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Home Safety Tips

 

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My family lives in a teeny, tiny condo. We all dream of owning a house some day. Having a house can afford us so many things we can’t have in a condo, like a yard and the ability to do whatever we want to the outside. As per our condo board the condos all have to look “uniform” which means we can’t install different windows or stain our balcony a different color. We are not even allowed to plant things in the yard. Sigh…

There are other downsides too, like being dependent on others to do the right thing and NOT burn the building down. We’ve had three buildings burn down in the past 30+ years. The most recent burned down because some idiot put a lit cigarette out in a flower pot with a dried up plant.

I do consider living in a condo to have one perk – it might be a wee bit safer living here than in a house as far as burglaries are concerned. We live in the top floor condo. I would be next to impossible for someone to crawl into one of our windows or on to our balcony. Not only that our condo faces the rest of the complex. Someone would see them for sure. There are 400 condos and 300 townhomes where we live. People are always on the move here, coming and going. Most likely someone would see someone shimmying up the side of building, not to mention the people who live below us.

It’s unlikely that there would be a break-in from our balcony, but not impossible. Years ago we locked ourselves out and my husband had to crawl up to our balcony to get inside. At that time our sliding glass door lock was broken so he was able to get in. It wasn’t an easy thing to accomplish and it required him to borrow a ladder and put it on our downstairs neighbor’s balcony. He also really bruised his leg getting over our railings.

Sometimes workers (landscaper) go up on the roof to blow the leaves down and clean out the gutters. It would be easy for one of them to jump down on our balcony and come inside. That makes me nervous.

As far as our door in concerned we only have one door in and out of our condo. We have a dead bolt on it but these days even those can be hacked into. I’d like to think someone wouldn’t be so stupid to break into a condo with three other units on the same floor.

Break-ins have happened where we live. They have almost always been people who live on the bottom floors. Burglars break-in through one of the windows.

Even though we might be somewhat safe where we live, I still like to do all I can to prevent and/or encourage people to attempt to break-in.

Here are a few of my favorite safety tips.

Home Security

1. If you can afford it install a home security system.

2. Get a dog. A dog doesn’t always guarantee your home won’t get broken into (a friend of mine’s house was burglarized and she had two dogs at the time) but it might inhibit some would be burglars. Also, watch out for doggie doors. Some people can fit through the large doors.

3. Do not ”advertise” about your high tech equipment or expensive jewelry on social media, or even to your neighbors. If people know you have a $10,000 diamond ring from your late grandmother or you just purchase two new laptops, you are tempting people with a run down of your valuable goodies. Keep this information to yourself.

4. Keep your car keys by your bed. We don’t use this one but I think it’s a brilliant idea. If you have an alarm on your car and you suspect someone might be trying to break into your home, press the alarm button for your car. The alarm should scare them off.

5. Plant shrubs and bushes around bottom floor windows. They do that to a lot of the buildings where we live. My parents used to do this as well. They should keep criminals away from bottom floor windows, especially if you plant something with thorns (like a rose bush). The trick is not to let them shrub/bush get too high where someone could hide behind it. Keep it cut low.

6. Don’t mention it on Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets that you are going away for a few days (unless of course someone will be home the entire time). That is only telling the bad guys that you won’t be home and they are free to come and rob your home.

7. Get timers for your interior lights so your home doesn’t look dark at night and to give the appearance that someone is still home. Have the lights set to go on/off at random times and locations. You can even set a radio on a timer and have it play music (not too loud) to also make it seem like the house is not empty.

8. Ask a trusted neighbor or relative to swing by your home daily to collect the mail and newspaper and check to make sure all doors and windows are secure.

9. Do not leave notes on your door to instruct delivery men what to do with packages in your absence. They are a dead giveaway that you are not at home.

10. For added security get a Master Lock Door Security Bar for your sliding glass doors or as extra protection if your home is being invaded while you are at home. The bar helps to resists a forced entry through sliding patio doors or even a standard door.

Safety Bar on Sliding Door

We have one of these bars that I was sent to review. It’s a long metal bar that can be adjusted to fit any sliding patio door. Once in place the door cannot be opened. It’s made with a sturdy 20 gauge steel construction.

My mother in law used to use a small piece of wood to present her sliding doors from opening. Wood can be worn down or splinter when under a lot of pressure. You can’t do that to gauge steel. Not unless you are Superman.

What I like about this bar is that is has a special piece you can take off or put on the end that turns it into a security bar for a door (for example your front door). The removable pieces rests against the door knob and the other end (with a piece hat pivots) goes on the floor making entry into the room difficult. The pivoting “foot” is also padded to add more grip to the floor and less sliding.

My kids know how the security bar works and where we keep it. In the event someone tries to break in they are instructed to go into their room and put the bar up against the door and call for help. Their bedroom door doesn’t lock (we are going to replace their knobs soon so they have a locking one), so the bar will afford them some security until help arrives.

Security Bar

The Master Lock Door Security Bar sells for just over $25. It’s a very small price to pay for safety, security and peace of mind.

We also have a Hanging Key Box, also made by Master Lock. This isn’t so much to keep intruders out as it is to help us (my family) get inside should we lock ourselves out.

Now that my kids are teenagers we are able to let them walk home from school or be home alone for a while. My worst fear is that they will lock themselves out (it has happened before). They each have a key but they don’t think to take it out with them when they walk the dog or go to the gym.

Key Box

The Master Lock Hanging Key Box is a lock that goes over your door knob. It has a box attached to it. Inside you can put a spare keys to your door or home. The only way into the box is with a special combination that you set yourself (so it would be easy to remember).

Not only is this a fantastic product to have in case you lock yourself out, it’s also great if you have trusted people come to your home to care for your pets or plants. Instead of making up multiple spare keys you can keep the keys in the box for all the entrusted people to use. It’s also great if you are at work and you need a neighbor to run to your house to get something or do something for you.

The Mater Lock Hanging Key Box sells for around $40. Both products would be a great asset to any home.

For more information about these or other Master Lock products visit www.MasterLock.com. They can also be found on the various social media outlets.

Do you have any safety tips you would like to share? What do you think about the two products I mentioned from Master Lock?

KeySafes

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.