Roof

  • Skylights are equipped with a locking mechanism.
  • Vent openings have resistant locking devices.

Lighting

  • All the access means to your home are well lit (including temporary shelters in the winter for cars and entrances).
  • Outside light bulbs are protected and difficult to access to prevent a thief from removing the bulb.
  • Motion-activated lights can be very effective at dissuading a thief who risks being seen. However, they must be correctly calibrated to avoid the sensor being activated unnecessarily (i.e. a passing animal).

Perimeter

  • The trees are pruned (the lower branches are more than a meter above ground) and the shrubs are located in such a way that a thief cannot hide behind them.
  • There are no objects lying around that could be used to break into your home (ladder, tools, etc.) or objects that could be stolen (lawnmower, bicycle, snow blower, etc.).
  • The street number is clearly visible at the front and back (where necessary) of the house, to help police or other emergency services personnel to identify your residence.

Doors

  • Exterior doors should be solid, made of wood and metal clad.
  • Wooden door frames are reinforced with a strike plate at the level of the lock
  • It is preferable to install a peep hole rather than a chain lock.
  • Door hinges that are on the outside have a non-removable tamper-proof centre pin.
  • It is preferable to have 2.54 cm or (1") deadbolt locks on exterior doors.
  • To prevent sliding doors from being lifted up, slid along or removed from their tracks, they are equipped with:
    • A security plate and/or screw in the upper track to prevent the door from being lifted up, and;
    • A metal security bar or piece of wood in the lower track, that can be removed to provide an exit in an emergency, to prevent the door from being slid along.

Windows

  • Window frames are solid and not cracked.
  • Windows are equipped with a locking device.
  • Sliding windows have a screw fastened into the upper track and a security bar or piece of wood in the lower track that can be removed to provide an exit in case of an emergency.
  • Basement windows have hinged security bars that can be opened easily from the inside in case of an emergency.
  • Window air-conditioners must be securely installed.

Garage and tool-shed

  • Install an appropriate lock on garage doors.
  • Avoid installing thin-paneled wooden garage doors.
  • Never leave the garage door open while you are away.
  • Where applicable, the inside door connecting the garage to the house is equipped with a deadbolt.
  • The tool-shed has adequate locks.
  • The tool-shed and garage windows are made of a rigid material or protected with security bars. It is recommended you hang curtains or blinds to prevent someone from looking in.

Alarm systems1

  • From among the various alarm systems available, it is recommended that you have an alarm system that is monitored off-site, so that the alarm company can alert the police, if applicable.
  • Choose a specialized company which provides a guarantee. Your system should be certified by the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
  • Test the alarm system regularly.
  • The alarm system should be connected to an auxiliary power source so that it remains functional during a power outage.
  • Put stickers on doors and windows indicating that your home is equipped with an alarm system.

1 N.B. Alarm systems are not foolproof. Don't forget to apply prevention advice and other necessary precautions to avoid being the victim of a B&E.

Jewellery and valuables

  • If possible, don't keep valuables at home. If you keep them at home, place them in a safe, make a list your valuables and take photos or make a video.
  • Put a few inexpensive pieces of jewellery in a jewellery box to dissuade thieves from needlessly trashing your home.
  • If possible, avoid placing objects of value (i.e., computers, TVs, MP3s, etc.) in plain sight near access points (windows or doors).
  • Never place the packaging of new purchases, such as televisions, computers and even large appliances, on the street. Fold the cardboard boxes and put them in the recycling, or ask the delivery men to take back the old appliances and the packaging.

Voice mail

  • Never say that you are away on the recorded message.
  • On the recorded message, say 'we' rather than give the names of all residents, even if you live alone.
  • Call in to pick up any messages and empty your voice-mail box to make sure it is not full.

Keys

  • Never write your contact information (name, address, telephone number or licence plate number) down on your key chain. Should you lose it, someone could use the information to break into your home.
  • Never hide your keys near the front door. Instead give them to a friend or neighbour you trust.

Identifying your property (engraving)

  • Mark your belongings (computers, stereos, etc.) by engraving them. This makes them more difficult for a thief to sell and allows the police to identify the owner if the stolen property is found.
  • Your police service can lend you the engraver free of charge and the appropriate information for identification.
  • Place stickers on doors and windows stating that your property has been marked with an engraver.

Daily security

  • Always lock doors and windows when you leave home.
  • Never tell people you're going to be away (either in person, in writing or on your voice mail, e-mail or social network sites).
  • Never write your name on your mail box. A thief could look up your phone number and check whether you are home.

Good neighbours

  • Maintaining cordial relations with neighbours can be a form of surveillance and security for your home.
  • Join a Neighbourhood Watch program (contact your local police service and find out if they participate in the program).

Going away on vacation?
(Extended stay)

  • Let a neighbour you trust know you will be away (departure and return dates) and leave a phone number where you can be reached in case of emergency.
  • Ask someone to pick up your mail, newspapers and flyers or ask Canada Post to hold back your mail and temporarily suspend your newspaper delivery.
  • Install a programmable timer for inside and outside lights, if possible.
  • Ask someone to mow the lawn during the summer or shovel your entrance and driveway during the winter.
  • Transfer your calls to a family member or friend (who should not mention that you are on vacation …).
  • Do not leave a message on your voice-mail saying how long you will be away.
  • Leave a vehicle in the driveway and ask someone to move it from time to time.

Moving into your new home

  • When moving into a new home, it is strongly recommended you change the locks.
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