“Kids, you remember that we NEVER answer the door for anyone, right?”
“Why not Mommy?”
“Because we don’t know who it is, and it doesn’t matter WHO it is, we never answer unless we tell you it’s ok.”
As I said the answer, something stirred in me on this particular day. I assumed it was because we hadn’t had the conversation in awhile, and I felt it was apropos to address this since I was going to be busy (aka distracted) for a few minutes with a task at hand.
No matter how many times I may tell them to not answer the front door, the tiny window directly next to the door entices my kids, and they will automatically run to the door and look.
No. Matter. What. I. Say.
No sooner was I in the midst of said distraction when I heard a very loud helicopter overhead. I assumed it was close by due to an accident on the freeway. However as soon as I was able to actually hear the helicopter loudspeaker, they were advising residents in my local community to remain inside and be vigilant about looking for a possible armed suspect matching a certain description.
Oh great. Clearly, I had perfect timing to be distracted that day.
This helicopter and neighborhood search for a suspect in a burglary lasted for several hours. While one suspect was captured, one still remained at large. I felt pretty vulnerable knowing that the suspect was still out there and quite possibly roaming my actual street.
Thankfully social media played a huge role in connecting us with our neighbors and testimonies started pouring out of possible sightings, near misses (aka a direct confrontation with the suspect), and up-to-date information about the situation.
The search was eventually scaled back but the police rushed back later in the evening when someone reported a suspicious person wandering around a local parking lot. Thankfully this time when the suspect ran he did not get away and the police arrested him.
My community was safe once more.
However a few months prior to this incident one of my dear friends actually helped the police capture another suspect in our neighborhood who was hiding near her house and she could actually see him as he lay in wait to make his next move.
As parents, we bought our home on the premise that our neighborhood was safe, we have great schools and the community is tight-knit. While all of this is still true, there has been a couple of incidents that have me re-thinking exactly how to handle securing our home.
So what can we do to protect ourselves?
Here are some guidelines to follow in protecting you and your children when you are home, and some for when you’re gone from your home:
- Always keep your doors and windows locked
- Make sure there are TWO locking components for each window or door
- Confirm that the windows and doors have anti-lift protection
- Place a wooden or metal peg in window and door tracks
- Keep your porch lights on from dusk until dawn
- Use timers on internal lights and alternate them often (if you can, even on vacation)
- Remove large trees and shrubs near windows and doors — anything that might hide suspicious activity
- Never leave a hidden house key under a doormat, in a flowerpot or a fake rock
- Never open the door for someone you don’t know!
- Including from delivery companies or even Realtors® – (as a Realtor®, I will always respect your un-answered door if I’m dropping off flyers and so should other agents)
- Never leave a purse, wallet, keys or other valuables in plain sight
- Consider keeping pepper spray on hand or other forms of self-defense that are legal in your area
- Consider installing a video camera doorbell or installing security cameras around the property
- Motion sensor lights for movement outside the property
- Join or start a neighborhood watch group
- Local police have risk assessment services, or home risk inspection services that are available if you’d like a complete evaluation
Thankfully our kids never had to answer the door that day, and based on the hustle and bustle of the incident, they are now fully aware of why they shouldn’t answer the door without an adult. We’ve also already taken action in our family to implement these safety strategies for our home.