I read somewhere that summertime is the highest time for residential crime. Crazy, huh? It’s cause people go on vacation and other people want cheap (aka free) stuff. So they pull a fast one.
And that is what brought me here today. That and the fact that I am a member of the SmartSquad…and they wanted me to talk about Home Safety today. Hey – if it helps keep one person or home a little more secure, I’m like a bellybutton and totally in. So here are my top five tips to a safer home …
1. Prep for travel
In a world that is obsessed with telling other folks where you are at every moment (hello Facebook & Twitter!), home safety should come first. This is not the time ya’ll. Wait to announce your beach vacation after you returned home. Don’t say how wonderful the mountains streams look or how much you love camping in the great wilderness. Pretend that all getaways are secrets…and you will keep those theives in the dark.
2. Layer your security
If you only have one method of security on your home…then the bad guys only have to beat that one thing. That’s why it’s a good idea to have more than one. Motion lights outside warn burglers you are prepared, door locks (like ours from Kwikset that have deadbolts) on all doors hinder incoming smash & grabbers, armed alarms with motion detectors notify authorities, even animals like dogs can help. All these layers will increase your chances that those criminals will give up and leave you and your stuff alone.
3. Neighborhood Watch
Organized neighborhood watches not only keep your community safe but it gives your nosy neighbor a reason to watch your crib. Don’t have one? It’s easy enough to organize and knowing other folks are watching for strange activity lets you have a little more ease of mind when you are gone.
4. Do your chores
It sounds hard to do your chores when you aren’t home – but that’s kinda the point. If your trash is still going out and your mail is being collected and your sprinkler is running, crooks will doubt whether or not you are really gone. It’s as easy as getting a timer for your sprinkler system, asking a neighbor to gather mail and a friend or family member to take the trash can to the curb.
When I was little my mom would shut all the doors upstairs before we left the house. I thought it was weird. But now, every time we go anywhere for an overnight visit, I shut all the doors too. Why? Well, that’s a routine that makes me check all the windows and doors in the house even when my child is screaming, I am juggling a million things and my brain is dead….because an open door is a sure fire way to get robbed.
Any other tips you care to share…I’d love to hear them!
And now for the creative disclosure statement – I am a member of the Kwikset-sponsored SmartSquad and occasionally receive incentives to discuss issues related to home safety and security.
I live in a safe neighborhood but it’s so easy to tell when some of my neighbors are away. There are NO lights on in their home. The outside lights that are normally on are off and the place is pitch black. And outside lights that are on all day are also a dead giveaway. I don’t think it’s that difficult to switch to timed or light sensitive sensors and really worth it. There’ll be lights on for you as well should you come home later than expected. Oh, and we’re allowed to tell the police we’ll be gone and they make an extra pass or two by your house. (Not sure if that helps much!)
Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove says
My parents house has this crazy motion sensor alarm (although we had to turn off the motion sensor part once we got cats) with sirens and everything. It was a little weird growing up because no one else had their house locked up like Fort Knox but we were always safe.
Our last apartment was on the 6th floor of a building so I felt safe but I’m a little more nervous with our new apartment since we’re on the first floor. The current apartments’ windows don’t really lock (some of them do, but plenty don’t). I’m actually going to call the landlord about it because I don’t feel safe. Can you believe the previous tenants never put a battery in their smoke alarm?! It’s the first thing we did and another detail that sometimes gets over looked for home safety.
We also use an outlet timer for our most common lamps and have them turn on and off at normal times that we would be home anyway. Also, our two-car garage turned out to really be a large one-car garage, so hubby’s truck has to stay in the driveway. He forgot to lock it one night and gone was the gps and a bag of quarters for tolls. Now the doors get double checked and all desirable items are taken out each evening.
My dad used to make us set the table so it looked like we would be right back. who would leave with a table set up to eat? haha
i always thought it was nutty, but it makes sense to me now 🙂
two dogs in one 800 square foot apartment with laminate wood floors… this would be a lifesaver! swiffer just isn’t cutting it anymore!
GET ME STEAMY! Oh my gosh I’ve been wanting one of these sooo bad! My husband thinks we don’t need one though so I haven’t been able to get one… thus I have to clean my floors on my hands & knees 🙁 I so hope I win 🙂
The biggest mess I still have to tackle is our garage. We have SO much JUNK in there & it’s pretty much all ruined from being out there for over two years. It really needs to all go to the trash, but it’s so gross that I don’t want to look at it.
I use the timers for Christmas tree lights to have lamps come on for a few hours each night. I time the rooms differently so it looks like people are moving from room to room. And I have a super vicious puggle who will snuggle anyone to death, given the chance.
Does anyone else look behind all the shower curtains the moment you get home? Forget closets and rooms, for some reason I always feel the need to check behind the shower curtains.
