Tips to Keep Your Home and Family SafePosted: April 30, 2012
A couple of years ago, our safe and happy home was disrupted early one morning by a break-in. It was about 4 am, when we were startled awake by our 2 little terriers barking like mad dogs! I have never heard them be that fierce, so I knew something was not right.
I walked down the hallway to the kitchen and saw that the door to the garage was wide open. I asked my groggy husband (who sleeps like the dead), if he might have left it open. He said it was possible. Then I walked into the living room to find the TV was askew in the entertainment center and the back patio door was open. It hit me then…someone had been in our house! That is the scariest feeling, not knowing if they are still in the house or waiting just outside. Fortunately, they had fled quickly.
At first glance, it seemed that the dogs had run them off before anything was taken. But upon closer inspection, some items were gone. My purse and keys, which were always on the kitchen counter, were taken, along with my husband’s keys.
Long story short, we spent that entire day on the phone with banks, credit card companies, towing services and dealerships. To get new electronic keys cut without a spare key is very expensive and time-consuming! Plus, you have the fear of the burglar returning to grab your car!!
Our comfortable life was knocked sideways that day, but luckily we were safe and no major damage was done.
Here are a few things that we have learned from that experience.
1. Keep your purse, keys, and wallet in a drawer and out of sight.
My purse and keys were an easy grab, sitting right on the kitchen counter. A lot of my friends hang their purse by the front door and their keys hanging on a hook by the garage. Big no-no, in my opinion. I now keep my purse in our bedroom at night, right next to my hand gun.
2. Invest in motion-sensor outdoor lights at all points of entry.
The intruder entered in through a door on the side of our house that comes into the garage. That door is now lit-up like daylight even when a bug flies by the motion detectors. We also installed some on the back of the house, and brighter ones on the front.
3. Buy patio door security bars.
We now have a safety bar, plus a piece of 2×4 cut to size that we wedge at the bottom of the door.
4. Keep blinds and curtains closed when not at home.
Not only does this save on energy costs, but it keeps curious eyes from knowing what kind of goodies you have.
5. Take photos of the contents of your wallet or purse.
Weeks after the break-in, items that were in my purse kept coming to mind that I had forgotten to include in the police report. Like a pair of diamond earrings I put in the side pocket one day, after the back fell off.
6. After purchasing a big-ticket item, cut down the box for trash pick-up.
I always see big TV boxes or new computer boxes out by the curb, and I think “Someone got a new toy!” If it catches my attention, you better believe you’ve caught the attention of a thief. We usually cut the big box down with a box knife into smaller pieces that will fit in a regular trash bag.
7. Keep windows and doors locked at all times, even when you are home.
This one is for all my SAHM friends! I have a bad habit of leaving the back door unlocked when I am home. Last summer, my son and I were at my parent’s house enjoying the pool in their back yard. All of a sudden, a man jumped their fence, ran half way through the yard, and then jumped back across the fence. We found out later that he had stolen a car, and was running from police. It was a little scary, but over in less than 20 seconds. I realize now that if he had seen us, it would have taken him no time to hurt us or get inside the house. So, when you are at home and not outside, keep those doors locked!
8. Signs say so much.
Whether it’s “Beware of Dog”, “Beware of Owner”, or a simple sign from an alarm company…you may not own a dog, gun or an alarm, but a sign in your front yard deters thieves anyway.
9. Opt for some form of self-defense, and know how to use it.
We chose guns. I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, but once I learned how to use them I became more comfortable with them. Whatever your choice, be it guns, a taser or pepper spray, make sure you know how to properly use it.
10. Get to know your neighbors.
After hearing my stories, you probably think I live in a terrible part of town. Just the opposite actually…our neighborhood is mostly retirees and is very quiet. Typical suburbs. Crime knows no boundaries, and if you have nice things, other people want them. So get to know that nosy neighbor, she just might save your life!
We still have no idea who they were or why they chose our house that night, but it has taught us some valuable life lessons. Do you have any tips for keeping your family safe? I would love to hear from you!