As homeowners get back outside and into their yards this spring, Lawrence-based Protection One Inc., a nationwide provider of monitored-security services, offers some landscaping and home-improvement tips for increasing curb appeal and security:
¢ Plant thorny bushes below first-floor windows and cut tree limbs away from second-story windows, to reduce opportunities for easy intrusion. Also, don't keep ladders or trash cans outside - they could be used to enter a window or scale a fence.
¢ Trim bushes to expose branch structure, therefore taking away hiding places for potential intruders.
¢ Install motion lights to illuminate vulnerable or isolated exterior entrances.
¢ Install easy-to-read or illuminated address numbers in a visible place on the front of your house, to make it easier for emergency personnel to locate your home.
Other tips from the company to boost year-round safety and security:
¢ Secure all windows and doors that are accessible from the outside, including those upstairs.
¢ Never leave a spare key hidden outside; burglars know all the best places.
¢ Install a peephole in the front door, allowing you to screen visitors.
¢ Ask to see identification from service and delivery people before letting them into your home.
¢ Install deadbolt locks on all exterior entrances.
¢ Make sure smoke detectors are working and up to code, or consider adding a monitored smoke or heat detector.
¢ Post emergency phone numbers by the telephone, including your cellular phone or pager numbers, for your children or baby sitter to use when you are not at home. Make sure visitors staying at your home also know your address and where emergency numbers can be found.