Don’t leave a key outside your home even if you think it’s well hidden. Instead, leave one with a trusted neighbor or friend. Most places you might hide a key can be uncovered by an experienced intruder. Make sure you close and lock all doors and windows that are accessible from outside your home.

Leave a light on in your home at night after you retire. Lighting is a deterrent to intruders and should be used when you’re away from your home. Timers are inexpensive and can make potential intruders believe the home is occupied. A radio or television should be controlled by a timer when you’re away as well.

Deadbolt locks should be used on all doors. Windows should be well secured with latches available from your local hardware store. You might also consider shatterproof glass. You should periodically check your locks to see if they’ve been tampered with.

Make sure you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors on a regular basis. A good time to do this is when you set your clocks forward in the spring.

Don’t admit anyone to your home that you’re not expecting. In the event that a person represents themselves as an official employee of a utility or public agency, ask for identification and don’t be reluctant to refuse entry if you can’t verify by telephone that they are who they say. Use a chain and peephole whenever answering your door.

Test your alarm system at least monthly, NextAlarm.com recommends weekly.

Make sure to have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail and any newspapers or packages when you leave your home unattended.

Arm your alarm system, whenever you leave the home and when you retire for the night.