In 1604, English judge Edward Coke wrote, “The house of everyone is to him as his Castle and Fortress as well for defense against injury and violence, as for his repose.” These days, you’re likely to hear his remark shortened to “A man’s home is his castle,” but Sir Edward makes a great point with the rest of his statement: our homes exist to protect us from harm, and we need to feel safe and secure in them.
Over four hundred years later, we still have moments when we don’t feel safe at home and as we age, we can feel even more vulnerable. But here are some tips to keep your home feeling as secure as a fortress.
Invest in a Home Security System
One of the best ways to prevent burglaries is to install a home security system. With an alarm system, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if anyone enters your home you’ll know about it – and the police will be alerted immediately, too. You can also add caregivers’ or relatives’ phone numbers to the list of people who are notified when the alarm is triggered.
When incarcerated burglars were asked about what stopped then from breaking in to certain houses, many replied that, as soon as they heard an alarm, they ran. Even the yard sign that comes with the system can potentially deter potential burglars – they just don’t want to deal with an alarm system.
Use Personal Security Technology
Keep your cell phone and wearable emergency buttons close by when you’re at home. Most mobile phones are designed to let you have quick access to emergency services. Many smart phones even let you bypass the lock screen in an emergency, so you don’t have to worry about remembering and typing in your security code. This feature lets you dial 911 or call designated emergency contacts from the lock screen. If your cell phone responds to voice commands, that’s also an easy way to contact the police in an emergency. You can now also text 911, in the event that speaking is not an option.
If you have a wearable emergency button, wear it. Remember that it’s not just for falls and other medical emergencies. The team monitoring your medical alert system can connect you with emergency services in the case of a home invasion, too.
Have a Dog
A barking dog inside a home can deter potential intruders. Larger breeds are more of a deterrent, but even a smaller dog making noise and drawing attention to the house means that the burglary isn’t going to be as easy as one in a home with no dog.
Leave a Car in the Driveway
Criminals want to break into a house when no one’s home. If there’s a car in the driveway – whether you’re home or not – it’s harder for a burglar to assume that the house is empty.
Turn on a TV or Radio
Similarly, the noise of a TV or radio on in the house can deter a criminal. If they can’t tell the house is empty, most burglars won’t break in.
Check Your Door Locks
Make it as difficult as possible to open your doors and windows. Make sure that your door locks can’t be opened with a credit card by checking that they have a door latch guard – a metal plate that extends across the space between the door and the frame, preventing a credit card from sliding through. A deadbolt is another good option.
If you have sliding glass doors, you can add extra security by placing a wooden dowel in the track when the door is closed. This prevents an intruder from sliding the door open, even if they manage to get past the lock.
A few final tips: get to know your neighbors, so you feel comfortable contacting them in an emergency. If you are away from home for an extended period of time, stop your mail and newspaper delivery, or have someone pick them up for you. Leave a few lights on inside when you’re away, too. Hopefully, these tips will keep any invaders out of your fortress, and you can feel as safe as possible in your home.