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Your Personal Safety At Home
by John M. Roberts

You should be able to enjoy the comfort of your home and not have to worry about criminals breaking in and harming you and your family.

Burglaries happen and when they do, it is devastating. As a homeowner, it's not just your possessions that you have to worry about, it is your personal safety and the safety of your family that should take center stage at all times. A burglary in itself is a violent act against you and your family, although most burglars just want to get in and out without making physical contact with the homeowners.

For most burglars, the objective is to get in, steal valuables that they can sell or use themselves, and get out as quickly and quietly as they can. They try to break in when they are confident that no one is home. They watch for opportunities and when they think the coast is clear, they make their move.

The one thing most burglars don't want to happen is to enter a home and find someone there or get caught if the homeowner returns while they are in the home. In either scenario, most burglars will flee. But sometimes, a burglary can turn into a more ominous ordeal and things can turn violent very quickly if they are confronted.

There are a few things you can do to keep you and your family safe from burglars.

  • Install an alarm system. It can alert you to possible burglaries while you are at home and away. It can also alert you to fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and put you in direct contact with someone who can direct police or medical personnel to your home.
  • Get a dog. Dogs, even small ones, are a great deterrent to burglars.
  • Keep your doors and windows locked at all times, even if you go next door to visit a neighbor.
  • Do a sweep around your home on a regular basis and check all doors, windows, screens, and other possible entry points to make sure they are secure.
  • If you come home and see signs of a forced or unauthorized entry, don't go in. Go to a neighbors home and call the police immediately.
  • If an intruder does get in your home while you are there, do not confront him. Try to get out of your home and call the police. If you can't get out, lock yourself in a room, open a window, and yell for help.
  • If a stranger knocks on your door and asks to use your phone, don't let him in and never tell a stranger that you are home alone. If he says it's an emergency, tell him that you will dial 911 and the police will be there shortly, but keep the door locked and don't let him in.
  • Be careful of letting unknown women come into your home. This is especially true for men. Often, men will let their guards down for women. Remember, there are many women who are criminals, too. They will come to your home claiming to be in distress or they may claim to be selling something. They do this to get into your home to see what valuables you have. Be careful! This may be a setup.
  • If you own a gun, keep it in a safe place away from children and pets. Guns are not toys and they are very dangerous. Every year, thousands of people are seriously hurt or killed by accidental shootings and remember, criminals will break into your home to steal your guns if they think you have them.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers near your phone and in your wallet or purse.
  • Teach your children how to dial 911. They should be taught to dial it if there is an emergency and they should learn it as young as possible.

Home Invasion Robberies: This type of crime is different compared to your typical burglary. The purpose of a home invasion robbery is to gain entry into a home while the occupants are there. The intruders usually think, or know, that there are large sums of money, jewelry, or other valuables in the home. This type of robbery is often violent and may lead to serious injury or death to the homeowners.

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