Do you ever wonder how safe you really are at home?
Maybe you hope the blanket on your bed will keep you safe at night, or perhaps you double – or even triple – check that your doors are locked, or maybe you simply say a prayer at night. Whatever your ritual to keep yourself safe at home, you can’t honestly believe that any of that really works, right? Of course not. Still, what have you done to make sure you’re not vulnerable if – or when – a burglar breaks in? How safe are you really when you’re at home?
Surprisingly, it’s fairly fast and easy to make yourself feel almost entirely bulletproof at home.
A few small acts will make you feel like Superman in the kitchen and help turn your bedroom into Fort Knox. Of course you can always fall back on that blanket to protect you from the baddies, but the real act of being safe at home starts with these seven undeniable ways to feel almost bulletproof at home.
Keep valuables out of sight.
By ensuring that valuables – jewelry, TV, purses, important documents, art work – are not visible outside your home, you make it much harder for would-be burglars to determine whether there’s anything of value inside. You don’t have to play hide‒and‒seek with your favorite watch or new computer, just make it difficult for anyone outside of the house to see them and you’ll be better off.
Regularly lock doors and windows.
It’s incredible to think that so many burglaries, home invasions, and violent attacks happen just because somebody thought it would be okay to leave their door or window unlocked, even for a moment. An open or unlocked door is an invitation for trouble; even you are inside your home, it doesn’t necessarily deter would-be-bad guys if your door is wide open. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 33% of all burglaries in 2009 occurred without force, most likely because a window or door was left unlocked. Be sure to securely lock all of your doors with deadbolts, even when you’re at home or when you’re just running out for a few minutes. Along with locks, consider placing a pole or length of wood in the tracks of sliding doors and windows to prevent them from being forced open. Locks don’t prevent all home invasions, but they definitely make it more difficult for the baddies to break‒in. It seems like common sense, yet many people don’t use their locks. Play it safe and secure your doors and windows regularly.
Intelligent, Unpredictable Lighting.
Keeping your lights on 24/7 is a beacon to would-be home invaders. Burglars who see lights on all the time, with no change in their on or off status, realize that, in fact, no one is home, and the house can be robbed (this puts you in danger if you are actually home). Instead of leaving lights on all the time, actively flip switches as you need them. Burglars look for homes that are unoccupied to avoid confrontation, so using lights actively and unpredictably makes burglars unsure of your presence, and improves your safety. If you won’t be home for more than day, consider investing in timers that can turn lights on and off automatically. Remember, when it comes to lighting, use your head!
Get to Know Your Neighbors.
Most thwarted home break-ins or attacks are stopped by a good neighbor. Get to know your neighbors; watch out for them and their home, and they will do the same for you. Consider setting up a neighborhood watch program, where everyone takes turns checking in on one-another. Additionally, good neighbors can help when you go on vacation: regularly picking up mail and newspapers is a great way to make it seem like someone is home. One of the best ways to be protected in your home is to know that somebody else is watching out for you. Getting to know your neighbors is a great way to make sure that happens.
Avoid broadcasting your location to the world.
Websites like Twitter and Facebook make it painlessly easy to broadcast your location to the entire world. Unfortunately, every time you tweet or “Check in” at a location on social websites, you put yourself – and your property – at risk for attack or burglary. Instead of telling everyone about your location (and that you’re away from home), create specific, private “groups” to whom you can safely broadcast your whereabouts. Nothing says “rob my home” like a public message about taking a one week vacation to Spain. Try to not broadcast your location to the entire world; it does you good if burglars think you never go out.
So, you could keep using your blanket as your security system, or you could follow‒through with the quick, easy steps outlined above to feel almost entirely bulletproof in your house.
It’s a simple fact: being safe at home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive/ It just has to work to make you safe. Simple things like being a good neighbor and using lights intelligently in your home can be the difference between feeling bulletproof and feeling frightened. What are some simple ways you stay safe at home?
Photo by Anna Gutermuth.