Get me steamy!
Worst job is cleaning our floors (tiled kitchen, hardwood everywhere else) after our annual BBQ every summer. Everyone has to walk through our brownstone to get to the backyard and the house is gross by the end of the party. This mop would make my morning after so much easier!
GET ME STEAMY. The biggest mess I ever tackled is our garage. It was full of boxes of stuff and junk from my in-law. It took me 2 years to really organize everything in there!
get me steamy!!!!
my husband and i are pretty adept at putting drinks in the freezer for “10 minutes, so they get cold”. it usually ends up being 10 hours, so they explode!!
Lindsay Wright says
Katie – Your #1 tip was by far my favorite!! It’s SO common to see people counting down the days until their trips on FB…my daddy warned me about that. He’d also tell you to get a dog. Or if you’re like me, a recording of a dog hooked up to your front door. 🙂
i’m a military wife and the hubby is gone frequently on “business trips.” we park one car inside the garage and leave his in the driveway. i always move his car to make it look like he has been in and out- park it in the street, the other side of the driveway…you get the idea. that way not even the neighbors know if my man is actually home.
From Scratch says
Get Me Steamy!
The worst thing I ever had to clean was an apartment fridge that the previous occupant left unplugged, closed, and with an inch of water in the bottom off it for ALL summer… In 90 degree weather and no AC. I gagged every three seconds trying to clean it. Have you ever seen what happens to a fridge that is kept off and closed up like that? Beyond this world disgusting.
Get Me Steamy! The biggest mess I ever tackled was when I thought it would be fun to make an inexpensive toy by putting a few lbs of rice in a plastic bin, complete with measuring cup scoopers, for my toddler. That way he couple play in the kitchen while I cooked. Huge mess. Dumb idea. 🙂
[email protected] says
I totally agree with you on #1. FB allows too much personal information to be shared, and people share it! Updating your location (‘Jane Doe is a Munchy’s food bar’) is the equivalent of saying, “Hey everyone, I’m out of my house, please go rob it!” in my opinion!
Couple A Saving says
What are your feelings on gun safety? I know you have one but im wondering how you went about learning about safety for it. Once the Hubs and I buy our own house he wants to get one for protection. He has gone hunting and knows hot to use one very well. Im afraid about something bad happening with it. Did you take a gun safety class?
Get Me Steamy!
I’ve heard great things about this product!
Get me steamy! The worst mess was when my now-husband and I moved into our first place together. We rented a house – the previous tenants were total slobs and the landlord didn’t bother to clean up after them! We spent weeks scrubbing everything and it still felt scummy in there!
What’s with the “Get me steamy” posts?
It’s y’all, not ya’ll. As in, “you all” instead of “ya will.”
This post is terrible. If you worry about being robbed all the time, you either live in a bad area or you need better things to think about.
GET ME STEAMY!
yesterday i tried to make breadcrumbs from some leftover bread scraps in my magic bullet, but apparently hadn’t screwed the top on tight enough…disaster!
Katie V. says
I think people are getting their comments and posts mixed up. 🙂 I’m so glad I live in a safe community and don’t worry too much about our home’s safety. I agree about not putting too much info out there on Facebook and Twitter, but I’m also very strict about who I “friend” on FB and my security on there is tight.
Get me Steamy!
We have a carport and so enter our house through the front door. It gets me boiling to have to key into the house if the front pouch light isn’t on and either hubs or I would sometimes forget. So our current solution for 4 years now is the front light is always on. It is a CFL so I don’t worry much about the electricity and now whether we are home or away looks the same and is lit up.
Get Me Steamy!
The biggest mess i have tackled lately is trying to get the white (who’s terrible idea was that) grout in my kitchen, entrance and bathroom clean. I bought special grout cleaner, and a grout spounge, and got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed…for about 4 hours!!!
It helped a bit, but after all that work a neighbour told me that he had used a steam cleaner and his grout had come out like new again.
I would love, love, love this, to save myself the 4 hrs next time my grout gets grimy, which is inevitable due to dirty dog and husband!
I check behind the shower curtains too! I don’t know why… it’s just something I’ve always done. In my old place, the shower curtain was always pulled shut due to a window looking outside being in the shower, so I was in the habit of checking behind the curtain every single time I went in there to go potty – especially at night! But now that I’m in an apartment without windows in the bathroom, I tend to always keep my curtain pulled open so there is no question whether some creepy crazy person is hiding in there! 🙂
I am a little more lax on home security than I should be. Ironically, my dad is a retired police officer who has a cowboy mentality. We always left the doors unlock and I did not grow up in the safest neighborhood. I know have an alarm thanks to the persistence of my loving boyfriend. Additionally, my backyard used to be open to the world via my driveway to the garage, but I recently put in a fence to block off the driveway and my backyard.
