The most important thing you can do (I sound like a broken record) is to make sure that all of your insiders are on the same page. If 99% of y’all want your home to be safe and secure from intruders, and one child part opens the door on cue, your efforts will have been in vain. Having said that, let’s go through some of the more common things you can do to make your home secure.
I assume most of us rent and will have to get the landlord’s permission to install anything permanent. If you are lucky, you may be successful in making the argument that safety improvements will add to the value of the property and protect it from physical damage. If not, you will have to make do with simple methods that make no physical changes to the apartment.
Make sure the landlord has changed the locks when you move in. Don’t loan anybody your keys, and if you do, re-key the locks.
There are affordable alarms (many under $10.00) that sound when doors or windows are opened. (Look over a site like http://www.thehomesecuritysuperstore.com/door-alarms-sub=141 for ideas.) You can take them with you when you move or visit somebody. I doubt I could use them, though, because it would be next to impossible for me to remember that they are there. The neighbors or the police do not take kindly to have alarms blaring several times a week.
One survivor I knew sprinkled corn starch by the door before she went to bed. First thing each morning, she checked for footprints. She never found any, but it was very reassuring.
If you are allowed to have pets, dogs afford some degree of protection. Small yappy dogs are better at deterring intruders than large silent ones. You may have many “false alarms” which could drive both you and the neighbors nuts.
Getting to know your neighbors is a huge plus. There is one nosy old lady on our block who spends a lot of her time looking out the window. She’s a one-person crime watch. She has called people to tell them that there is somebody suspicious checking out their house and she has also opened her window and yelled at somebody she thought might be breaking into a car.
If you only get to know one person, pick the busy-body. A small gift, like a plate of brownies, will bring you extra attention. If there is a Neighborhood Crime Watch, join it, read its literature, and attend meetings. Even though it is hard to trust people, remember that the chances of a neighbor belonging to the cult are extremely low. You are safer being known by your neighbors than by keeping a low profile.
If you own your own home, there are additional things you can do. Install motion-sensitive lights and a security camera – or a fake one. Check the landscaping for places an intruder could hide. Plant fast-growing rose bushes or other thorny shrubs under windows. Install iron grates over ground-floor windows. Check the Internet for ways to mechanically secure sliding glass doors and windows.
Last but not least, install and use a deadbolt on your front door. Google “home safety intruders” for more ideas on how to secure windows and doors. Most are simple enough to be installed by those of us who are not mechanically-minded.
I’m going to end by suggesting that you invite your child alters to be part of the project and explain each step you are taking to make everybody safer. Invite them to ask questions and tell them that this is a new way to protect everybody, including the body. They don’t have do it the old way anymore. It’s also a good idea to teach them not to fool with the alarms because the sound will scare everybody, inside and out. And be sure to explain things more than once! It takes time for kids to absorb new information.