How Safe Are You At Home? Part 1
November 2, 2012
A re-run for Some
For those of you who haven’t followed me for a very long time, I am going to re-run some of my blog posting from the other site. The other site was hard to get to and not easy to follow once you got there, so I will re-print some of the more interesting postings from there here on WordPress. So without further ado, from May 14th;
How Safe Are You At Home? Part 1
Home is where the heart is, right? Home is wherever you feel comfortable. And you can feel at home even in someone else’s home because of their graciousness and hospitality or because you love them like you do. But the question remains, how safe are you when there?
We all like to think that at home we’re safe from the outside world. We feel insolated and safe. For lack of a better phrase, ‘all warm and fuzzy – okay in Phoenix cool and fuzzy. Unfortunately it only takes a minor event to shake the screen of invincibility we have imagined around us.
It is so unfortunate, but there are so many things that are so simple to protect ourselves, loved ones, property, and even our pets from harm. Yet, we ignore these things because we feel that nothing will ever happen to us at home. But that isn’t true. We can’t stick our heads in the sand like an ostrich!
For those of us that are disabled, there are even other issues with being safe and secure in our homes. If you’re deaf or blind, or possibly both (shuddering at the thought) we have special problems to address. But they aren’t any more sophisticated than what a non-disabled person could do to safeguard themselves.
The first thing you need to look at is the obvious points of entry to your home, be it an apartment, house, or a room in someone’s house. The doors and windows are the most vulnerable and the easiest to come through for a criminal. Easiest?
Yes, the easiest. Why do I say that you ask. Most criminals can and do walk thru an unlocked door in your house. People actually forget to lock the door when they go out or otherwise leave it unattended. And if a criminal is savvy enough then they will check your doors first to see if they are unlocked before even attempting another way in.
Usually, you don’t have to worry about a criminal breaking a window to gain entry. They will always pick the home that is the easiest pickins’ for a simple fact. Why take a chance on a home that is guarded by anything, much less light security? And besides they don’t like to make noise, it attracts attention.
If you live in a house with a garage make sure that the garage door never remains up for any length of time without someone there to watch it. If you need to work in there and leave the door up for ventilation in the summer, fine. But don’t go to the restroom for an extended period of time with it up.
Additionally, lock all exterior doors that lead into the garage and the house. No matter if you’re at home or not. Take a lesson from above. If you leave the side door unlocked and the door to the house, from the garage, unlocked, what’s to stop a criminal from just walking in?
Being the crusty, rusty, and ol’ coot that I am, I make security checks around the house at least every few hours. And always make sure that the house is locked up before going to bed. And because she has been around this security guy for so long, even my wife does it as well, although not as much as I do (she’s not as paranoid as I am).
As for exterior doors, I do appreciate the fact that they should be ornamental to a degree. However, I’ve never been a big fan of doors that have so many windows in them as to allow someone to easily break one and get in or worse look into the house and be able to ‘case’ it from the street. I do have issues with this type of doors.
On the other hand, front doors, that have leaded glass in them are perfectly acceptable. And some of these doors also have thermal glass that makes it a little bit harder to break. Are these the best to have? No, but they are better than doors that have no leaded lines or are thin enough to tap a hole undetected.
Ensure that the locks that you employ on the doors are adequate and don’t leave too much of the locking bolt exposed. Criminals can exploit that to gain entry. Make sure that the locks are fairly new and in good shape. Don’t let them became weak or rusted or jammed with whatever to prevent them from locking properly.
Always ensure that you have a deadbolt on the door as well. This will help to ensure that no one can just smash through the door and get in. Some criminals will go to this length to do a home invasion.
And if you have too much glass in the door, they can unlock the door by busting the window in one spot and not the whole door.
Going along with this, is if the door itself is in disrepair, then no lock will help.
You have to make sure that if it’s wood, that it’s not a hollow core door. You can test this out by knocking on it. If it sounds hollow then it probably is. Find a solid core door to replace it. Doesn’t matter if it’s wood or metal. Metal doors are best, but they can be expensive, especially for the better ones.
Next you need to check the hinges and find out which way they swing, and I’m not talking about 50’s dancing. Never let your doors swing out on the exterior. While swinging inward has it risks, if they swing outward, you can’t stop it if someone wants to catch you off guard and grab it from you. And this brings up the other thing about doors.
Ensure that the jamb itself is in good repair. Inspect it thoroughly to check for cracks or other type of weathering that may weaken it. If it is weak, it doesn’t matter how expensive or secure the door, locks, & hinges are, it can be torn from the wall.
We’ve addressed the physical aspects of doors and locks, now we’ll move on to personal issues with the door. Never, ever, ever, open the door to anyone who you don’t recognize or who you’ve called for a repair. This is one way that criminals can gain entry to your home and never have to break in.
Always ask the 5 W’s and H before you open the door for anyone or anything. Huh? 5 W’s and H? Yes, it’s an old journalism term that is just as applicable in home security (actually all security (as it is in writing. Ask these questions before opening the door.
Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How. If they can’t answer your questions to your satisfaction, then don’t let them in. Trust your instincts and your gut when someone comes to the door. And what about if you’re an easy mark?
By easy mark, I mean elderly, disabled, or otherwise not in tip top shape. Carry your phone to the door with you. Whether it be a cordless or cell, take it with you. Dial 911 but don’t hit the power/send button. If someone is bent on trying to bully you or get in without you being satisfied who they are, then hit that button and call the police.
And I have to say now, that 99% of all utility workers and some contractors give their employees identification cards. Therefore, you can verify who they are before allowing entry. Any question about it call their company.
Lastly on this topic, don’t let them bully you into opening the door when you don’t want to. These people will lie, cheat, and say anything to get you to open the door. And like I said above, once you open the door nothing can stop them walking in and doing what they want.