5 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

holidayhouse‘Tis the season… the season when, in the minds of some, desperate times call for desperate measures. Home invasions are up as criminals know there’s a greater chance of a higher bounty because of newly purchased Christmas presents on the premises. Hopefully you will never experience an event that causes you to feel fearful in your own residence. Because your home is your sanctuary, it is vital that you do everything within your control to keep intruders out your house. Below are five proactive measures that you can do today to ensure your domicile remains your Home Sweet Home, throughout the holidays and beyond.

Your home is supposed to be your haven – the structure that keeps you and your family safe and protected. It’s the place you retreat to after a long day, the shelter that keeps you protected from the elements of unpredictable weather patterns and it’s the refuge where you can lock your doors and know that you and your family members can peacefully rest your head for the night.

1. Evaluate your lighting

Employing light properly is one of the most economical and effective ways of increasing safety and security around your home.  To determine if lighting around your home is adequate, evaluate your current situation while in total darkness.

  • Start by walking around the perimeter of your house at night. Before you go outside make sure all your inside and outside lights are turned off. The purpose of this stroll is to help you identify shadows and blind spots on your property that occur naturally at night.  If you have someone to accompany you on this walk-around, have that person take some notes.  Many cell phones are equipped with a feature that lets you audibly record your notes.  Be sure to look at the areas surrounding doors, first floor and basement level windows. Then look for line of travel one would take when approaching your home from the street and also assess bordering property lines.  Garage, shed or other outbuildings also warrant a review. Record your observations you see when looking toward your home as well as away from it, as if looking out from a window. From the standpoint of keeping intruders out, what areas require the most light?  Do you need to add any accent lighting?
  • Finish this lighting evaluation from the inside.  For this evaluation, upon entering your home, turn lights on as you would normally after returning at night. The goal with this is to ensure that your lights illuminate deep into the room.  You should be able to immediately tell if any of your contents have been disturbed, which could indicate a sign of an intrusion.  Avoid a situation where you walk in and flip a switch that turns on a light immediately above you, resulting in the rest of your home still in the dark. If there is an intruder inside, you’ll be at a disadvantage with this lighting setup. Rearranging your light setup may require you to hire an electrician to install a wall-switch that controls lamps located further in the room.  If you have multiple levels, have your electrician install wall switches on the upper floor that allows you to turn on lights on the levels below.

Lighting is an often overlooked element of security that can be particularly useful when investigating ‘bumps’ in the night.

2. Landscape with an eye on security Continue reading

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Saying ‘Happy Memorial Day’ Seems Oxymoronic

Memorial Day gratitudeHappy Birthday! I get it. Happy Mother’s Day! I get it. Happy Memorial Day? I don’t get it.

Whenever I see someone post ‘Happy Memorial Day’ it makes me cringe. It seems like a disrespectful oxymoron.

Sure Memorial Day is a day off for many. Sure it’s a day to spend BBQing and rumpusing outdoors with family and friends. Sure it’s a day to catch stale tootsie rolls at a local parade.

But it’s so much more than that.

Me·mo·ri·al Day (noun)

a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.

See above. It’s a day to remember those who died in active military service.   What is happy about that? Shouldn’t we be reflective, full of gratitude, or even reverent on this day?

Have fun; enjoy your festivities, no one is suggesting you shouldn’t – just think twice before wishing someone a HAPPY Memorial Day.

BTW, Veteran’s day is in November.  Some get Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day mixed up. Veterans Day honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces (dead or alive). Memorial Day is to remember those who died.

While I do not believe those who have passed have the ability to read my blog, I do want to say Thank You to the families of service members who sacrificed their lives. Your loved ones are not forgotten. 

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Are Deception Experts Deceiving You?

crystal ballBeware of False Claims

Understand that in a matter of moments you can find a number of YouTube videos and books from people claiming to be body language experts and whom purport they can tell when someone is lying. There is an abundance of unsubstantiated lore out there when it comes to deception. More than a few so-called experts regularly make false claims.

Consider alternatives

For example, listen carefully the next time you hear someone say “[This] means he is probably lying.” Some of the self-proclaimed pundits will use the words: probably, may, could be. They won’t commit to the validity of that claim and cover their tracks by sliding in that it probably means they aren’t being truthful.

Or worse yet “[This] means he is lying.” Nope, not necessarily. [This] could mean he is uncomfortable (we certainly know how uncomfortable it can be sitting in the witness chair). [This] could also be his baseline – the way he normally behaves.

I recently saw a video where the “expert” was trying to say that when the witness or juror is sworn in, she looks at how the person holds their right hand. She made all sorts of claims that wide fingers meant they were scared; closed fingers meant you’d have to pry information out; curled hand means they will not be truthful. Hogwash! She failed to take into consideration the person could have arthritic hands, or tendon damage or could have been raking leaves for hours and simply had sore hands. Continue reading

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