Home Security

All exterior doors, including the door to the garage, should be solid wood construction and equipped with dead-bolt locks with a minimum throw of one inch, a hardened steel insert in the bolt and a tapered or free turning cylinder guard. Outside or exposed hinges should have security pins. Double or French doors: the inactive leaf secured with flush bolts at the top and bottom, the active leaf should have a dead-bolt lock. Sliding glass doors should have an auxiliary lock, slide bolt, or dowel. Prevent a "lift" from the track by inserting screws or anti-lift plates.

When you move into a new house or apartment, replace the lock with a new lock and key. Avoid hiding keys around the outside of your home. Burglars know all the common places to check for hidden keys. Instead, leave an extra key with a neighbor you trust.

Secure all widows with an auxiliary locking device. Sliding widows need anti-lift protection (so they can not be lifted out of the track). Window covers, such as blinds, curtains, or shades help conceal your valuables when you are not at home or at night. Thieves are not able to peer in to see what you own. Be sure you place your wallet or purse out of view.

In good repair, hardened steel padlock and hasp properly mounted and used. This is the most common way a burglar gains entry. A burglar can more easily gain entry to you home without being seen.

All entry ways should be well illuminated by a minimum 60 watt bulb in the fixture. Yard and entry lights can be equipped with motion sensors or photoelectric devices that turn lights on when it gets dark. Lighting does not provide a safe place for a criminal to hide. A timer device should be utilized for interior lights and/or a radio. A dark and quiet house in the early evening is one indication to burglars that no one is home. Back yards should be equipped with the same types of lighting as the front.

Should be plainly visible, mounted on a high contrast background, 6" high and all numbers illuminated at night. Can your address be seen in case of an emergency?

Keep doorways, windows, and porches clear when planting bushes and flowers. Utilize "security" shrubs for vulnerable areas (example: plant a rose bush under windows and pyradcantha along the fence). Keep shrubs trimmed approximately 10 inches off the ground to reduce the area of concealment.

Engrave valuable property with your California Driver's License number (example: CAJ0297900 - CA for state designation). Photograph jewelry, paintings, antiques, or collectibles. Engrave your bicycles too. Decals are available from PAPD.

Lock up your tools and put away your gardening tools and barbecue utensils -- they can be used to gain entry into your home. Don't forget to secure your ladder.

When someone knocks at your door, acknowledge you're home by talking through the door without opening it. You are not obligated to open your door to anyone. Identification should always be required before opening the door. A 190 degree wide angle door viewer is an absolute must if visibility of callers is not possible. A door chain will not secure the door. Door-to-door solicitors are required to have a permit issued by the Palo Alto Police Department. A NO SOLICITOR sign may reduce your contacts


  • All residents should be reminded of proper procedures for home security when going on vacation or business trips;
  • Secure home and leave lights on timers;
  • Notify the neighbors and leave them a key;
  • Make arrangements to have lawn mowed, a neighbor pick up newspapers and other delivered materials;
  • Have a neighbor park their vehicle in your driveway;
  • Do not keep expensive jewelry or other valuables at home. Put them in a safe deposit box;
  • Never leave a message on your telephone answering machine telling people that you are away.

Lockable, does not allow entrance of a small juvenile.

For optimum protection, an alarm system should be installed by a reputable company. It should provide perimeter protection and a minimum amount of interior protection. You need to provide the PAPD with up-to-date emergency contact information relating to your alarm system so they can respond accurately to any emergencies at your home; Call 650-329-2130