Safety and security are paramount goals to any household, but a lack of knowledge or understanding of potential dangers can lead to glaring holes in your efforts. We've assembled a laundry list of precautions to take and threats to be aware of, so that you can keep your family safe at all times.
Helping protect your family begins where you spend the majority of your time: the home
. It's easy to feel that a bucolic neighborhood and friendly community mean safety, but socioeconomic conditions and nearby residents change. It may be a hard reality to face, but preparing your home is the best way to help protect against all potentialities, both known and unknown.
Windows and Doors
Whether you're home when it happens or not, home invasion is a real danger that can take as little as minutes to devastate your financial situation and peace of mind.
Begin with the structure of your home. Help cut intruders off before they get a chance to profit from your life by purchasing and maintaining sturdy exterior doors with deadbolt locks. Regularly test these locks by inserting the key and turning them. If the action is smooth, then your locks are in good working order. But if the key catches, a replacement may be necessary. A faulty or failing mechanism is likely to let you down when enough force is applied.
Since burglars recognize that homeowners focus on doors first, be sure to cover all your bases by purchasing sturdy, locking windows. Windows of solid construction are far less likely to yield, even if intruders manage to break the glass. In addition, the delay caused by secure portals may be enough time to alert your neighbors to the suspicious activity, dissuading the invasion attempt entirely.
Once your home is locked down, tend to your landscaping with security in mind. High-hedges and shady trees are a beautiful luxury in the daytime, but at night they can be used to provide cover for approaching criminals. Maintain reasonable hedge-heights and identify areas of concealment. Eliminate these options and your security can benefit.
But pruning isn't enough. The key to helping to secure your property lies in revealing any unwelcome guests or activities. Install security lights, preferably motion activated models, which illuminate the dark corners of your yard. Most won't activate should a squirrel or rabbit pass beneath them, but large movements like those exhibited by a human, will reveal the intruder and could make them think twice about entering your home.
Your safety and security is nothing without the perception of safety and security. For this reason, even the threat of intrusion can compromise your confidence and introduce fear to a safe environment. With so much at stake, taking all precautions that could help ensure peace of mind is a no-brainer.
With a well-manicured lawn and locking windows, a home security system
is the perfect way to help create a barrier to criminal activity. Even if you're out of town and a particularly determined criminal manages to circumvent your best efforts, a security system can instantly alert you to the activity as it occurs and even alert the security company to contact the proper authorities. Doing your best to ensure your family's safety is imperative, but there's no shame in enlisting some powerful help in the matter.
Once you leave your home, the challenges compound. With no singular structure to call "home" and little besides proximity to assure you of your family's safety, taking the necessary precautions to help ensure all goes well is a great way to make every journey outside your domicile more enjoyable.
Fortunately, we live in an age where ubiquitous communications are a reality. Establish practices like regular check-ins that give your family the freedom to live, but require the accountability needed to stay safe.
For those particularly concerned about their children's whereabouts, a number of mobile solutions that can provide assistance. Sygic, Mama Bear, and MobileKids all allow for easy check-ins and, if necessary, GPS tracking. You can even set "danger zones", which provides the protection of GPS without the intense scrutiny that comes with it. Each one even has an SOS button in case a family member ends up in an emergency. The suite of solutions can help make sure that your most precious asset remains protected.
In strange places, the same check-in rules apply, but the level of scrutiny should be increased. Research your destination and be aware of trends in criminal activity, crime levels, and areas considered unsafe for tourists. In a strange environment, knowledge is power, so come armed with all the information you need to avoid disquieting scenarios.
As anyone with an email account knows, security will never again be limited to the physical world. The digital world presents just as many dangers that can have real world consequences. However, practicing prudent safety procedures and enlisting the help of monitoring agencies can help lock down your identity and alert you to potential dangers.
Until fingerprint scanners become the norm, the insecure password remains king. Unfortunately, text and number based codes are inherently crack-able, leaving your valuable information susceptible to theft and exploitation.
But there is a defense: use long, grammatically incorrect phrases with a seemingly nonsensical combination of numbers and letters. For example, instead of "billysmom08", try "b1llyM0m#08!". The lack of coherent pattern in the second password makes it harder to crack by automation, and impossible to crack by guessing. If you want the ultimate solution, consider LastPass
, which uses a master password, not stored on their servers, to encrypt your existing passwords, and a password generation engine that creates watertight codes.
A brush with identity theft can ruin your family member's credit for life, even before they've had the chance to establish a credit record of their own. Credit monitoring services can keep track of transaction history, new accounts, and cards opened in the subject's name and alert you to the issue. Many banks even offer these services in-house, making the institution you transact with a valuable ally in your family's protection.
For the concerned protector, however, credit isn't enough. An unsavory rumor or misuse of identification by unscrupulous characters can disparage your family member's online reputation. This can lead to denial of job opportunities, issues when applying for schools, and an indelible impression that your loved one is an unwelcome addition to an environment. Reputation monitoring looks at social networks and every other place that your child or loved one has an account and reports potentially damaging activity, both inbound and outbound. Armed with this kind of awareness, you can help make sure that your family is keeping both its financial and personal house in order.
As the world evolves, so too will the security requirements of concerned households. What we've compiled here is an excellent game plan for helping to ensure the integrity of your communal property, experience, and reputation. While some of these measures require additional effort on your part, the phrase "better to be safe than sorry" has never been more relevant, nor more accurate, than right now.