If you live in what’s considered a “safe neighborhood”, it’s all too easy to be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Although the crime rate in your part of town may be low, the chances of living in an area that’s totally crime free are very small.
Burglars and other would-be criminals are often opportunistic, so it pays to take precautions and avoid being an “easy target.” Here are a few home security tips that can help protect your property, your family, and your valuables.
- Make it a habit to lock your doors at night and every time you leave the house for even a short period of time. If you’re behind schedule and in a rush, stop and take one more minute to do a quick security check and — while you’re at it — make sure hot appliances, such as stoves, ovens, and irons, are turned off.
- Even in the best of neighborhoods, bicycles that are left out in your driveway or front yard can and often do get stolen in seconds. When a bicycle gets stolen from your property, it can be a painful and expensive lesson. Fortunately, those types of losses can be avoided by having your family get in the habit of concealing bicycles in secure locations (like a garage or shed) or padlocking them to a stationary object, such as a tree or well-anchored fence post.
- Leaving a house key in your mailbox, under a welcome mat, or in a flower pot may seem like a good idea at the time, but those hiding places can easily be discovered by the wrong people.
- Allowing mail or newspapers to pile up while you’re away for the weekend or on vacation is a tip-off to burglars that no one is home. Having a checklist that reminds you to suspend mail and newspaper delivery while you’re away can help you avoid that risk. If you plan on being gone for the weekend, a trusted neighbor or friend can often be depended on to gather deliveries that might otherwise advertise your absence.
- Teaching your kids home safety and security measures at an early age is another vital component of crime prevention. They should be taught and reminded what to say and do if a stranger either asks for personal information over the phone or asks if they can come into the house. It’s important for kids to know that they can and should be assertive with adults when protecting themselves and their home.
When it comes to home security, your four most important strategies are awareness, taking preventative measures, educating yourself and your family, and being consistent. Sometimes the best approach to keep in mind and tell your children is to follow the anti-drug advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan: “Just say no!” There are plenty of instances when no further explanation is required.