Home Security Solutions in an Ever-Changing World
It was once said that the best solution to home security was to move to a safe neighborhood. This advice is increasingly irrelevant for several reasons. The first reason is because people now move much more often. This means that the composition of a neighborhood could change within a five year or ten year span from "safe" to "unsafe" as stable residents moved to suburbs or upscale developments while people fleeing bad neighborhoods moved in, with their child's bad friends following suit.
Another reason you cannot neglect home security is because local politics can render “safe neighborhoods” dangerous literally overnight.
What are your options for improving home security today and in the future?
- Keep side doors and back doors locked if you are not in the yard. If you have a pet access door or doggie doggie door, install a method to secure that as well.
- Install locks on sliding glass doors so that criminals cannot get access by pushing these doors out of the track before entering your home.
- Ensure that you can look through the peephole in your door and confirm who is standing outside before you open the door. If the image is blurry, clean it. If you do not have a peephole, install one. Install a porch light so that you can clearly identify visitors at night.
- If you are looking for a place to live, select a building that has a door man or other "gate-keeper" who helps control access to the building. Another option is to live in a building that has an intercom and requires visitors to be buzzed in by current residents.
- Do you have a fence to keep out trespassers? Check it for overgrowth of vegetation. The overgrowth can give criminals an easy way to climb over.
- There is no such thing as private when you post to social media. For example, do not brag about valuable collections you want to keep secret online. You are telling potential thieves that you have something they would want.
- Retain at least one land-line phone in the home so that you can call 911 when the local cell phone towers are down, power is out to your computer or there is a jamming device preventing wireless connections.
- Keep personal documents like passports, birth certificates and property deeds in a fire safe box hidden in the home. Make a digital copy of these documents and keep that in a separate location so that you have them even if the fire box is stolen.
- If you are backing your data up to “the cloud”, verify that the vendor is a major IT service provider and meets basic security standards like regular scans by McAfee anti-virus.
- Teach your children to never admit strangers, no matter who they say they are. Your teenagers are not to let someone claiming to be with the utility company into your back yard or a security company into the home. Teach them that they should not allow people claiming to be police officers into the home unless your adolescent called 911 themselves.
- Parties are only fun if they are controlled. Limit the size of gatherings. Set a strict limit with teenagers and even 20-somethings that if they hold a gathering, it is to be reasonable to the size of the building and that illegal activity is forbidden. The person holding the party must circulate to ensure that there is no underage drinking, drug abuse or even rape.
- If a flash mob shows up, refuse entry to anyone. A hundred strangers coming for free beer or supposed fun could easily result in the loss of all your jewelry and money while you have no idea who did it. Call the police at the first sign of a flash mob trying to force its way in. Don't wave a gun unless you actually need it to defend yourself and know how to use it.
- Does your apartment complex have a security guard? Verify that the security guards are trained to do more than call 911 and ensure that they know your face so that they do not let someone claiming to be you into your apartment.
- Don’t let your kids wear idolize gang culture or emulate it, such as wearing gang gear from designers associated with rappers. If they think that this sub-culture is cool, they are more likely to join a group associated with violence, crime and premature death.