As a single mom, you not only have to watch out for your kids but also for yourself and your home protection. While it can be invigorating and self-esteem boosting to manage a household on your own, there are downfalls to being “home alone.” One of those is feeling unsafe. To increase security and reduce the risk of home invasion, do the following to protect what’s yours:
- Your neighbors. Not only will you potentially make friends and start an unorganized neighborhood watch, but you can get an idea of neighborhood patterns. You’ll know who lives nearby and who is a stranger. Encourage your children to do the same.
- Key control. Only give a key to a trusted family member or friend. Be careful not to hand out keys to maintenance workers, cleaning crews or too many friends.
- Social media sharing. Even if, your settings are private, don’t broadcast upcoming trips and specific details about you being alone or leaving your house empty. Hold your children to the same mandate. Unfortunately, many crimes are committed by people the victim knew. According to 2010 FBI statistics, females knew their offenders in almost 70 percent of violent crimes committed against them.
- Stay up-to-date on crime trends. Read the news and call the police department to learn about common crimes and hoaxes to be aware of in your city. Next time a solicitor knocks on your door, be aware that he or she could be there to scope out your valuables.
- Close blinds & curtains. Don’t give burglars the opportunity to peak in and see expensive electronics or jewelry. But even if you don’t have many valuables, be aware of peeping Toms and close the curtains.
While You’re Away
- Set the alarm. Get in the habit, and teach your kids how to use it. While you’re away, check on your home. Some LifeShield home security systems allow you wireless access to cameras and provide mobile arming and disarming abilities.
- Has someone checked in on your home? Ask a friend to gather your mail or packages left on your doorstep. If you let your neighbor park in your drive way, he or she will know to keep special watch over your belongings.
- Make it seem like you aren’t away. Set timers for radios, TVs and lights to switch on to create the illusion that someone is home.
- Call 911. Don’t risk it if a door is cracked or window screen is slit. If you feel unsettled, leave and call the police.
- Have a check-in buddy. Whether it’s your parents, a friend or a co-worker, have someone you regularly check-in with. Establish routine times to talk, and that if you miss check-in that the person should call for help or come by to check on you.
- Take precautionary measures. Even if, you don’t have a pet, post a “Beware of Dog” sign on your fence and keep a water bowl on your front porch to give the illusion that you do. Consider a personal protection weapon, such as a gun or pepper spray, and learn self-defense mechanisms. Consider enrolling your children in community awareness classes, as well.
- A safe room. Assign one room in your home as a safe room. Keep safety tools — such as a phone and personal weapon — in this room. This room should have locks and be a place of refuge for you and your children in case of an emergency.