How to protect your home and family

How to protect your home and family

As a parent, it’s understandable not to want to think about the possibility of a home invasion. You don’t want to scare your children and the thought of what could happen is absolutely unbearable.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where such things occur and while the FBI has recently reported a marked decline in property crimes, that doesn’t mean you don’t prepare.Ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away and the last thing you want to do is find yourself ill-prepared in the event of a home invasion – especially when there were things you could have done to prevent it.

What things am I referring to? Well, I’ve come up with a list of things homeowners can try to help protect their home. And while no homeowner can know what’s in the heart of a potential intruder, at least by preparing you are taking the steps necessary to make your home just a little safer.

1. Find a safe place in the house

Make sure this area is located somewhere central in the home so that everyone has a fair shot of reaching it. You don’t need some kind of reinforced, concrete “panic room” (although one would certainly help), you just need a room big enough for everyone to fit in with no other access except through a locked door. A downstairs bathroom or the like will do nicely for this – just make sure everyone in your family knows where the safe place is located.

2. Establish a safe house

This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. If you have good neighbors,then the job is already half done. The next step is consulting with your neighbors – let them know your concern for yourself and your family, and make sure you have permission to evacuate to your neighbor’s home in the event of an emergency. At least that way you will have a safe place to escape to where you can call the police and report the crime.

3. Speak with your local police

If anyone is going to know what to look out for when it comes to the latest crime trends and tactics it’s your local police. Get the inside scoop from them and learn ways you can bolster your defenses and areas yous hould focus on. Also, be sure and bring the family – speaking with the police isa fantastic way to broach the potentially terrifying topic of home invasion with the little ones in a safe and professional environment.

4. Get yourself a dog

While most dogs aren’t born as rough, tough guard dogs, many can certainly be trained to handle the task. Most potential intruders will think twice about a home when encountering the presence of a dog and, depending on the breed, your dog could make both a welcome addition to the family and as a guardian to the home. Just be sure to consult with a professional before doing any guard dog training of your own. The last thing you want is your guard dog getting overprotective and attacking a guest.

5. Take a trip to the hardware store

There are plenty of tools and implements out there you can purchase to further bolster your defenses. Most hardware stores sell tools you can use to secure your windows and doors, but one of the best items you can find cheap are motion-detecting exterior lights.

Set up a few of these outside your home and shine a light on anyone who decides to take a closer look at your home. Just make sure and do your research, especially regarding anything you install to secure your doors and windows. Get some user insight and make sure what you’re installing doesn’t do more harm than good.

6. Try not to show off your opulence

If you have any windows looking into rooms where you keep your fancy computer, huge flat screen television, high-end speaker system or gaming console, then be sure to draw the curtains whenever you leave the home or go to bed. Don’t give potential intruders any extra incentive to let them selves into your home. The less you show off, the less temptation for any outsiders.

7. Take the time to replace your locks

Make it a point to replace your locks every two or three years. As with most things, locks lose their strength over time and the tumblers can become faulty. By keeping a healthy rotation of sturdy and strong locks on your home, you will be taking the necessary steps to fortify your home from intrusion.

And while this goes without saying, I cannot stress the importance of immediately changing the locks whenever you move into a new home.Sounds like common sense but sometimes people forget and you would be surprised how many break-ins are facilitated when people don’t take the time to do this.

8. Creative yard work

One way you can add to your lawns visual appeal and protect your home at the same time is to include some gravel paths. Gravel paths tastefully section off the lawn and really contribute to the appeal, drawing your eyes and bringing out all the green.

They also can serve as early warning signs because,let’s face it; there is no careful and quiet way to walk on gravel. No matter how careful a person is, if someone is walking on your gravel path, you should hear them coming.

9. Going on a trip?

Make sure someone takes care of the mail. Burglars should never be underestimated. They look for the telltale signs of a vacant home and nothing makes it more obvious to them than a home where the mailbox is overflowing.

Have the neighbors get the mail for you or contact the post office to let them know not to deliver to your home until you return. Don’t give the criminals a chance to declare open season on your home while you and the family are away and don’t get caught off your guard.

10. Leave the television on

The television, unless you have some kind of gigantic screen, typically doesn’t use a lot of energy. If you are really insecure or unsure about your home security then consider leaving the television or radio on while you go to sleep or go about your day away from home. Anyone interested in dropping in will hear the television or the radio and suspect that someone is home. Believe it or not, most burglars aren’t looking for trouble – at least in the form of a physical confrontation. If they think someone is home, they are less likely to force an entry.

11. Get A home security system

There are many different security systems on the market and many of them offer some great features at costs you can afford. Systems monitored by ADT, for example, offer constant surveillance so, no matter what, you know you are being watched. Some security systems even come with yard signs and window decals that proudly display the system’s brand. Superficial, I know, but these signs have been known to make potential intruders think twice before letting themselves in, and that’s nothing to sneer at.

12. Get to know your circle of friends

Be careful with this one. While it’s true that many robberies occur between people who know each other, that doesn’t mean you get all paranoid or go on your own personal inquisition. Just get to know your friends a little better and try to determine who you might need to be a little more mindful of.

A great way to do this would be a block party or a cookout.Honestly, you’re all part of the same community and it’s important you know,for certain, that you can trust your neighbors.

13. Organize a town watch or become a part of one

We aren’t talking about vigilante justice,just an organized and efficient communication network of like minded community members all dedicated to observing and reporting any suspicious behavior. If you aren’t sure how to get one started then consult with the local law enforcement for some ideas on the matter.

And remember that no matter how much you plan, you will not be able to account for every eventuality and there is no accounting for how desperate a person might be. All you can really do when it comes to protecting your home and your family is to prepare and engage in preventative measures.

And, please, don’t try to shoulder the burden on your own or hide the danger from your family. Everyone needs to be prepared and that means everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to the threat of intrusion.