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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


Use Caution When Accepting Deliveries at Home

deliveryWhether you shopped online or are fortunate enough to receive gifts from out of town loved ones, now is not the time to blindly open the door to delivery couriers.

Recently a van pulled into my driveway. I was not expecting anyone. Those who know me know that I “don’t do pop-overs.”  Phone me from the driveway if you must, but don’t just show up at my door unannounced and expect me to answer it.  I work from home and I’m a single parent and 9mm or not, opening the door just isn’t something I freely do.  Call me paranoid, hermit, cautious, whatever – I just don’t do popovers.

Back to the van in my driveway.  As I am a fan of online shopping, so I’m not stranger to delivery vehicles, I wasn’t not expecting anything from a Ryder Cargo Van.

I cautiously looked out the window, okay – covertly looked, to see a man get out, not dressed in any uniform nor any identifying logos.  This was a big flag for me. Meanwhile my gal pal was on the phone and said to me, “Boy when we see a strange Ryder van pull up unexpectedly, we run for cover.”  Nice friend, thanks. I’m already trying to determine who is encroaching on my space and you need to plant that little seed in my head. Continue reading


Burglars Love Luggage Tags

What you put on your luggage tag could place your home and loved ones at risk

Dear Airline Traveler,

Thank you so much for including your name, phone number and home address on your luggage tag.  I was running out of homes to break into.  I have to support my drug habit, doncha know. But now that you just hopped on an airplane and won’t be home for a while, I can go to your place and rob you blind. I ought to find plenty to take to the pawn shop, sell on the streets or use for trade.  Thanks for that.  Oh, and if you left your teenage daughter or wife at home, that could be a real bonus.  They wouldn’t expect me to be there so I might have to make sure they aren’t able to call the cops after I leave… If you know what I mean.  Or maybe while I’m there, I may just ‘hit that’ sweet thing. She’s probably never had a real man like me.  I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sharing such personal information with me.


Burglar and part-time rapist, attacker and murderer if I panic.

Extreme? Perhaps.  Possible? You bet. Every day countless travelers unknowingly do stupid things to put themselves, love ones or personal property at risk.  Do you feel safe sharing such personal information with unknown gate agents, baggage handlers, valets, or even the stranger standing next to you at the check-in counter? Under what circumstance would you possibly need to include your home address on your luggage?

If your luggage is lost or mis-routed, wouldn’t it make sense to merely have your name and cell phone number on the tag?  At least that way the airlines could contact you for more information.  Or list your name and the phone number where you will be staying once you arrive at your destination if you don’t want your unpublished cell phone number attached to your name.

Interestingly I decided to look up a few airlines to see what their policy was with regard to identification on luggage.  Here are a few, taken directly from their own websites: Continue reading

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