Yesterday we had a visit from a town police officer. No. don’t worry, he wasn’t there to arrest us. He came as part of a community service program designed to help us make our home more secure from burglars and other uninvited persons.
This came about as a result of a neighborhood-wide car invasion recently. Several cars were broken into (some were unlocked) and two neighbors had damage to a window and a doorknob, but no home invasion occurred. However, several items were stolen from the cars, and some of the cars were damaged.
One of our neighbors, who had been victimized like this before, notified the police and set up a community meet with the police officers, who told us about their free program to come into our home and show where things could easily be changed to make it harder for such crimes to be committed.
We live in a town where there is not a lot of crime, but this incident shook us out of our complacency, and taught us that we needed to be aware of the fact that these crimes can be committed anywhere.
We began outside, examined our landscaping, and looked inside at doors and windows, talked about things to do when we are away on vacation, and discussed making a family plan should a home invasion take place. We learned that simple things like removing tree limbs, keeping bushes trimmed to below window level, adding deadbolts and motion detectors, and ways to reinforce windows and doors are all inexpensive ways to make our home more secure.
We realized that we’ve never really looked closely at home security when we bought our homes, aside from having a security system installed, which we do have. But simple additions and practices can help to augment the electronic alarms, and the harder we make it for intruders to get in, the more secure we will feel.
Which brings me to the title of my post. If you are like me, and you see a solicitor roaming the neighborhood, you stay out of sight as they ring the doorbell and move on. Not a good plan, Officer Jeremy informed us. Potential intruders will often ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home. If they do not get a response to the doorbell, they will likely try to get in, assuming no one is home. So what should we do? Answer it, don’t open it. Just shout through the closed and locked door that we are not interested and invite them to leave our premises post haste. If they do not respond immediately, we can call a number the officer gave us. If they rattle the door or threaten us, we call 911 and initiate our family plan. Officer Jeremy assured us that if we have to call 911, they will stay on the phone with us until they arrive.
So we are in the process of being proactive and making our home more secure. This is a wonderful community program, and I urge you to contact your town police and see if such a program is available to you. If not, suggest they look into one. It helps them in their job. Having citizens living in more secure houses, and who are more aware and alert as to what is happening around their neighborhood, gives them aid in apprehending the intruders.
I hope this blog encourages everyone to stay aware and alert and be sure their house is as secure as they can make it. If your car is outside, do not leave valuables in it, and be sure to lock it. And pass the word: answer it, don’t open it!