Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't think it could happen to you? We now live in a world that broadcasts our information to just about anyone. So now more than ever, it's especially important for those people who live alone (like Jessica who is still missing), to follow these simple steps to increase your safety and home security.

You may be a college grad living on your own for the very first time. Or perhaps, you're an empty-nester, single parent, or a widow. Whatever the situation, living alone can stir up a range of feelings - from excitement to worry - about your safety. Here are some tips to help you feel secure with your new way of life.

Protecting Your Home
Change the locks when you move to a new place. Install a deadbolt lock.
Get a security system if you are anxious about break-ins.
Make sure your front door has a peephole - and USE it!
Insert a piece of wood or a metal pole inside the tracks of any sliding doors to increase security.
Keep your garage door locked. If there is a door from the garage to your house, keep that locked too.
Set up timers to turn your lights on at night when you're away.
Keep outside lights on at night.
Staying Safe Inside
Don't advertise that you live alone, especially on FACEBOOK! List your telephone number with just your first initial and last name. If you live in an apartment, show just your last name on the mailbox. Record an answering machine greeting that says, "We aren't here right now...."
When your doorbell rings, call out, "I'll get it" before you answer the door.
Keep your screen door locked or the chain-lock in place when you answer the door. Don't let strangers in. If someone needs help, offer to call the police while the person waits outside.
Ask for ID before letting service people into your home.
Call 9-1-1 if you hear noises or see anything suspicious near your home. Don't feel awkward; this is what the police are trained to do.
When You're Away

These precautions can help you feel secure when you get home:
Lock up before you go - whether you'll be away for five minutes or five days.
Have a friend pick up your mail and newspapers when you're out of town. If possible, have someone park his or her car in your driveway.
Don't leave notes on the door saying that you're out - and when you'll return.
Before going out, leave a $20 bill in your home - in plain sight. When you return, don't step inside if the money is gone.
Leave and call 9-1-1 if anything seems amiss (such as an open door or a slit screen). Don't go inside.
Leave your spare key with someone you trust - not under the doormat or inside the mailbox.
Keeping Loved Ones Informed

Imagine the worst - that you fall down the stairs, have a heart attack or fall victim to a crime. These thoughts may be scary, but preparing for them can make you less vulnerable.
If you don't know anyone in your area, ask a loved one to stay in close contact. Have that person call for help if he or she can't reach you within an agreed-upon time frame.
If you have family and friends nearby, give one of them your key. Tell this person to use it if something happens and you can't be reached.
Let a friend know where you'll be and when you'll return, if you're going away on business or vacation.
If you don't already have a cell phone, get one. You'll have it for emergencies and you'll be able to keep your loved ones informed - by phone or text - if there's a problem.
Living alone may give you some desired independence, but don't take that freedom too far. Staying in touch enhances your social life - and provides a lifeline between you and your loved ones. But, being too in touch with just anyone, could cost you your safety!

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