Staying safe at homeWritten by Myndi Milliken | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Things go bump in the night. Is it the wind or a prowler?
Personal safety at home can be a scary issue, especially for seniors. There are precautions that can be taken to help prevent your home from being broken into.
“The more things you can do to make yourself less of a victim, the better,” said Wendy Newsome, crime prevention officer with the Maumee Police Department. She said most burglars spend less than one minute trying to break into a home, and offered these pointers on keeping your home from being an easy target.
- Don’t open the door to a stranger. If someone needs help, offer to place a call for him or her, but do not let someone you don’t know in.
- Glass doors can invite criminals. Use solid metal or hardwood doors. Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer.
- Lock all windows. Also be sure to secure basement and attic windows. Planting thorny bushes such as roses under windows can also be a deterrent.
- Use a double-cylinder deadbolt. “A single deadbolt, especially when the door has glass skylights nearby, can be easier to access,” Newsome said. “Criminals can break the window and simply turn the single bolt.” Spring latches, door locks and chain locks can be easily broken.
- Get a dog. If you can’t have a dog, pretend to have one. Simply placing a “beware of dog” sign on a fence and a (used) dog bowl on the porch can make a burglar move on. “I’ve even seen people put up security system signs when they don’t have one,” Newsome said.
- Be prepared to call for help. Having a phone in one room doesn’t do much good if you cannot get to it quickly. Have a plan for calling for help and leaving your house if you need to.
“We have found most seniors don’t have a cordless phone, and we almost never see cell phones,” Newsome said. She said family and neighbors could help seniors by purchasing a mobile or cellular phone, then showing them how to operate it.
“Many cell phone providers offer
an additional line at little cost,” she said. For seniors with walkers, a
bag attached to the walker could be
“The little bag holds the phone, so it’s always near.”
Toledo seniors wanting to benefit from or assist with a community protection program can call the Area Office on Aging at (419) 382-7060 for information about the RSVP. Short for retired senior volunteer patrol, RSVP is a joint program between the Area Office on Aging and the Toledo Police Department. The Area Office on Aging also offers workshops throughout the year focusing on safety in the home.