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These articles contain important information and tips to keep your home save from break-ins and theft. For a list of all archived articles visit our Archived Articles List.


brown bulletpointKeep Your Home Safe




Burglars spot open garage doors and remove visible items in a matter of seconds. In many instances, the home owners are home and even outside when the burglary takes place.

Typical items taken are:

  • Tools
  • Lawn equipment
  • Sporting equipment
  • Or other valuables left inside vehicles parked in the garage.

If you notice your neighbors garage door open, please be a good neighbor and remind them of the importance of keeping their garage doors closed! Neighbors looking out for one another is the single most effective crime prevention tool.

When a Menomonee Falls police officer on patrol notices your garage door open and unattended, we may call your residence and ask for you to close it, for security reasons. Many of these requests are made during evening hours, when opportunistic criminal activity occurs most often.

If you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood call your local law enforcement agency or 9-1-1 immediately for crimes in progress.



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Every 15 minutes someone in Wisconsin is robbed. More than 30,000 home robberies occur every year.  With each break-in, valuables are lost and lives are disrupted.  Many victims will never feel safe in their homes again.  Serious break-ins may involve violence and even murder.  Most thieves are looking for an "easy mark."  You can discourage thieves with a few simple actions.

Tips on Home Security

  • Light the outside of your home to make it more visible to your neighbors. Outside motion detector lights can make it almost impossible for a burglar to enter without being seen.
  • Trim bushes near doors to reduce hiding places for burglars.
  • Install dead-bolt locks on all outside doors. Make sure you can unlock all doors from the inside without a key to allow a quick escape from a fire.
  • Install peepholes in all outside doors.
  • Use "Operation Identification". Contact your local police to borrow an engraver to mark stereos, computers, cameras, lawnmowers and tools. In Wisconsin you should write "WI" followed by your driver’s license number (if you have one). Put Operation I.D. stickers (from the police) on windows near your front and back doors. These stickers tell burglars that your things will be hard to sell.
  • Don’t keep expensive jewelry, collectibles, or large amounts of cash in your home.
  • Keep a list of your valuables and their serial numbers. A videotape, photograph, or sales receipts will help with insurance claims.
  • Install locks on windows. All sliding doors should have "ventilation locks". Screens and storms should be latched on the inside. Include locks on garage and basement windows.
  • Don’t advertise your absence. Never leave a message on your answering machine that says you are away for a few days or on vacation. Before you leave, set timers so that lights, TVs, and radios go on and off. Have someone pick up the mail, pick up newspapers, set out trash, mow the lawn or shovel snow.
  • Close your garage door. An empty garage says you’re not at home. Thieves can easily steal bikes, lawnmowers, snow blowers and other valuables. Burglars can close the garage door and take their time breaking into your home.  
  • Lock your car and keep valuables out of sight. Don’t store the title for your car in the glove compartment. You will need it to prove ownership if the car is stolen.
  • If possible, install a garage door opener with a light. A remote opener and a lighted garage will help you enter and leave your home safely. Test the door to make sure it reverses easily when it hits something.


Prepared by the
Wisconsin Dept of Health Services
Division of Public Health
Bureau of Environmental Health


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Taking a vacation takes planning. Don't forget to plan to keep your house safe and secure while you are away. Follow these tips and be careful, prepared and be aware.


GARAGES: Make it more difficult to remove expensive items. Thieves often window shop by driving down streets and alleys looking at the contents of garages when owners leave doors open. Overhead doors should never unnecessarily be left open. The service door should be of solid core construction and equipped with a good deadbolt lock with a reinforcement plate. The strike plate for the lock should be mounted with screws at least 3 inches long.

LIGHTS ON: Burglars don’t want to be seen. Mount a light near your service door. Lighting is the least expensive security and it is very effective. Valuable items such as snowblowers, lawnmowers and mountain bicycles should be secured in the garage by chaining them to the garage wall or floor. The chain should be heavy duty with a padlock of equal strength. Smaller motorized garden tools can be secured in a lockbox.

WINDOWS AND DOORS: Install, maintain and use proper locks on exterior doors. Deadbolt locks are most effective. Close and lock your doors and windows when you leave home. Secure a partially opened window with a pin that prevents it from being raised beyond a few inches. Do not leave valuables such as purses, televisions and money in front of an open window.

Engrave property kept in your home, as well as your outside property, including lawn and garden tools, with your Wisconsin Driver’s License or Wisconsin State I.D. number to aid in the return of your property if it is ever stolen. Make sure you record the serial number(s) and a description of the item(s).

Article taken in part from:


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Identify Entry Points

Before you make security improvements, identify those entry points most likely to be used by a burglar. You can do this by answering the following questions:

  • Which entrances are hidden/out of view from my neighbors?
  • If I am locked out of my house, where could I get in without too much difficulty? Every door/window you list in response to these questions should be a number one priority.

