safe-homeWe all want to feel safe at home. Living in rural Maine, we sometimes become complacent about safety. A few precautions can go a long way to ensure our sense of security.

I often hear seniors say, “Oh, I never lock my doors when I’m away from home.” That is clearly not the safest thing to do. I admit, I have done it myself on occasion, but always end up worrying while I’m away.

Here are some tips for safety, not only in the home but elsewhere as well

  • It getting darker earlier these days, so turn on the outside lights which illuminate your property. Another option: motion-activated sensor lights that can make it almost impossible for someone to approach your home unseen. And there is no worry about remembering to turn them on and off. The sensor part does it for you. These lights are typically not expensive and easy to install.
  • Trim the bushes away from windows and doors. These could be good hiding places for burglars.
  • Keep your curtains closed at night. It is surprising how many people are going about their business at home, in clear view of passers-by, with their draperies wide open.
  • Report to police all strangers who may be lurking in the area. They may be harmless, but better safe than sorry.
  • If you live alone, add dummy names to your mailbox.
  • Never announce on your answering machine that you are away. Just say that you and the “dummy name” on your mailbox can not come to the phone.
  • Install peepholes in all outside doors that don’t have a window.
  • If you have a garage door, keep it closed. An empty bay is a clear signal that you are not at home. And garage items might be tempting to a would-be intruder.
  • Keep all windows locked including basement windows. Sliding glass doors should be secured with something in the track, such as a stick, so the door can only be opened from the inside.
  • Never talk openly about what medications you take, especially in a crowded public place.
  • If you lose a house key, have the locks changed as a precaution.

Now safety tips for your car

  • Whether in or out of your car, keep the doors locked at all times.
  • Always check the floor and back seat of your car to make sure no one is hiding there.
  • It is tempting to stop and help someone who appears to be in trouble. Instead, use your cell phone to report the person’s location.
  • Be sure you always have enough gas to get where you are going and back again.
  • If you feel you are being followed, do not go home. Drive to the police station, or nearest busy restaurant or convenience store. If the person is persistent and still following you, don’t get out of the car. Instead blow the horn for attention.

While doing some of these things may make you feel a little paranoid, it sure beats the alternative.