While you are at home:
All entrances, including service doors and gates, should have quality locks— preferably deadbolt.
Don’t leave keys “hidden” outside the home. Leave an extra key with a trusted neighbor or colleague.
Keep doors locked even when you or family members are at home.
Have window locks installed on all windows. Use them.
Have locks installed on your fuse boxes and external power sources.
If you have window grilles and bars, review fire safety. Don’t block bedroom windows with permanent grilles if the windows may be used for emergency egress.
If you have burglar or intrusion alarms, check and use them.
Keep at least one fire extinguisher on each floor, and be sure to keep one in the kitchen. Show family members and household help how to use them.
Periodically check smoke detectors and replace batteries when necessary.
Keep flashlights in several areas in the house. Check the batteries often, especially if you have children in your home. (They love to play with flashlights!)
A family dog can be a deterrent to criminals. But remember, even the best watchdog can be controlled by food or poison. Do not install separate “doggy doors” or entrances. They also can admit small intruders.
Know your neighbors. Develop a rapport with them and offer to keep an eye on each others homes, especially during trips.
If you observe any unusual activity, report it immediately.
While at home, you and your family should rehearse safety drills and be aware of procedures to escape danger and get help.
Educate family members and domestic help in the proper way to answer the telephone at home.
Know where all family members are at all times.
While You Are Away :
Notify certain friends and neighbors of your departure and return dates but don’t otherwise publicize your travel or vacation plans. Leave contact numbers with appropriate people.
Arrange to have a friend or colleague pick up your newspapers, mail, or other deliveries daily.
Secure your home. Close and lock all windows and doors. Don’t forget to lock garage or gate doors.
Consider purchasing timers to turn on outside and inside lights automatically at various times throughout the night.
Check outside lighting and replace older light bulbs. You don’t want a light burning out while you are away.
Ask a friend or colleague to check your residence periodically, ensuring your furnace or air conditioning is functioning and that timers and lights are working.
Unplug all unnecessary appliances such as televisions, stereos, and personal computers.
Mow your lawn just before leaving; make arrangements to have someone mow it again if you will be gone for an extended period of time. Also arrange for watering, if that is likely to be needed.
In the winter, make arrangements to have someone shovel walkways if it snows.
If possible, ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway (if you are taking yours).
Lock all jewelry, important papers, currency, and other valuable portables in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or home safe.
Ensure all personal and home insurance policies are up-to-date and that your coverage is adequate.
If you are traveling alone and a car “bumps” into you, don’t stop to exchange accident information. Go to the nearest service station or other public place to call the police.
Basics for kids: (Adults too!)
Teach children never to admit strangers into the home.
Teach children local emergency phone numbers. Make sure younger children know their name, address, and phone number.
Caution teenagers about “blind dates” or meeting anyone they do not know.
Teach younger members of your family not to open mail or packages.
Teach young children how to answer the telephone so that they do not give out personal information, such as home address, absence of adults, etc.
Teach children how to say no to strangers.
Teach children how to exit the house in case of emergency.
Never get in a vehicle with someone you do not know. Even under threat of violence, never get in the car. Have your fight right there, run, yell, scream, kick, claw. Statistically you stand a better chance of surviving.
Information sourced from the US State Dept.