Home Security Ground Rules for Family Members and Guests
Do you have children or house guests in your home on occasion? Or extended family who often stay with you? If so, do they all know the basic rules about keeping your home safe from burglars and criminals? For example:
- Do your children give out your garage passcode to friends?
- Do your house guests and older children know how to activate and deactivate your alarm system if they come and go while you’re not home?
- Does everyone lock the door behind them when they come and go?
Sometimes, extended family or guests have different ideas about home security. If they live in a place or grew up in an era when there was little crime, they may not think the precautions are necessary. And children and teens just don’t think about it, period.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to set some ground rules and make sure everyone follows them.
Activate the Alarm When Leaving
You can have the greatest security system on earth but if it’s not activated, it can’t protect your home.
While it may be challenging for elderly guests and younger kids to activate and deactivate your system, you should do your best to teach them the basics. They should also know the correct code words to give the monitoring service in case of a false alarm.
You should get in the habit of checking to make sure your alarm is set in case they forget. And for even greater control, consider a security system that can be controlled remotely.
No Sharing Passcodes
While it may seem harmless enough to have your teen share your garage or alarm passcode with their best friend who is over often, it’s just not a good idea.
Why? Because the more people who know your passcode, the less secure your home is. Teens often have friends who come and go in and out of their lives, or who may try to impress someone with “secret” knowledge such as your passcode.
The majority of home burglaries are committed by males under 25 years old. If your teen daughter’s ex-best friend dates one of these guys, for example, and shares your passcode with him, your home is now vulnerable.
You should change your passcodes regularly to avoid having too many people wandering around with it.
Create an Emergency Plan
Does your family have an emergency plan in case of a burglary or home invasion? If not, you should.
This plan should have some basic instructions for different scenarios.
If your teen arrived home to discover the front door kicked in or a window broken, for instance, would they know what to do? The correct answer is to leave immediately, get somewhere safe, and call 911. No one should try to enter your home if there’s evidence of a break-in, simply because the burglar could still be inside.
Your emergency plan should also cover fire scenarios, home invasions, flooding, and other common dangers. Update this plan regularly as you identify new hazards and/or your family’s situation changes.
Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but just having an emergency plan will ensure your family is better prepared in case the worst does happen. Learn more about creating a home security plan in our earlier post.
Don’t Open the Door for Strangers
You might know not to open the door for strangers, but do your children or house guests know not to? This could be especially difficult for guests for whom everyone is going to be a stranger. They might assume you or your children know the stranger at the door and open it.
And worse, there have been dozens of cases in which intruders disguise themselves as sales reps, cable repair technicians, electricians and other service providers, just so they can gain entry into the home. We covered what to do about door-to-door solicitors in a previous post.
If you know a service worker is scheduled to come to your home on a certain day and time when your family members or guests may be the only ones home, make sure they know from exactly which company the person will be from. When the worker arrives, they should ask to see an ID before allowing them in.
Share Your Rules
The bottom line is to not be afraid to share your home security rules and ask family and guests to follow them. It’s in their best interests, after all!
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