Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Safety Tips

A real estate agent in Arkansas was murdered recently while showing a vacant home to a prospective buyer. The attacker was a stranger to her, who targeted her because she "was a woman who worked alone."

My husband and I own a martial arts school, Saeng Myong Martial Arts, in Broomfield. We've taught traditional self defense as well as Model Mugging and various seminars over the years, to groups from law enforcement to girl scouts. A big part of self defense is awareness - acknowledging existing threats and coming up with plans to deal with them should the worst happen.

My real estate job comes with risks which agents mitigate as well as we can. The best approach is to think about your lifestyle and prepare for possible dangerous scenarios. Just as your family has a plan of escape from your home in the event of a fire, so should you have a plan to rescue yourself should you be threatened. Then, you can proceed with your life knowing the plan is in the back of your mind should you need it. Any preparations or actions that can add a layer of protection for yourself or your home can be a deterrent to criminals, who are looking for the fastest way to commit their crime and get away without detection.

When it comes to your home, there are many steps you can take to remove yourself from the "victim pool:"

  • If you leave your house during the day and return at night, be sure there is adequate lighting. Install motion or light sensing lamps mounted high over entries so that they can’t be messed with.
  • Close your curtains or blinds at night. For full coverage on the first floor, turn blinds up so people outside can only see your ceiling. On higher floors the opposite is needed. Go outside and see if can see in your own place at night.
  • Close and lock your door immediately after entering. While at home, keep your doors locked. Some criminals will walk right in, even if there are people inside. Install a peephole, and remember that answering your door is a choice, not an obligation. Ask who’s there, and be prepared to fight if you open it to a stranger.
  • Install double cylinder locks (the kind that require a key) on any door with a window that can be broken allowing someone to reach the lock.
  • Homes with dogs are less likely to be burglarized. Never shrug off barking, and even keep the dog with you when you answer the door. Do not install doggy doors that don’t lock as people have been known to squeeze through them.
  • Make sure your garage door is completely closed before you get out of the car. When pulling in, put on the high beams, put the car in reverse and press the brake to illuminate the driveway behind you.
  • Close your windows at night. If you must keep them open, make sure they are not open enough for someone to fit through and install a locking mechanism for the open position. 
  • In an apartment building, never let someone in that you don’t recognize, even if the approaching person has their arms full. Your safety and your neighbor’s safety come before convenience. If you see someone suspicious loitering, call the police. They may no longer belong there but still have a key.
  • Change your locks immediately when moving into a new place or after having ended a relationship with someone who has a key.
  • If you have a common laundry room, avoid doing laundry alone, and spend as little time there as possible. Never enter if the light won’t come on. If someone comes in who is making you uncomfortable, leave immediately. 
  • Consider installing a deadbolt on your bedroom door if you have roommates since you don’t control everyone who comes in and out of the apartment. Lock the bathroom to provide one more layer of safety. 
  • Loud radios/TVs cut down on your ability to hear and sense a presence. When showering, turn off the noise so you can detect movement better upon shutting off the water.
  • Pretend to be burglar looking for hiding places and vulnerabilities about your home. Periodically check the exterior for signs of break in or wear and tear. Make your home look occupied; cut bushes back, mow, secure your tools, don’t allow mail or newspapers to accumulate. Project the image that you care and pay attention to your safety and the maintenance of your property.
  • Keep a phone by your bed. Cell phones are okay, but land lines help 911 track calls much faster.
Nothing is guaranteed to eliminate all danger, but the irony of self defense is, the more prepared you are to fight, the less likely you will have to.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or