Basic Security Improvements

Other security improvements should follow, keeping in mind that your goal is to make it difficult for a burglar by forcing them to take more time and to make more noise!

  • Exterior doors should be strong enough to withstand excessive force.
  • All exterior doors should be secured with a deadbolt lock that has a minimum one-inch throw.
  • All strike plates and frames for exterior doors should be anchored to the home's main construction.
  • All exterior doors should fit snugly against the frame and all frames should be free of warping, cracks, and other signs of wear and tear.
  • Solid core wood, metal or other reinforced doors, Reinforced door jams or jam braces.
  • Three-inch screws, heavy-duty strike plates and tamper proof hinges.
  • The main entrance door should have a doorwide-angle (180 degree)viewer/peephole.
  • Sliding glass doors and windows should be secure against forcing the locks or from being lifted completely out of the frame.
  • High-risk windows (basement, garage, ground-level, partially or totally secluded, latched, etc.) should be secured sufficiently enough to discourage or impede possible intrusion.
  • Double-hung windows should be secured with pins or extra locks to discourage prying.
  • Trees and shrubs should be trimmed to allow visibility along the perimeter (particularly entries) of the house.
  • Timers (both interior and exterior) should be installed to activate lights in your absence
  • All entrances (doors and windows) to your home should be well lit at night.
  • Your address should be posted on your house and be clearly visible from the street both night and day.
  • Safety glass or security film on vulnerable windows.
  • Motion sensor lighting, specifically directed and focused on entry points and vulnerable areas, no flood lighting and beware of light trespass.

Security improvements should not be made at the expense of fire safety! Remember to allow at least one door or window per room as a fire escape - meaning that exit via the door window can be made quickly and easily. There should also be fire escape routes established for your household. Family members should know where these are and they should be practiced periodically, especially if there are young children at home.


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Use this as a guide as you check your home for safety measures. Boxes marked? No? Indicate areas where you could take action to improve your home’s security. These are just some steps that you can take to decrease the likelihood that you or your home is targeted for a crime.

Exterior Doors:



All doors are locked at night and every time we leave the house - even if it's just for a few minutes.    
Doors are solid hardwood or metal-clad.    
Doors feature wide-angle peepholes at heights everyone can use.    
If there are glass panels in or near our doors, they are reinforced in some way so that they cannot be shattered.    
All entryways have a working, keyed entry lock and sturdy deadbolt lock installed into the frame of the door.    
Spare keys are kept with a trusted neighbor, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox.    
Garage and Sliding Door:



The door leading into the home from the garage is solid wood or metal-clad and protected with a quality keyed door lock and deadbolt.    
The overhead garage door has a lock so that we do not rely solely on the automatic garage door opener to provide security.    
Garage doors are all locked when leaving the house.    
The sliding glass door has a strong, working key lock.    
A dowel or a pin to secure the sliding glass door has been installed to prevent the door from being shoved aside or lifted off the track.    
The sliding glass door is locked every night and each time we leave the house.    
Protecting Windows:



Every window in the home has a working key lock or is securely pinned.    
Windows are always locked, even when they are opened a few inches for ventilation.    
Outdoor Security:



Shrubs / bushes are trimmed to so there is no place for someone to hide.    
There are no dark areas around our house, garage, or yard at night that would hide prowlers.    
Every outside door has a bright, working light to illuminate visitors.    
Floodlights are used appropriately to ensure effective illumination.    
Outdoor lights are on in the evening? Whether someone is at home or not; or a photocell or motion-sensitive lighting system has been installed.    
Our house number is clearly displayed so police and other emergency vehicles can find the house quickly.    
Security When Away From Home:



At least two light timers have been set to turn the lights on and off in a logical sequence when we are away from home for an extended time period.    
The motion detector or other alarm system (if we have one) has been activated when we leave home.    
Mail and newspaper deliveries have been stopped or arrangements for a neighbor/friend to pick them up have been made when we go away from home for a period of time.    
A neighbor has been asked to tend the yard and watch our home when we are away.    
Outdoor Valuables and Personal Property:



Gate latches, garage doors, and shed doors are all locked with high-security, laminated padlocks.    
Gate latches, garage doors, and shed doors are locked after every use.    
Grills, lawn mowers, and other valuables are stored in a locked garage or shed, or if left out in the open, are hidden from view with a tarp and securely locked to a stationary point.    
Every bicycle is secured with a U-bar lock or quality padlock and chain.    
Bikes are always locked, even if we leave them for just a minute.    
Firearms are stored unloaded and locked in storage boxes and secured with trigger guard locks.    
Valuable items, such as television, stereos, and computers have been inscribed with identifying number approved by local police.    
Our home inventory is up-to-date and includes pictures. A complete copy is kept somewhere out of the house.

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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office  makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.

Last Revised: 1/14