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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Home and Family Safety Tips for Single Moms

This message is in collaboration with tips from
 FAMILY WATCH DOG

It's been a few years since I've worked as a Dispatcher for the police department.  But, I must say that working in that position taught me an awful lot about how not to take life or people for granted.  I learned to pay attention to my surroundings, passersby and I also realized just how lonely people are.

     After becoming a victim of violence (domestic), within my own home I NEVER again thought about what was not possible.  Although this event was so devastating it also taught me and  my children that not everyone has your best interest at heart.  When people, especially children experience any sort of trauma the event moves you to a different place by the way you deal with folk and it's not necessarily a bad thing.  I believe you develop a keener sense of awareness; that 6th brain kicks in when something doesn't seem right.  It's unfortunate that we need to have these discussions but they are real!  Do not raise your children to be naive and to think we live in a flowery existence of "Love" like those of the 60's.  Single moms & kids living in single parent homes.. take heed to this  and remember "Knowledge is power!"

Family Watch Dog - "Did you know that more than 8,000 home invasions happen every day in the US? Have you ever thought what you would do if ever put in that situation? That is why Home Invasion is our safety topic to touchdown this month."   I will add tips from TMBH. 

1)  Install a peephole  - Use this to look through and check before opening the door anytime.  TMBH - If your kids are home alone (age appropriate), tell them not to open the door to anyone, however find an unnoticeable place to get a good look at who it is, especially as they walk away.  My kids would always call me while the person was leaving to give me a good description.  We can't be too careful even when people are in uniforms, appearing as police, fire and security.  Even then instruct your children to call the police and say, "There is someone in a uniform knocking at my door and I'm home alone.  I am scared.  Should they be here?" 

TMBH - Adults if comfortable can respond through the door without opening it.  For example, to a solicitor, "I'm not interested".  Often people case neighborhoods at various times to see when families are at home and it can be good if they hear a voice.   Install a security screen door if possible an extra layer of security never hurts.

2)  Keep your house/garage well lit at night (motion lights) to discourage robbers.  TMBH  - Make sure to check light bulbs and purchase timers if possible just in case you arrive home after dark. 

3)  Make sure window locks and door locks all work properly. TMBH - Try to break into your own home.  When I was a teenager I always entered our house if no one was home.  Yes, through a closed, locked window with a stick in the track to keep it from sliding.  Yea right I figured how to maneuver.  If you can a robber can easier and faster than you.  Occasionally walk around to check for items that can give an intruder access.

Invite local police department to come and do a walk through with you, advising you how to better protect your home.  They gave me a cheap technique to drill small holes in the metal and put nails in the holes to keep windows from sliding. 

4)  Always double check your trash. If you just purchased something expensive, like a new TV, make sure the box is disposed of so people do not know of the new goods.  TMBH - Don't ride around in your car with an expensive item on display.  Put it in the trunk or cover it and if you park outside on the street in an unsafe neighborhood bring it in at night. 


5)  Install a home alarm system, or door and window chimes. Dogs work well as home security as well.  TMBH - Video cameras work well too and are very popular today! Inside and outside and the prices are going down.  Here in San Diego county MICRO PC OUTLET is a good place to start.  For a small fee ask if they can come out and assess your place and help you with installation. 

6) Make a "safe room" - maybe a large closet where everyone can fit. Keep a weapon and cell phone in there at all times, just in case. You can have a cell phone with no service that makes emergency calls only. Make sure the cell phone is charged and off so you never have to worry about it being dead.  TMBH- Have a code word or phrase for you and your children to use even in someones presence and discuss often as a reminder of what needs to happen.  

7) Record the serial numbers of all important items. Use a backup for your computer via the Internet. Mark your drivers license number on items for help returning in case it is stolen. This might deter the thief first as well. 

8)  Keep baseball bats for protection around the house (and in your vehicle). Another one of our favorites at Family Watchdog is keeping wasp spray around. Sprays farther than mase and hurts an intruder just as much.  TMBH - Law enforcement taught me to always know what you will do just in case.  Go over it in your head or act it out with your family so it will be instinct.

9)  Make sure to do a yearly talk with your family, just so everyone has a game plan and assignment. Talk to elderly family and make sure they have a game plan as well. People over the age of 60 make up 17 percent of victims.  TMBH - Well I say much more than yearly..even when them darn teens say, "Again.. I know I know"  "Um it will be that attitude that will catch you off guard"

Use the trusting male relatives & friends in your life to come around, spend the night, hang out, especially when things start to get a little uncomfortable.  But be careful not to get them involved in anything that will jeopardize them going to jail. 

10) TMBH  - If possible build camaraderie with your neighbors if possible.  I enjoy living by nosy neighbors, especially elderly ones.  If I am not doing anything wrong you can stare all day long.  It's good that someone knows your habits and when something looks suspicious.

I know we don't like to talk about these things but this is real life and TMBH is always about prevention not only when raising our children to be productive successful citizens but also in safety.  Let's try to stay safe! Keep your eyes and ears open.. never take anything for granted. Trust in God!

HELP others and share your safety tips below in comments section