Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, it is always a good idea to practice home safety. Recent study shows that a lot of crimes are being committed in people's residences- burglaries, armed robberies, and home invasions to name a few. I would like to share a few tips that I have learned while attending a Realtor Safety Week seminar. In this seminar sponsored by the members of the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS (SAMCAR), home safety tips were discussed. The Realtor Safety Week is from September 9 through September 15.
Home Safety Tips # 1: Security Alarm System:
Consider investing in an alarm system for your home. For a minimal fee each month (average $40/month= average $1.33/day) you are buying yourself a peace of mind. Make sure that the alarm system has a panic button feature that you can easily use.
Home Safety Tips # 2: Deadbolts:
Your home should have deadbolts with full one-each bolts on all entry doors. These should be installed in addition to existing locksets. For doors with glass panels within three feet of the lock, it should have a double-cylinder deadbolt requiring a key on both sides; this way a burglar cannot simply break the glass and reach through to unlock the door. If your door has conventional glass panels, consider replacing them with shatterproof glass or polycarbonate material.
Home Safety Tips # 3: Re-Key Locks:
If you have just moved to a new house or apartment, have all the locks re-keyed immediately. Better yet accomplish this before you move in.
Home Safety Tips # 4: Limit Number of Keys:
Limit the keys only to members of the family that live with you. If you must share a key with a relative, especially when you are going on vacation and you need a house sitter- make sure that the person is trustworthy. Make sure that they return your key right away. If you have a hired help, for example a babysitter or a cleaning lady, and you ended up firing that person for whatever reason; make sure to change the locks immediately, even if you get your keys back.
Home Safety Tips # 5: Security Rods on Tracks:
Place a wooden rod in the track of a sliding glass door so that it cannot be opened from the outside. To prevent glass doors from being lifted from the frames, install shims along the top frames; these fit in the tracks between the top of the door and frame and prevent door from being raised high enough to be removed.
Home Safety Tips # 6: Keep Windows and Doors Free from Obstructions:
Keep bushes and trees trimmed that are right in front of your windows and doors. For these can provide a shield or hiding place for criminals to work without being seen. Consider reinforcing your basement windows with security bars, wire mesh, or Plexiglas. Also trim trees of branches that can be a way for the criminals to climb up your second floor windows.
Home Safety Tips # 7: Designate a Safe Room and an Escape Route:
Install a deadbolt lock on the door of your home office or den, so that it becomes your "safe or panic" room that you can lock yourself into if you are threatened. Plan an escape route from the upper floor by adding a rope ladder in a room upstairs.
Home Safety Tips # 8: Lighting:
Make sure that your main entrances, porches, driveways, and front walkways are well-lit. Turn on interior lights
when you are away in the evenings.
Home Safety Tips # 9: Where's the Key?
Don't hide your house keys under doormats, inside your mailbox, or planters. These are obvious places that criminals would look for keys. Also, never put a name in your address and name on your key chain, it would be easy for criminals to find where you live and have access to your home and car.
Home Safety Tips # 10: Garage Doors:
Keep your garage doors closed and lock them at night. Make sure your garage windows are all closed and locked; it is hard to hear someone in your garage door because you may be inside watching TV not noticing the criminal activities happening inside your garage. Also, garages have ladders and other tools that can help criminals gain access to the main part of your home; so keeping your garage secured at all times will not entice the criminals to target your home.
Home Safety Tips # 11: Keep Cell Phone with You:
Even if you already have a telephone in your home, keep a charged mobile phone with you at all times. Criminals can cut your phone lines outside, so if you have your cell phones available you can still make those emergency calls. It is also a wise idea to program the emergency numbers on your landline and mobile phones
for easy speed-dials in case of emergencies.
Home Safety Tips # 12: Have Your Home Analyzed for Security:
For a detailed security analysis of your home, contact a bonded professional locksmith who is an accredited member of the National Locksmith Association. Finally, you can ask for help or advice from your local sheriff or police department; call them immediately of you see, hear, or have a good reason to suspect that a crime is being committed.
There are other ways to keep your homes safe from criminals; one is to keep a weapon you can use in case you are threatened. Just make sure it is locked in a safe place so children will not easily reach them. Make sure to take proper training in handling weapons, you would not want these weapons to be used on you in case the assailants get a hold of it.