1. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
This is crucial. When walking outside and close to your home, keep your eyes open—instead of down or at your phone—and make sure to look to your sides and behind you every so often. When you’re more aware of your neighborhood you’re more likely to notice if something is out of place or appears suspicious. Look around as you enter and exit your home. Pay attention to little details, and listen to your gut if something ever seems off.
2. Always Keep Your Doors Locked
This tip sounds obvious, but it's so common for people to forget to lock their doors or just keep them unlocked for various reasons. You can put a small note on the inside of your door—at about shoulder-height—that says something like "lock the door." If your locks just aren't that strong, consider upgrading to better locks for exterior doors.
3. Protect Personal Information
Don’t list your full name on the mailbox or doorbell buzzer. Use only your last name and first initial—especially if you’re a woman living alone. Don’t toss junk mail in the trash, particularly if it’s a pre-approved credit offer. Take the time to shred anything that has your name, address or other personal information on it. Leave your Social Security card in a lockbox rather than carrying it in your wallet, and be extremely cautious when you must share this type of information.
4. Keep Valuables Out of Sight
Thieves are looking for easy targets. You’re more vulnerable if valuable items are left exposed in plain sight. Expensive power tools sitting in clear daylight in an open garage are very tempting. A new computer system within view of a window may make your home a priority for criminals. If walking on the street, cover expensive jewelry with your shirt or coat, and if indoors, put valuables in a safe or at least hidden in a closet.
5. Have Someone Watch Your Back
Perhaps the best way to protect yourself is to have someone watching your back. While you may not have other people in the home to call for help if needed, you can have an entire team of people monitoring the home remotely. With a monitored alarm system, someone can call for help if your home is broken into or there’s a fire.
If you're walking outside late at night, ask someone you know to either escort you home or watch you from a distance.
Many people understand the importance of taking personal security seriously, but some still don’t make a big deal out of it. Follow these tips to protect yourself from intruders, and when you’re ready for a home security system, understand what each company offers. Taking these steps will provide you with peace of mind knowing that you’re less of a target and help is only a phone call away.