As you all know, nothing about our jobs/career’s mean that we are totally exempt from becoming a victim. Like everyone else that has to leave their home to go to work, we have our valuables at risk of being stolen in a burglary when we are out protecting others. I recently came across this article by Steve Adcock of “The Shooting Channel” and it made me think about our own vulnerability. I thought I would share it with you all as a reminder to make sure we do all we can to secure our home when we leave.

Home Invasion: Seven ways to keep your family safe

1. Lock your door
This should go without saying, but criminals gain access to homes simply by turning the door knob more times than you would guess (nearly a third of break-ins in 2006 were “no forced” entries). An unlocked door (including the door that leads into your home from your garage) is the easiest way to enable a home invasion. Keep your doors closed and locked, and use strong, quality deadbolt locks. If you like fresh air, consider a metal security screen that will allow air in but keep out unwanted visitors and obscure the view into your home.

2. Keep your blinds closed and windows locked
We all like natural sunlight in our homes, but remember that when your blinds are open, the potential criminal (disguised as a postman, delivery person, sales person, or someone out for an evening walk) can easily see into your home. An opened blind or curtain will allow a criminal to eyeball many of your expensive belongings like big screen TVs, stereos, gaming systems and more. When you are not at home, keep your blinds closed to prevent someone from looking in, and of course, make sure that your windows are securely locked. Even your upstairs windows or doors!

3. Keep property lights on and well-maintained Criminals love the night, and for good reason. Darkness obscures their movements and allows them closer access to your property without being seen. Property lights are a great way to improve the security of your home by making it tougher for a criminal to approach your home unnoticed. Focus on illuminating entrance points to your home such as; front doors and garages or any balconies that your home may have. Consider placing lamps inside of your home by your windows.

4. Own a gun and know how to use it
No gun owner wants to be forced to use their firearm to fend off an attacker, but defensive gun use in the United State is an effective means to protect you and your family. It is important that gun owners train consistently with their firearm, and that all adults within the household know how to use the gun effectively. Do not rely on a single person to be the one that shoots. If that person gets hurt in the attack, or is away from the house at the time, the other adult(s) need to know how to use the weapon to properly defend them and their families. Do not take this responsibility lightly. Attend defensive training schools and be prepared to know what to do and how to react if an intruder gains access into your home.

5. Pay attention to workers and work trucks around your neighborhood Criminals are savvy, and some may even work fulltime jobs as construction workers or other manual labor or service type jobs, in order to gain entry into people’s homes. For example, remember the guy who cleaned your carpets last year? Did he happen to notice your $2000 television sitting in your living room? Or, did you notice him unlock one of your windows, allowing him or his “acquaintances” to gain access to the home later on?

6. Regularly collect your newspapers, fliers and mail Often ignored, the pile of newspapers and fliers outside of your home indicates to criminals that you either are away from your home, or lazy enough to leave your doors and windows unlocked (or both), which encourages more focus on your home. Clever criminals might even place a flier in your mailbox or on your front door and take notice of how long it takes you to remove it. The longer it takes, the greater the likelihood of a potential attack. Be sure to collect these items from your yard and door to make the next criminal believe that you’re on top of things, responsible and pro-active in your own life.

7. Have an alarm system installed Alarm systems are effective ways to keep criminals from attempting to break into your home provided you stick a sign in your front yard that tells a would-be criminal that your home is protected. Not only does it deter criminals, but it often gives you a peace of mind knowing that your home is protected at every entrance (including windows). If you have a two-story home, don’t forget to alarm the second story windows as well. Ladders are lighter and easier to carry than ever these days, especially for criminals that arm themselves with work trucks. Do not ignore your upstairs windows.

The theme to protecting your home from the next invasion is being pro-active. Taking the basic step of locking your doors and windows is essential, but do not overlook the threat that service workers in your neighborhood play in their ability to enter homes and scope out places that they would like to return to that night. Walk around your home and think like a criminal. Inspect the entrance ways and dark areas on your property that you think a criminal might choose to hide in. Do not give would-be criminals a reason to focus on your property. Clean up after yourself, secure your home and train yourself to be your family’s best level of protection.

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