Protect your home from break-ins

LOS ANGELES Eyewitness News teamed up with /*Consumer Reports*/ to show you some of the easiest ways for thieves to break into your home. But we also show you some of the easy ways to stop them.

When Marti Schoenberg was away on vacation last summer, a brazen thief broke into her house and used her own keys to steal her car.

"Most people walk into their home, they throw their keys on some surface inside their home, right?" said Schoenberg. "Frequently, I also didn't lock my inside garage door."

Consumer Reports says forgetting to lock that inside door and leaving valuables in plain sight, make your home more of a target. And there's more to guard against.

Many burglars kick a door in to break in. But Consumer Reports says the door itself isn't usually the weak spot.

"The problem is that the strikes are held by three-quarter-inch screws," said John Galeotafiore, Consumer Reports. "It doesn't go into the main beam of the building. So when you kick in the door, it just breaks away this small piece of wood."

Consumer Reports tested solid wood doors and solid steel doors. Both didn't hold. But again, not because the doors gave way. It was the doorjamb that split near the lock's strike plate. Galeotafiore says there's an easy, inexpensive fix.

"You can strengthen any exterior door using a metal, reinforced box strike," said Galeotafiore. "They're about 10 dollars at most hardware stores. And if you install them using three-inch screws, they'll go into the framing beyond the doorjamb."

You can also make your home more secure by lodging a pole against your sliding glass doors, and by having good outdoor lighting installed high up so it can't easily be disabled.

If you have the money to install an alarm, Consumer Reports suggests a system that includes motion sensors throughout your home, not just on doors and windows.

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