Take Fifteen Security-at-Home Measures

Providing for security-at-home is a prudent precaution in today’s environment. How extensive your preparation for security-at-home will be, depends on your personal situation and the location of your home.

Retirement age people and women of any age can be at greater risk if they are perceived as vulnerable. One aspect of preparation is to change that perception. How vulnerable are we and is this an issue that we should care about at all?

The U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that 99 percent of all people alive today will be the victim of a crime at some point and many will be victims several times. And additionally, a person has a better chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime than being injured in an automobile accident. Since the risk is real security-at-home is something that we should take very seriously.

Many home invasions occur while one or more residents are home. Consider that an invader who doesn’t care if you are home or not is one who wouldn’t care if he injured or even killed you. In fact that may be the intention from the beginning.

Break-ins and home invasions are almost always crimes of opportunity. Our job in providing security-at-home home is to create the reality and perception that our home would be a hard target. We want the invader to have to look for an easier target. If we avoid the conflict we win.

As good as they are we can’t rely solely on our police departments. Police forces patrol, maintain peace, and investigate crimes after the fact. It is rare when a police officer is in the right place at the right time to stop a crime in progress. The ratio of police officers to citizens is about 2.4 per 1000. No police department can respond to every citizen’s need, no matter how great an effort is made by the officers.

What is the duty of the police to protect individual citizens? In 1981, the Court of Appeals for Washington D.C., ruling on Warren vs. District of Columbia, wrote that under American law the “government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”

Protecting our homes is about much more than protecting replaceable possessions. It is about protecting your life and that of your loved ones. As with our discussion on healthy retirement, we have to take responsibility for our own security-at-home.

Creating the perception that your home would be a hard target could be as simple as faking it. Place signs outside alleging that the house is alarmed whether it is or not. You could also place dummy cameras around the outside that further enhances the illusion.

A monitored alarm system is one of the best defenses. Such systems are expensive, however, and may not fit your budget. There are many alarm systems available with varying degrees of sophistication and levels of cost. Follow this link for some affordable home security equipment and systems.

Here are Fifteen security-at-home measures for your retirement planning consideration:

  1. Assess the security of your homes perimeter from the curb. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential invader. What weaknesses do you see that a home invader could exploit? How can you improve it?
  2. Trees and shrubs near windows and door left untrimmed offer ready cover to an intruder. Consider trimming them back or eliminating them.
  3. Don’t leave tools out that can be used to force entry.
  4. Request a crime prevention review by your local law enforcement agency and the loss prevention department of your insurance company.
  5. Add motion activated flood lights strategically around the house.
  6. Assure that your house number is easily read from the street so that police can locate your home in a hurry. Consider stenciling on the curb.
  7. Consider fencing your yard if you don’t already have one. A yard with a fence makes it more difficult for an intruder to gain access and getaway.
  8. Consider solid wood or metal exterior doors with reinforced door frames, dead-bolt locks, and strike plates.
  9. Evaluate and upgrade as necessary the security features on the windows of your home including window locks and back up security latches on sliding glass doors.
  10. Full-coverage window blinds to prevent anyone standing outside to see in at night.
  11. Consider adding an alarm system with monitoring.
  12. A dog is a deterrent to criminals. Some people elect a large dog, some a small dog.
  13. Make your bedroom a safe room. Install a solid door with reinforced deadbolt lock and hardened strike plates. The door frame should also be reinforced. Keep a flash light and cell phone in the bedroom at all times. This could help keep the intruder away from you until the police arrive.
  14. Consider keeping personal protection weapons in your safe room such as a pepper spray or handgun. Be sure to check your state and local laws. If you consider a handgun you need to take an approved course on safe handling, use, and storage of that weapon. Local target ranges or an N.R.A. program are good sources for training. Keep both types of personal protection weapons secured from children.
  15. It’s probably not a good idea to keep an extra key to your house hidden outside. An experienced burglar can probably find it.

One last thought, if you dial 911 stay on the line with the operator in your safe room. Stay in your safe room especially with a weapon. Do not wonder around the house or outside. If you encounter a responding officer, he/she will probably not know whether you are the homeowner or the intruder. This could end badly for you and the officer.

Disclaimer and goal

References and Suggested Reading List:

  • The Complete Guide to Personal and Home Safety by Captain Robert L. Snow.
  • Home Security Systems: Reliable safety measures for home defense by KMS Publishing
  • Personal Defense for Women: Practical advice for Self Protection by Gila Hayes and Massad Ayoob.

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