Street Smart Guide to Staying Safe
Have you ever wondered about your safety in your own home? You may have a home security system, or some type of home alarm system. But there are still doubts in your mind? Detective JJ Bittenbinder has provided some extra tips on home security that you should always follow.

You do the obvious things, of course. Keep points of entry locked, with dead-bolt locks on front and back doors; a 'charlie bar' or better a Defendoor bar for pane-glass patio doors; change locks if keys are lost or stolen. Post emergency numbers on the refrigerator or by the phone.

Draw shades and leave lights on when no one is home. Leave the radio on. Install good exterior lighting with timers and, ideally, with motion-activated flood lights.

Never open the door to a stranger. Use the peep hole in your door unless you have a Defendoor Security Bar. Request ID from service or utility workers. Be aware of criminal ploys such as the disabled automobile' or 'senous illness.' Offer to call 911, but do not let the person into your home.

There are quality, affordable home security systems available. I suggest you make this investment, preferably a hardwired, perimeter alarm with a monitoring system. This is the best thing for your home when you're there and when you're not.

A dog is an excellent deterrent to the bad guy. Regardless of the size of the dog, I recommend you buy a BIG dog bowl, write the word Killer' on it, and put it outside your back door.

Create a safe room for your house. This could be your bedroom. Ideally, it should have a solid door with a dead-bolt lock and a cellular phone inside to call for help. This is where you and your family go if there is an intruder. The Defendoor security bar can be used on the door, it works well.

Women who live alone can ask a male friend to do the voice on the answering machine but do not give your name. And put your first initial only on the mailbox and in the phone book.

You're alone. At night. And you hear someone coming up the stairs. Lock your bedroom door. Yell something that might scare him off like, "Bobby, get the shotgun!" If the goof still comes after you, spray him with your pepper gas. I suggest you keep a large size canister by your bed.

Neighborhood Watch programs work. Get to know your neighbors and get involved. Report suspicious people to the police before a crime occurs.

Patio door locks are not very strong and the sliding door can also be lifted out. At the very minimum you should have a sturdy wooden stick or steel bar in the track that prevents the sliding door from opening. An even better solution is the "Defendoor" security bar that prevents both opening and lifting of the door.

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