Tag Archives: home security

unlocked-open-door

Don’t Go In There!

Self defense begins with making safe choices for yourself and those for whom you are responsible.  Sometimes habit or emotion gets in the way, but staying aware and alert can go a long way toward keeping you safe.

My good friend recently arrived home to find her front door standing open a bit. She knew she had closed and locked the door when she left for work, but there it was…open. She is a smart person with life experience and has taken at least one self defense class, but habit and emotion kicked in, and with a fit of righteous indignance, she walked in and began searching the house.

Fortunately, the intruders had left, taking some of her belongings with them.  What if they hadn’t?  Was she prepared to defend herself against a startled and possibly armed person who was breaking the law, escalating a burglary into a robbery or even an assault or rape?  By isolating herself inside the house, she potentially gave an intruder all the opportunity needed to commit further crimes against her, and took away her own escape route (get in the car and/or leave) and sources of assistance (neighbors).

Our homes are indeed our castles, and contain the majority of our possessions…but it’s still just “stuff,” and not worth losing your life.  By entering her home instead of calling the police, my friend unthinkingly exposed herself to serious risk.

Of course she felt angry; her home had been violated.  Of course she was incredulous; she had locked the door, but it was standing open.  Of course she felt safe; it was her home, where she has lived for over a decade.  It’s hard to process that a formerly safe place or situation can suddenly become anything but safe.  Being open to new information (my door is open, so someone could be inside), listening to your gut feeling and intuition, and finally, acting on that information will do more toward keeping you safe than anything else you could do.

No matter how good your intentions, if you zone out at the wrong moment or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be the target of an assault or other crime.  Be prepared mentally and physically to fight back, escape and call for help.  You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim.

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security-after-the-fact-is-not-security

Security After the Fact…Is Not Security!

You install a home security system to keep your home secure.  If you leave your door unlocked, your garage door open, leave a key under the doormat, sleep with windows open, or simply fail to arm the system, you have effectively undone any security there might have been.   If you open your door to a stranger…you have handed him your future.  As the adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Whenever a workman (plumber, etc.) is in my home, I always check all of my doors and windows to be sure they’re locked after he has left.  That way, I can be sure that he has not left himself an easy means of entry into my house. After hosting a party, I do the same thing.  I double check to be sure everyone has their coats and purses, the candles are extinguished, and all doors and windows are secure.

If someone’s date comes to the door saying, “I think Susie left her purse,” I won’t open the door for him. Why?  Because I owe him nothing.  I’ve already checked to be sure no items were left behind, and why isn’t Susie there asking me herself?  Treat suspicious situations as suspicious.  Listen to your intuition, your gut feeling.

Courtesy can get you – women especially – into trouble.  Simply opening the door of your home under the wrong circumstances can be a fatal mistake.  The UPS delivery man does not need to come into your home.  That teenager who says his car broke down nearby doesn’t need to use your phone…YOU can make a call for him.  And while your attention is on the person on your front porch, stay aware of your surroundings and be sure he doesn’t have friends on your back porch trying to get in.

Last week’s post about familiar strangers addresses this concern as well.  Here are two scenarios from my personal experience:

On a weeknight around 11:30 p.m., I heard a loud knock at the door.  I looked out and saw three men in their early 20s.  They were fanned out across my porch, with one in front and two flanking him.

“Our car broke down (insert vague gesture toward the highway here, as if I were going to look away from him), and I thought you might have a four-way tire iron,” said the guy in the middle.

“I don’t.  Would you like me to call someone for you?” I asked through the door, a .357 in my hand.  His hands were in his back pockets.  His friends looked at their feet, my yard…everywhere but at me.

“No, we just wanted a tire iron. Well, we have one, but not a four-way,” he said.

“I don’t have one, sorry,” I said.

“Come on, I’ll bet she has a gun,” said one of his cohorts.   They milled around on my porch for another minute or so.

I called the Highway Patrol, and an OHP Trooper showed up in under five minutes.  Funny thing…the guys already had moved their car. 

On a Saturday afternoon, I came to the door to find one of the tallest, most heavily muscled men I’ve ever seen, standing on my porch.  He had knocked, then stepped back about five feet, and was holding his ball cap in front of him with both hands.

I said hello through the door, and he responded, “Ma’am, my car ran out of gas right over there (he turned and pointed to a car parked on the shoulder of the road), and I wonder if you could call my wife for me to let her know I’m running late…?” I made the call for him, and told him he was welcome to wait in the shade on my porch for his wife to come.  She was there shortly with a gas can, and off they went.

Two similar, but very different scenarios.  One situation was obviously shady, the other, clearly legitimate.

If someone gains entry into your home, your office, or your car…defend yourself with any means necessary, escape as soon as you possibly can, and call the police immediately.  Don’t rationalize it away, and don’t worry about who is to blame.  Get help, and keep it from happening again!  But most of all, put your safety and security first, eliminating potential threats before they happen.