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Our homes are our castles. They’re where we can put our feet up on the sofa, binge watch Netflix without anyone around to judge us, and generally where we feel the most relaxed.

It’s no small wonder then that burglaries, even ones where no one is hurt and little of value is taken, are so traumatizing long after. We simply don’t expect anyone to cross the moat of decent, law-abiding citizenhood and invade our space for gain.

And yet, according to the latest FBI statistics, there were 1.9 million burglaries in 2013, resulting in billions of dollars of lost property. That’s a lot of invaded castles! The good news is, we can mitigate the risk of becoming statistics ourselves by putting burglary on our personal “radars.” Here are a few common sense home safety tips recommended by Peace Corps volunteers living abroad. These volunteers have had formal risk mitigation training-in other words, their “radar” is honed sharp!

1.If you rent, change your locks.
Renters are 85% more likely to experience a break-in. They generally have fewer community ties, and land lords world wide have an incentive to keep apartment maintenance low. Often the commercial door locks they install are cheap, so it might make sense for your own safety to have a commercial replacement door installed. (If installing a door is beyond your Do-It-Yourself pay grade, consider hiring a locksmith).

2. Speaking of commercial replacement doors, spring for the deadbolt.
In 10% or more of homes, deadbolts may be improperly installed, allowing thieves to easily get inside your home. Commercial replacement doors and/or commercial door locks ensure a secure fail-safe barrier to any burglar who thinks they’re clever with a coat hanger and a key hole. Which brings us to the third and vital tip…

3. Keep track of your keys.
No more having different types of keys duplicated for your great aunt Sally with the memory problems, or keys duplicated for commercial use. And no more leaving them under the mat or the flower pot for anyone casing your house to see!

Commercial replacement doors, locksmiths, and deadbolts might seem like drastic measures more suited to spy novels and paranoid expatriate volunteers than the average home owner. Just remember that even in the US, known for it’s police presence and orderly suburbs, a home burglary occurs ever 13 seconds. So ready your draw bridges and protect those castles!


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May 2024