Now that you’re on your own â€” whether you’re a single parent, recent college grad or widow â€” you might notice some changes. You can clean, and it will stay that way for days. You can wear what you want and watch what you want without a care in the world. But you might also notice you’re more aware of nightfall â€” you may start jumping at the smallest noises and find your imagination running wild. To protect you and your belongings and feel safe and secure at home, start making changes:
Protect Your Home!
- Install motion-activated lights. Just the simple flickering of a light can alert you of activity, draw attention from neighbors and ultimately send a potential burglar on his or her way.
- Maintain the landscaping. Not just for the sake of beauty, landscaping can play a crucial part in your home’s security. These days, the peeping Toms and other 21th-century oddballs are lurking everywhere. A good way to get freakazoids to stop stalking is to plant a privacy hedge. A thick, growing wall is the perfect deterrent to any intruders or snoopers.
- Lock every door & window. Even if, you live on second or third story floors â€” even if you shut the garage door â€” even if the window seems too high â€” lock every door and window.
- Place a pole inside the window & sliding door tracks. It will make it harder for thieves to gain access even if they do break the lock. Poles could be as simple as a wooden dowel or broken broom stick.
- Keep landscaping tools out of sight. You don’t want to supply burglars with anything they potentially could use to crack a window or pry a lock.
Secure While You’re Away
- Enlist a friend to check on your house. Have them gather your mail and remove any fliers stuck to your door, as these are signs to an intruder that the home is vacant. Some police departments will do drive-by checks at your request.
- Create the illusion that you’re home. Have a neighbor park in your driveway. Leave a radio on or use clock timers to turn on lights and TVs.
- Monitor your home through mobile access. Some security companies, such as LifeShield, offer wireless systems you can manage anytime, anywhere. Make sure your system is armed and periodically view video and snapshots from your security cameras.
- Leave a $20 bill in plain sight of the front door. This way, the second you open the door you’ll have an idea if someone has been inside while you were gone.
- Call 911 & don’t go inside if something is amiss. Cracked doors, a slit in a screen or just an eerie feeling â€” these are all signs that something isn’t right. If you feel unsettled, leave and call the police.
Stay Safe Inside
- Use the peephole every single time. Even if you’re expecting company, even if it’s the middle of the day â€” get in the habit of using the peephole. If you don’t recognize the person knocking, loudly ask, “who is it?”
- Always ask for ID. If strangers knock on your front door soliciting a survey, ask for proof that they’re whom they say they are. If maintenance workers arrive (even if you hired them) ask for ID.
- Don’t advertise you live alone. Put your last name on apartment directories or mailboxes. Record an answering machine greeting that says, “we aren’t here right now.”
- Get a pet. House animals not only provide companionship, but often can protect you from danger. Even if, they aren’t guard dogs, a small dog barking can cause enough noise to frighten a stranger away.
- Make it look like you have a pet. If you can’t get a dog because of allergies or landlord issues, still use the concept to keep burglars out. Post a “Beware of Dog” sign on your fence and place a dog dish and water bowl on your patio.