Many families today tend to have a false sense of security. They seem to think that their so called “great neighborhoods” are immune to crime solely because they are considered some of the safest cities in America. I live in one of those cities and I know all too well that crime happens everywhere, regardless of your zip code. For that reason, families need to take a proactive approach to keep their loved ones safe. Below are 10 tips to keep your family safe at home.


Lock everything

Whether you are home, or not, make it a habit to keep all of your doors and windows locked. It is okay to leave a window or two open for air but avoid leaving windows open all throughout the house for extended periods of time. If the house is quiet and there aren’t any vehicles parked outside, a thief may think there’s no one home and will take this as an opportunity to let himself in. When you leave for the day, lock all windows and doors and check them to make sure they’re locked.


Park in the Driveway

If at all possible, try to always have a vehicle parked in the driveway. A thief will not know if this means someone is home or not but he is more likely to move onto the next house where there is an empty driveway.


Get Timers

Use light timers to have lights turn on and off throughout the day while you’re away. This will give the appearance that there are people home at different times even when the home is empty.


Get an Alarm or Pretend To

If you do not have a burglar alarm, pretend you do with a yard sign. Burglar alarms cost upwards of $40 per month for monitoring so it may be expensive. A yard sign for an alarm company will cost about $10 on eBay and will provide just about the same protection. A criminal will see it on the lawn and likely move onto the next house that does not appear to be protected.


Have a Plan: Get a Family Locator

In the case of an emergency, make sure your family members know what to do. It’s important to always be prepared. All family members should know all of the possible escape routes should there be an intruder or a natural disaster. They should also all know how to dial 9-1-1 and have numbers to other family members either written down or programmed on a cell phone. Another way to enhance your family’s safety plan would be to subscribe to a family locator service such as LociLoci. If your family members become separated or are not all home during an emergent situation, you’ll be able to know where they are by simply checking your phone or checking the website from any computer.


Get in on Video

Similar to burglar alarms, video surveillance cameras provide extra protection against criminals entering your home. They not only catch crimes in your home but they can also catch crimes within view of the cameras that can take place next door or across the street at a neighbor’s residence. If surveillance cameras are too costly for your budget, buy mock cameras to install on the exterior. A thief won’t know if they’re real or not and most will not take a chance.


Go to the Post Office

If you have to send out bills or other mail with personal information on it, take it to the post office and deliver it from there. Mail boxes that do not have locks are gold mines for criminals looking for information on your household and your financial institutions.


Install carbon monoxide detectors

Most homes have plenty of fire alarms but carbon monoxide detectors are much less common. They can save your family’s life should there be a carbon monoxide leak in a heater, store, gas fireplace or anywhere else in the home. Carbon monoxide cannot be detected by scent until it is lethal and too late.


Child Proof

Many parents say that there is no need to child proof because their child doesn’t open cabinets or doors. Well, while this may be true, it often changes. Children explore new things every day and, while your little ones may not be trying to escape out the front door or search through your medicine cabinets today, they may tomorrow. Put childproof doorknobs on all doors leading to the exterior and put child proof locks on any cabinets or drawers that contain materials that will be hazardous if ingested.


Keep it Simple Outside

If you tend to have plenty of plants, bushes or shrubbery in general around your doorway, try to clear it up. The doorway to your home should be well lit and visible to the street. If it is not, it gives a criminal the perfect opportunity to enter your residence without being seen by neighbors. It is also possible that a criminal may hide until someone comes to the door and take this as an opportunity to make entry.

It is never too late to start taking steps to make your home a safer one. You never know when someone will try to violate your family’s rights and you do not want to gamble with that.