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Family Safety Tip: The words “home invasion” are very scary. The thought of someone forcing their way into your house while you are home to commit robbery or violent crimes can put you into a panic. Not only does a home invasion violate our personal private space, but it could be potentially dangerous to ourselves and our families. Unfortunately, home invasion crimes seem to be on the rise. There are no accurate statistics, since a home invasion will usually be reported as a robbery or residentially burglary. But there are more instances of this crime being reported in the media. So how can you prevent a home invasion, or in actuality, reduce your risk of one happening to your home and your family? You need to create a security plan that makes you and your home unattractive to anyone contemplating a home invasion in your neighborhood. Most home invasion robbers work at night and on weekends when they know you are likely to be home. They target the occupant of the home as well as the home itself and get a thrill at the violence and intimidation. You are more likely to be targeted for a home invasion if you are a woman or senior living alone, for example. They may even decide to follow you home. To avoid this possibility, be alert always when you are driving. If an unfamiliar car has been following you for a while, avoid going home. Instead, keep driving until either the car turns off or you get to a well-lit and popular public location where you can stay safe. While home invaders usually enter through the front door. Sometimes a home invader will kick open the door, but most of the time they will simply ring the bell and wait for you to simply open the door for them. The best way to prevent a home invasion from occurring is to set up a way of delaying the robber’s entry. Having a solid core front door, heavy duty locks, window locks and alarms, and other security measures may just give you the time that you need to call the police. Always use the peep hole or window to see exactly who is outside before you open the door. Turn on your porch light, if it is dark, and never open the door to a stranger or a solicitor. A chain lock across the door can usually be broken very easily by a home invader, so don’t rely on it! Remember that this is just a guide based on personal research. Always do your own research or contact your local police department for recommendations to stay safe.
Home Safety Tip for your Family: Just like a person, your home needs regular checkups to ensure that it is healthy, or at least safe for you and your family. Here are some things around your home that you should check in the spring. If you have an air conditioning system, have a professional air conditioning specialist (contractor) inspect your system. This specialist should also be able to clean and maintain your system. You don’t want to have any issues with it when summer comes. Replace the filter in your furnace (if you have one). Inspect your driveway and walkway and repair any cracks or spots where they are uneven. Not only will this extend the life of your driveway and walkway, but it will also prevent any falls or accidents from occurring due to poor maintenance. Do a visual inspection of your roof. Spring brings a lot of rain, so you want to make any repairs before you wind up with leaks. Also, the cold and snow of winter tends to do a bit of damage to a roof. Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and/or air filter. You don’t want to wind up with a grease fire from built up grease. You can make this part of your regular spring cleaning. Inspect your electronics and appliances for any that might need surge protectors. Computers are obvious, but microwaves, refrigerators, cell phone chargers, DVD players, even cordless phones can all be ruined by an electrical surge. Give some attention to your clothes dryer. Clean the exhaust duct and check for kinks in the hose. Also clean the damper (where the hose exits) and the space behind and under the dryer. A lot of dust and lint can build up in these areas. Check your electrical outlets for plugs that fit too loosely. Check your electrical panel for burn marks that might indicate a fire just waiting to happen. Also consider installing GFI outlets in kitchens and bathrooms if you don’t currently have them.