Now that the kids are back in school and the house is quiet for the first time since December, you can finally catch up on the newest Project Runway. But now is the perfect time for a break-in; you’re all alone in the middle of the day, you’re not expecting it. Is there anything you can do to help protect yourself from becoming a victim of a burglary?
Here are some helpful tips for staying safe while home alone:
• Get a dog or cat, if possible. Having an animal close by will not only be great company, but they are also the earliest warning security system you can have due to their acute senses and natural instincts; your pet’s reaction is sometimes the first sign of danger.
• Get to know your neighbors and know the everyday habits of your neighborhood. Who power-walks past your house everyday at 7 o’clock in the morning? Do the neighbors across the street have a bunch of obnoxious teenagers at their house at all hours of the night? Does the neighborhood attract a lot of outside traffic or is it mainly residential? Knowing what goes on around your neighborhood will help you spot when something unusual is happening.
• Get into a habit of keeping your doors and windows locked when you are not in the process of using them. Most reported break-ins are actually walk-ins due to the relaxed attitude of the resident.
• Do not leave expensive and valuable items in plain sight on the lawn or in view of windows. Leaving them out is essentially a neon sign advertising your home to criminals.
• Light is a great crime deterrent if you’re home by yourself at night. Install lights over all entrances, walkways, and patios. If you want to cut down on your energy bill, try motion detector lights, not only will they cut your electricity costs, but they’ll also scare the pants off of lurkers.
• Be mindful of blind spots and hiding places produced by your landscaping, such as overgrown shrubs and hedges.
• Your house number should be easily visible from the street (it’s recommended that the lettering be 6-inches tall) and illuminated at night so that emergency services can quickly respond to the right location.
• Your privacy is important; however to some extent you should allow your home to be visible to neighbors and patrol cars, so that people can spot suspicious activity.
Being by yourself doesn’t mean having to be constantly on the look out, baseball bat in one hand and mace in the other, but being aware of your general surroundings will go a long way towards providing you peace of mind.