague rural youth as
well as those in the suburbs and cities. And of course, crimes
like burglary, rape, assault, and auto theft happen in rural areas,
but less frequently than in cities.
Invest some time and money in prevention now. What's the payoff?
Better security around your property, less worry about crime and
your family's safety.
Be a good neighbor - when you're out and about, keep an eye
on neighbors' homes, livestock, and equipment. Tell them and the
sheriff or police about anything that makes you uneasy or suspicious.
Check the doors and locks
- Make sure outside doors - in your home and outbuildings -
are solid wood or metal and have dead bolt locks.
Use the locks!
- Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available locks
or with a broomstick or wooden dowel in the track to jam the
door in case someone tries to pry it open.
- Insert screws in the upper track going into the fixed frame,
to prevent anyone from lifting the door from its track.
- Secure double-hung windows by sliding bolt or nail through
a hole drilled at a downward angle in each top corner of the
inside sash and part way through the outside sash.
Secure basement windows well.
Check the outside
- Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep
them on at night.
- Keep your house, driveway, barns, and other buildings well-lighted
at night. Use timers that automatically turn on outside lights
when it gets dark.
- Consider motion sensors that set off lights or alarms.
- Prune back shrubbery that hides doors, windows, lights, and
- Keep your fences in good repair. Secure all access roads
with gates or cables stretched between posts cemented in the
ground. Make them visible with flags or streamers.
- Warn thieves that you're on the alert with "No Trespassing,"
"No Hunting," and other signs around your property.
Protect equipment and livestock
- Operation Identification - marking tools, guns, and equipment
with a permanent identification number such as driver's license
or Social Security - has helped reduce theft in many rural areas.
Work with law enforcement to determine the best methods, and
make it a community project.
- To help stop modern rustlers, tattoo all livestock (usually
on the ears). Although it's easier to use eartags or neck chains,
these can be removed. Mark young stock soon after birth.
- Take regular counts of all livestock.
Secure gas pumps, gas tanks, storage bins, and grain elevators
with sturdy padlocks or dead bolts.
- Keep small equipment - like mowers, bikes, snowmobiles -
locked in a barn or garage.
- Keep guns locked and unloaded in a secure place away from
curious children and would-be thieves.
- Never leave keys in vehicles or farm equipment.
- Always lock your trucks and other vehicles when they're not
in use. And don't leave tools in the open back of a pick-up truck
or in an unsecured truck bed toolbox.
- Don't leave major equipment in a field overnight. Lock it
in a barn or shed near the house, or park where it can be seen
from your house or a neighbor's.
- If machines must be left out for long periods of time, disable
them by removing the rotor, distributor, or battery.
Guard your crops
- Store harvested crops in protected and locked locations.
- Consider marking grain, hay, or similar crops with nontoxic
confetti that is easily removed by storage or processing facilities.
- Keep a record of your valuable timber. Mark each with a paint
- Keep storage areas neat and well-organized so that any theft
will be noticed immediately. This also warns potential thieves
that the owner is watchful.
- Check employees' references. Before they start, talk about
your crime prevention measures.
Help your neighbors
- Get together with others in the community to start a Neighborhood
or Farm Watch group. Involve all ages, and work with law enforcement.
Use CB radios or cellular phones to patrol and report suspicious activities to the sheriff
- When you go away, stop delivery of your mail or newspapers
or ask a neighbor to pick them up. You want to create the illusion
that someone's at home and following everyday routines. Have
neighbors check your property, and return the favor when they
leave on business or vacation trips.
Take a stand
- Educate young people about the hazards of operating farm
machinery and being around livestock. For example, tractors are
involved in 69 percent of farm machinery deaths, and young people
raised on farms often operate these machines at early ages.
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Just like Neighborhood Watch, members of an Apartment Watch
learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each
other and their community, and report crime and suspicious activities
to the police. Here are some ways to get an Apartment Watch going
- Help arrange with local police for apartment security surveys
and Operation Identification.
- Check the complex on a regular basis for problems such as
burned-out light bulbs, dark corridors, uncollected trash, or
broken locks on mailboxes and doors. Report problems to the building
- Try to help each other, such as starting an escort service
for the elderly or after-school care for children.
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