My best tips on home safety are:
1) Know your neighbors. Know them well. Bring them baked goods when they move in. Invite them over for dinner. Babysit their children. Make them your friends. Friends watch out for friends. Also, you will always be able to borrow a cup of sugar.
2) Get a dog! Every police officer I’ve ever met has said that this is the number one burglar deterrent. Go to the pound. It is insane that there are extra puppies in the world, but there are.
3) Live next door to a sheriff. Okay- you can’t plan this. But it is an awesome bonus of living on my street.
as a claims adjuster that deals with break-ins on a daily basis i would also advise everyone to read through your homeowners (or renters) policy. there are limits in there on a lot of commonly stolen items such as jewelry that most people are unaware of. i hate telling people they have a $1500 jewelry limit when 10k of jewelry is stolen 🙁 talk to your agent to make sure you have the proper coverage.
Video surveillance. Honestly probly the most important of them all because when it all comes down to it, if someone knows you aren’t home, and they want something in your house, they’re going to get it regardless.
Our home was broken into a couple months ago while my Husband and I were at work. We figured whoever it was knew our routine because they broke in between 9am-1pm [broad daylight]. They stole our TV, Xbox and a few other electronics.
When the police arrived we were asking them about the best kind of security. He said video surveillance. It’s good to have the alarm [ADT… ETC] but he said when the alarm is activated, it’s usually another 10mins. before they get the actual call to come out to the house and these crooks are fast so their usually outta there when the cops do arrive. With the video, they can see who it is, and put out a BOLO, makes it much easier to catch the thieves.
AND… a large dog couldn’t hurt either 😀
I am a freak about security. Probably because when my son was 4 months old I was visiting my parents (who live in a REALLY nice neighborhood) and two guys with guns bashed in the back door. While we were all there. It was the most horrific event of my life. Thank god no one was hurt but they stole everything my parents have worked for over the last 40 years. My parents now have a top of the line security system and we had the exact same one installed when we moved in our house. I am also so strict about doors and windows getting locked. Thanks for this post. I think most people have the mentality “oh, it’ll never happen to me” – but it does, and its horrible.
I have alot of memories as a kid growing up in philly of my dad me and my sister walking around the house before bed checking all the doors and windows and even the knobs on the stove to make sure everything was secure and we were all safe. even now with living in the burbs with my own child i carry him around with me before bed and do the same routine.
another suggestion as routine is keep a few lights on timers in the home. when ur away the lights go on and off. I have my living room light on set so when its dusk they go on and go off at 10 and then the master bed room light goes on and holds out at midnight when we are away. sliding glass doors are some of the easiest doors to open, try an extra bar at the base to jam it in case they do get the latch undone.
GET ME STEAMY! Have you ever cleaned up after an Alpaca? I have. It….was……………………AWESOME! Hilarious commercial. Anyway, I guess one of the biggest messes I’ve cleaned up is when I was making homemade detergent and I added OxyClean to a boiling pot of water and it bubbled up and over my entire kitchen floor. Believe it or not, it’s not easy to clean up soap and water!
Last year my husband and I were victims of a home invasion and I pray to God no one ever has to experience what we went through! 🙁
I think home safety now not about protecting “STUFF” but about protecting people. We were not physically hurt by the intruders (I thank God every day for this! I can’t even describe…) but still the mental and emotional damage has been great.. People always think of their expensive stuff being stolen but you just don’t realize how much it can affect your sense of security and safety and your whole life, and THAT is why you want to take the necessary precautions. I say take anything -or everything- of mine that you want but never threaten the safety and well being of my loved ones!
That being said, the best advice I can give is make sure all your windows are closed and LOCKED at night – first and second floor – especially in a room with kids. We had these 2 guys break in a second floor window that was closed, but not locked. Although I think this is EXTREMELY rare, we lived in a nice, gated, well lit area with tons of neighbors, and so if it could happen to us it could happen to anyone, anwhere!
Crime happens in all neighborhoods.
I don’t get the steamy replies either. The post is not bad. It doesn’t hurt to think about home safety.
The get me steamy stuff is the entry into a giveaway – people just commented it on the wrong post. As for my spelling – it is horible…its’ gonna grow onya 🙂
xo – kb
p.s. this comment is terrible. If you feel the need to tell me whenever anything doesn’t strikes your fancy, you either live in a bad mood or you need better things to think about. just sayin….
We have one and did take a safety class. We learned about the class at the local shooting range…our instructor really encouraged regular practice too…so that’s important. The most important thing to us was keeping the gun safe from Will and others…so look into a good gun safe that will be stored in a private area (and make sure that it’s never a ‘show-off’ type thing…)
hope this helps!
xo – kb