How can I keep my home secure?


Don’t let a burglar or thief spoil your holiday happiness. Take some affordable security precautions involving locks:

Change to bump-resistant locks. What’s bumping? It’s when burglar inserts a special key into your lock, strikes it with a hammer, and suddenly pins in the lock move slightly so the door can be opened. If your locks are more than a few years old, you should replace them with newer technology to thwart bumping. You can take door locks to a locksmith who will install special pins to make it much, much harder to bump a lock; the cost is generally under $10 a lock. Or the locksmith can come to your house.

Rekey locks on exterior doors. Whether you’re moving to a new house or an old one, rekey the locks on exterior doors. Before you moved in, dozens of people may have had keys to your house. You don’t need to replace those locks -- just have them rekeyed. Even if you moved in years ago, you might rekey if you’ve never done it before. This can probably cost less than $150 in total on a house with two or three doors.

Protect your mail. When moving to an area with banks of mailboxes, change the lock on your individual box. Cost is about $40. “My opinion is that due to all the cases of identity theft and the impact it can have on your life, rekeying your mailbox is just as important if not more so than rekeying your home,” says Robert Vallelunga of Acme Locksmith in the Phoenix area. The lock is usually the homeowner’s responsibility; sometimes the U.S. Post Office owns boxes. If you’re changing your lock, check with your HOA, too.