The first thing to consider is: Do you know where all of the keys to your home are located? That includes your primary keys that you and your family use; secondary keys that you may have given to friends, neighbors, relatives, housekeepers, pet sitters and/or utility personnel.
You should know where all of the keys to your home are, but never mark them with your name or address. Keep in mind that when you share a spare set of keys with anyone, they have unrestricted access to your home. If they lose the keys, and they are marked with your name and address, whoever finds them has access to your home as well.
If you move into a new home – or if you, or someone with a key to your home loses it – it’s wise to have all the locks in your home re-keyed. Also, it’s a very good idea to change the code in the garage-door opener when you move into a new home that is equipped with one.
Do not hide an extra key outside your home. Criminals are aware of all of the customary hiding places. If you are prone to locking yourself out of your house, entrust a neighbor or nearby relative with an extra set for such emergencies.
Make sure you do not give your house keys to a parking lot attendant, and don’t leave them with your vehicle when it goes to an auto dealership or garage for service. Criminals frequently work with unscrupulous individuals in these positions who can make unauthorized duplicates and get your name and address from your vehicle’s registration and/or insurance documents.
If you or your family members are prone to losing keys, you might want to consider having a numeric keypad entry system installed on one of your home’s entrances. That way, no key is required – you simply enter the code sequence and the door unlocks itself.