7 tips to increase window security

A contractor installs a tempered-glass window in a home. (Photo courtesy of Ian S. of Lakewood, California)

A contractor installs a tempered-glass window in a home. (Photo courtesy of Ian S. of Lakewood, California)

If you think your windows are secure, you might want to think again.

A home is burglarized nearly every 15 seconds, and 23 percent of burglars enter through a first-floor window, according to the FBI. So if you want to reduce your chances of a break-in, follow these tips to improve window security:

Inspect windows, inside and out

Walk around your home and really examine your windows. Make sure there are no cracks and that locks work correctly. Outside, check the surroundings. Burglars love trees and shrubs because foliage provides cover, so keep everything trimmed below window height.

Don't entice the burglar. Close curtains or blinds, especially at night or when you aren't at home.

Window locks

Burglars like to get in and out quickly. Make sure time is on your side, not theirs. There are several ways to slow them down. If you don't already have window locks, have them added and be sure to use them. You can buy add-on locks from your local hardware store or you can hire a locksmith, handyman or other professional to help you.

Add security pins

If you have older wood-framed, double-hung windows, install security pins on the window frame. They're available at hardware stores. Putting pins in the upper sash allows you to open a window about six inches, but keeps intruders out.

Security bars

Install bars or grills on your windows, especially in the basement. Make sure they're securely attached. Note of caution: If you're adding security bars or pins, make sure you can easily release them in case you need to make a quick escape due to fire or other emergency.

Protective covering

Security film acts as a burglar deterrent. If the thief does break the window, the film holds the shattered glass in place.

Upgrade windows

If your windows are old, consider replacing them. Choose tempered or security glass, which is harder to break than other glass types. Newer windows tend to be more energy-efficient and have newer-style locks. Keep in mind that, over time, window locks wear out, so the newer the better.

Hire a security specialist

Consider an expert in home security services. One can thoroughly assess your home and advise on how to best protect your home, windows and all.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story originally published on March 7, 2013.

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