You start out the new year with the best of intentions, but even your intentions couldn’t predict just how busy your life would become. You can’t plan for the twelve text messages you receive as you try to go around your home and lock up, or for the fact that your children can distract you with questions about when dinner will be ready and whether or not their friend can come over as you try to install motion sensor lights. Keeping good security habits can be tough, but the damage that can happen if you don’t can be immeasurably tougher.
With that in mind, we’ve outlined a few New Year’s Resolutions that should be your top priority when it comes to home security, and, as the year goes on, you can slowly check each one off and feel a little more confident in the well being of your home and your family.
1. Change Your Passwords
If your passwords to all of your social media platforms, email accounts, online banking apps and more are all the same, you’re in for some trouble. This makes it easy for you to remember them, but it also makes it easy for burglars to guess them. If a hacker can figure out one of your passwords, he has access to your entire life. Go through your most valuable accounts and set different, complex passwords. Write these down for yourself somewhere and hide that document.
2. Never Leave a Key Outdoors
Even if your house sitter arrives just 10 minutes after you leave the house, do not leave a house key under a rock or doormat for him/her. A burglar doesn’t need more than three minutes to break into your home and grab plenty of valuables. Plus, you never know when something like traffic might hold your house sitter up, leaving your home vulnerable longer than you’d planned.
3. Don’t Give Out Your Address
Everywhere you go, there are promotional deals happening, membership cards to sign up for, petitions to sign and newsletters to get on the mailing list for. But start thinking critically about who you want to have your home address, and whether or not a person or organization needs your home address at all. If you are signing a petition or some document that, for research purposes, needs to know what town you live in, then you can simply write down your zip code—not your entire address. And as for membership cards to places like grocery stores and pharmacies, they don’t need your home address—provide your work one for those.
4. Change Your Fire and Smoke Alarm Batteries
There will always be an excuse to not replace your fire and smoke alarm batteries right away if you let there be one. When you hear that beeping start, tell yourself, “There’s no time like the present” and change the batteries then and there. If you don’t, you’ll only get used to the beeping, and put off the task even more.
5. Always Activate Your Home Security System
Even if you’re only running up the street to the post office or taking your dog for a quick stroll around the neighborhood, activate your security system. A long line at the post office may hold you up, or a conversation with a neighbor on your walk. A burglar doesn’t need much time to get into your home. And it really only takes seconds to arm your security system.
6. Fix Broken Locks Immediately
When you notice that the latch lock on a window or the dead bolt on a door has become finicky, don’t wait to replace it. While fixing these items can cost a little money and take some time, it’s well worth it when you consider that a burglar will check every window and door when trying to enter your home. If you’ve got a broken lock, a burglar can and will find it.
7. Don’t Instantly Answer the Door
Answering the door the moment somebody knocks is a reflex, but you never now who is on the other side. If it’s just a friend or family member, they won’t be insulted that you took a moment to look through the peep hole to confirm it was safe to open the door. Also keep in mind that you are not obligated to open the door for anybody. People claiming to be dropping off pamphlets can just leave them on the porch.
8. It’s Better To Be Safe Than Polite
If someone you don’t know offers to help you carry groceries from your car to your front door, or offers to hold your front door open for you when they see your arms are full, feel free to decline the offer. People often put themselves at risk for fear of seeming rude. But if it turned out this person really was a burglar trying to get into your home, you wouldn’t feel you owed them any courtesies!
9. Keep Your Garage and All Gates Closed
Even if you’ll be home all day, and opening and closing the garage is a pain, keep it shut. Unless you plan on staring straight at your garage all day long, leaving it open can easily welcome burglars to steal things you store out there—including your car. Same goes for your gates!
10. Confirm Professionals Who Come to Your Home
If you hire a plumber or handyman to come to your home, when they arrive, ask them to wait outside for one moment. Call the company that sent them and confirm that this is the individual they sent. Burglars can easily pose as plumbers if they knew you were expecting one.
11. Lock Up Before Showering or Playing Loud Music
If you’re going to do something that will make it difficult to hear what’s going on around your home, then lock up. If nobody else is home to monitor the property when you take a shower, lock up and activate your alarms.
While fitness and financial resolutions are certainly admirable, security resolutions can save your life and protect thousands of dollars of irreplaceable property. Don’t wait and get started on them today.