Posts Tagged home security

Home Security- The Repairman is Scheduled

repairman

At some point in time we all need to allow a repairman or contractor into our homes whether it is to tend to a cable issue with the TV, plumbing or to fix an appliance.

What are some of the strategies we can put in place that leave us in control of the visit and allow us to be as safe as possible? Here are some things to consider.

Ideally you will not be alone when the repairman is scheduled to visit but this is often not possible.

Presentation: If you do live alone in a condo or apartment complex, as we discuss in our home safety trainings, placing an additional first initial in front of yours on the directory board, gives the impression more than one of you might be home. This also hold true if you have had a man record your outgoing message on your telephone voice mail.

Vetting: Well vetted and licensed contractors or technicians from larger service providers are always better to use than someone you might want to choose based on low pricing from the classified ads

Time of Visit: Schedule the visit on your terms and at a time that best suits you. Perhaps when neighbors are home and the complex is busy. It does not hurt to let a neighbor know that you have a repairman coming in from 3-4pm etc. How about asking your neighbor to drop in during the repair visit?

Communications: You should have your cell phone clipped onto your waistband. The mobile should have your two best emergency contact phone numbers programmed into the speed dialer. If you have an alarm system, keep the wireless fob with you as well.

Low Profile: Before the visit, be sure to remove any valuables from the room he will be working in. this includes glassware, ornaments and any other items that reflect that there may be other valuables in the house besides those he can see. Do not wear expensive jewelry. Be sure that any extra sets of keys are not readily accessible either.

Simulation: Before he arrives, close a bedroom door that the repairman will not be going into and perhaps leave a radio playing just loud enough to hear from the room he will be working in. Perhaps this is your husband or son relaxing in his room?

Open Lines of Sight: If your neighbors are situated close by, and weather permitting, perhaps leave the doors, windows and window coverings open making what is going on inside more readily visible to others and leaving you less isolated in general.

Instincts: If upon arrival you get a bad vibe about the repairman do not hesitate while at the door and before you let him in, to tell him your husband came back from work ill and is sleeping.  Could we perhaps reschedule for another time. Always trust your instincts!  Things will only be worse if you allow this person in and then have to deal with him.

Identity: As you let  him into the home ask him for a business card so that you can start “getting a check ready”for him. If he does not have a card and is resistant to giving you any form of identification, even the invoice letterhead, this is a red flag.

Positioning: Always maintain your position such that he is not blocking you from you best exit route.  It is best to stand and watch the repair process. Ask questions and appear to be interested.

Time Stamping: This might be the time to call your husband or partner and let them know the repair man is here and that you are happy to announce that he said our TV will be working in no time. Now the repair man knows that someone other than you knows that he is there.

Too Many Questions: A professional vendor will limit conversation to the issue at hand and not ask seemingly friendly and curious questions about family, where your husband works, what shift etc.  If he does this is a red flag. If you get a bad feeling about this person during the visit, this is the time to merely walk out of the house and to a neighbor.

Payment: It is always best to pay with a check. Paying with cash will indicate that perhaps there more money in the house and is too tempting.

Walk Through: Regardless of how brief the repair visit was, do a walk though of your home and be sure that all doors and windows that were locked are still in fact locked.  Any propped doors or windows are a red flag that there is a plan to return to rob or invade the home!!

Related Topics:

Working from Home More Safely

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Home Safety Tips

intruder

  • If your home is recessed from the road, does the driveway have good lighting? Dusk-to-dawn low level lighting is thought to be a more effective deterrent than motion detector lights. Be sure the home, garage, side areas and parking area are also very well lit.
  • Prune or remove shrubs and bushes that offer natural cover to an intruder, especially near ground floor windows. The more open your “lines of sight”, the better. It is best to close drapes at dusk, dawn and during night time hours.
  • The door to storage sheds should be locked. Don’t leave stepladders on the side of the house. They offer easy access to upper floors.
  • Hang a small bell from entrance doors so you know when the are being opened or closed. Your doors should always be locked, even during the day.
  • Ground floor windows should only be opened part way with secondary securing devices to prevent them being pulled open or pushed up.
  • Be sure to know how to use your home alarm system’s “silent” and “panic” functions. Wireless fobs are always a good idea.
  • Can you activate your car alarm from inside your home? If so, keep your vehicle key fob close by as an additional alarm option. Dogs are always an additional deterrent.
  • If you do not park your vehicles inside the garage, it is best to not leave the remote for the door in the vehicle. Make a habit of bringing it inside with you.  Be sure to also lock the interior door to the garage even if the garage doors are down.
  • Keep a flashlight, fire extinguisher and charged cell phone next to you bed. You should know how to escape from a second story without using the stairs. This is also crucial if there is a fire. A fold-out ladder is suggested. ( See www.x-itproducts.com)
  • Designate a “safe room” with a sturdy door where you can retreat with your cell phone if need be. Be sure that you receive a cell signal in this room. Preferably this room does not have a window. Keep a flash card with your home address, a flash light, bottles of water and a fire extinguisher in the safe room. If you are not calling from a land line, the 911 operator will not know your address. You can easily read your address from the flashcard if you are in a state of fear.
  • The safe room (Sometimes referred to as the Panic Room in Hollywood)  is where you want to secure yourself and family members if you think or know an intruder is in your home and exiting the dwelling is not an option. This is the room from which you will call 911 and stay secure until help arrives.
  • Never open the door to a stranger regardless of how legitimate their story or how well groomed they are. Looks can be deceiving. Call the police if you are uneasy.
  • Think “outside the box”; consider the incident of a woman who purchased a magazine subscription from a seemingly sweet young man on her doorstep. Upon his return the following day “to correct a paperwork error”, he violently assaulted her.
  • Remain alert when leaving or returning to your neighborhood. We let our guards down in familiar environments. This is why most car accidents happen less than two miles from home. If you think you are being followed do not drive home. Proceed back to a well light busy area or a police station and call for help.
  • Try and vary your route home from time to time. The less predictable you are the more difficult a target you become.
  • If you live alone in a gated community, add a second letter to your first initial. For example, “J & L Smith” on the complex’s directory board. Also, be aware of the areas around the entry driveway, especially if you need to open your window to use the keypad. This area should be well lit and not offer convenient hiding places.
  • Your outgoing message should be limited to “We are not available right now. Please leave a message.” This should be recorded in a mans voice even if a man does not live there. Do not give out any additional information or confirm the phone number the caller has just dialed.
  • When you come home if you find the door unlocked or open, do NOT go inside. Retreat to a neighbor’s home, your vehicle or a well lit, busy area. Call the police for help!
  • If you happen upon intruders upon entering your dwelling exit your home immediately, progress to a well light busy place and call the police. Do not confront, challenge or close distance on an intruder. These are the situations where an intent to rob may rapidly degenerate into violence. Your focus is on your safety. Property can be replaced.
  • Review telephone and front door rules with your family periodically. Remind them to always pay attention to their instincts.

 

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