Weekly in the Daily Commercial, there are reports of crimes against homeowners. It seems the criminals and drug addicts are seeking softer targets to get their next score. Seniors seem to be the most vulnerable, as slowing minds, loneliness and being too trustworthy while living alone literally opens the door to crime.
These criminals have learned that technology and security measures at many businesses may bring them a long jail time. Those risks are reduced dramatically in a senior community filled with widows and widowers.
Families should assess their security, especially seniors living by themselves. First and foremost, if a senior has lost significant competency and has become vulnerable to the outside world, don’t let them live alone. Those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease should be protected, and you probably cannot let them make their own decisions when it comes to securing their home.
Here are low-cost items you should review around the home to improve security:
- If you have an exterior door with a glass insert or glass side-light, be sure the door has a double-cylinder deadbolt installed. Neal Purlee, the owner of Dixie Safe & Lock Services just told me there has been a rash of break-ins by knocking the glass out of the door and unlocking the thumb-latch lock.
- Cut the shrubs around doors and windows. Plus, don’t leave break-in tools around the yard. Leaving ladders, tools, and other lawn equipment outside your home are great aids for criminals trying to get into your home. At least make them bring their own tools for their break-in attempt.
- For around a $100 investment, install a solid core bedroom door and strong lock for your primary bedroom. A properly installed solid core door with a real lock can keep most criminals away from your loved one for three to five minutes. This could be the difference in the police arriving or not. Work to make your primary room a safe room with a strong door, weapons to defend yourself, and access to a mobile phone.
- A 16-D nail placed through a properly drilled hole at the top of your sliding glass door is the best method to keep criminals from prying or lifting open your sliding glass doors. Be sure to get someone competent to drill the hole, because a mistake could lead to broken glass. If you don’t like seeing a plain nail, the big box-stores sell these types of patio doors.
- Let there be light. Criminals and drug addicts are like rodents — they wander in the darkness. LED light technology has made outside and inside emergency lights very affordable to buy and operate. Light up the outside of your home at night and keep vulnerable entry points well lit.
- Inexpensive door bell cameras or peep holes do work. You should never open a door without fully knowing who is on the other side. New smartphone technology can provide you with a perfect view of the person on the other side of the door.
The softer or more vulnerable the target, the more chance you or your loved one will become a victim of crime. Taking basic security actions around your home does work.
Security around your home should always focus on you and your family, not stuff. In many cases, seniors become so wrapped up in protecting their treasures they forget themselves. Never put any item in your home above your personal security.
Finally, don’t tell people — even friends — about the valuables you have in your home. If a local criminal were to find out that you had a $5,000 necklace from your late husband in your home, the temptation would be too great for most of them. Plus, if you are taking pain medication and the local drug addict finds out, you can also expect a visit from them. In today’s world, don’t tell everything and don’t post it all on social media.
If you want to be safe around the house, adopt some simple steps and don’t talk too much.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply Inc. He is also the host of the Around the House radio show heard every Monday at noon on My790AM WLBE in Leesburg.