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'Night to Unite' Presents Opportunity For Home Safety Reminders

The statewide event is Tuesday, Aug. 7.

Night to Unite, which is the state-wide effort of National Night Out, serves as a way for neighbors to come together for some outdoor activity, food and fun.

It also serves as an opportunity for local law enforcement to remind residents of ways to protect themselves and their homes.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and his deptuties will be visiting block parties around the metro area Tuesday night. With them they will have home security checklists for residents, including the following safety tips:

Exterior

Incorporate simple, inexpensive landscaping and safety measures to improve security to your home. 

  • Don’t allow bushes, shrubs and trees to create blind spots or hiding places. Trimming or removal of shrubs is needed -- especially near doors and windows.
  • Cut back tree limbs that could help thieves climb into upstairs windows.
  • Install exterior lighting for walkways and all doorway entrances. Lights are needed near porches, rear and side doorways, and garage doors.  Install motion-sensing lights.  

Doors

  • Be sure to lock your doors when you are away from home – even while working in the yard.
  • Install high-quality locks. Consult a locksmith about recommendations for a new locking system.
  • All exterior doors should be solid core.
  • Ensure all exterior door hinges are security hinges, which cannot be disassembled from outside.
  • Install a secondary deadbolt locking system on all doors leading to the exterior of your home.
  • Install auxiliary locks and pinning devices to sliding glass doors.
  • Install peepholes on all exterior doors.

Windows

Windows make up a large portion of your home and may provide an easy point of entry if they aren’t secured properly.

  • Always close and lock windows at night or when you leave. Pay special attention to windows easily accessible such as the first floor, basement, or those near a roof platform.
  • Prevent windows from being pried open. Consider installing key locks or pins for windows. Check your city codes first. Be sure everyone knows how to operate the locks or pins in case of emergency.
  • Have high impact glass or a protective covering installed to prevent window smashing for windows adjacent to doors or window panes in doors.
  • Lock windows even when opened a few inches for ventilation.

Garage

The which thieves find to be an easy target.

  • Close overhead garage doors when you are not within visible sight of the garage – even when you are doing yard work.  **Make this part of your daily & nightly routine.
  • Install a deadbolt to the interior door leading from the garage to the inside of your home.
  • Inside the garage, pay attention to the interior door that leads to the outside. Improve the locks on this door and install a deadbolt.
  • Secure bicycles, lawn mowers, ladders and other personal items inside.

Other helpful tips

  • Sign up to receive Sheriff’s Office crime alerts & safety messages via email or text messages at hennepinsheriff.org.
  • Never open your door unless you know who is on the other side.
  • If you think your home has been broken into, don’t go inside.  Go someplace else and dial 911.
  • Do you have prescription medications? Prevent abuse or theft. Secure medicine in a safe place and monitor supplies. Properly dispose of unwanted & expired medicine. For disposal locations, visit hennepin.us/medicine
  • Create a home inventory, with photos and serial numbers, of valuable items.  A copy is kept outside of the house.
  • Install timers to turn on lights, radios and televisions, making your house look as if someone is home.
  • Remove all items (laptops, GPS, guns, garage door openers and keys) from your vehicle, roll up all windows and lock all doors, while parked in your driveway.
  • Don’t leave the overhead garage door opener in your vehicle on the driveway or street – especially in the overnight hours.  Also, the opener may be stolen from your vehicle while you are at work and used to enter your home.
  • Place valuable property in a secured safe.
  • Create a Neighborhood Watch on your street. Alert a neighbor to concerns -- such an overhead garage door that was left open at night.

Don’t hesitate!  We encourage you to report all suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Office or local police by dialing 911.

Security away from home

  • Don’t announce your vacation on social media or post photos during your trip on Facebook.
  • Ask a neighbor to move garbage cans, packages left on the porch, mow the lawn or shovel snow.  A neighbor could park a car on your driveway for that “lived-in” look.
  • Stop mail and newspaper deliveries or a neighbor picks them up.
  • Set at least two light timers to turn lights off/on in a logical sequence.  
  • Consider disabling the overhead garage door while you are away.
  • Activate motion detectors or alarm systems.
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