What are good security measures when you live alone?
Being older and living alone has made me more security conscious. What are some good security measures?
It’s reassuring to know that older people are less likely than other age groups to be the victims of violent crime. Nevertheless, many older people still feel vulnerable especially if they live alone. Burglary, however, is another issue. More commonly burglaries are opportunistic and occur through the day when people are at home, perhaps when out gardening. It therefore pays to be diligent with home security.
The following are ideas for improving security:
Keep garden plantings low to ensure hiding places are minimised.
Plant prickly plants under windows e.g., roses
If drainpipes run close to windows grow a rose up those or wind with something prickly.
Install sensor lighting.
Consider installing a burglar alarm, some can be linked to fire alarms.
Check the internal access. Ensure these doors have strong locks.
If a door opens outwards, ensure that it has been secured so that it can’t be lifted off the hinges.
Leave some inside lights on when you go out.
Make sure valuable items can’t be seen from outside
Close curtains at night
Put away outside equipment that burglars could use (such as ladders etc). ·
Don’t leave keys in hiding places. Everyone knows about the key under the mat or pot plant.
Install screens on doors and windows.
Fit deadlocks (mortice type) to wooden doors
Get a locksmith to access the situation if you have aluminium doors (s/he should give free advice).
Fit locks to windows
Don’t open the door to strangers and don’t tell them you are alone. Ask them to come back when it is more convenient. i.e., maybe arrange to have someone else there.
If someone comes to your door, perhaps to provide a service or for some other reason, ask to see some identification and only invite them in if this satisfies you. If not satisfied ask them for their main office phone number so you can call them to verify their identification. Do not let them in until you have made the call and their identity is verified.
Be aware of unsolicited approaches, visits or phone calls from strangers. They may claim to be offering services, salespeople or collecting for charity but could in fact be fraudsters. Check these people out with family, friends or Age Concern.
Never sign anything if you are feeling pressured. Tell the person you will come back to it and seek advice.
Install a wide-angle door viewer. You will be able to see if it’s a stranger or not. If the caller wants help, offer to phone for assistance or direct them elsewhere. Do not open the door whilst you phone.
Put men’s boots by the door. (Dust them occasionally)
Install outside security lights.
If you feel at risk (more particularly of falls or health problems where you might need to summon help) wear an emergency pager.
Ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your place when you are away, mow lawns, park their car up your drive, collect mail.
Put a hold on any newspaper deliveries if you’re going away.
Keep an Emergency List by the phone. Make sure the print is bold and includes the main number for all major emergencies at the top i.e., 111 (you can forget it in an emergency), your health centre number and family member or friend who can be easily contacted, and any other important numbers. (Ask the family member or friend to keep a list of those who you would like contacted in the case of an emergency)
Arrange a code with a trusted neighbour so that they can see that you are up and about each day, e.g., open a curtain or window.
Never give an open cheque or your pin number to anyone including bank staff, shop staff or home support workers. Your bank or the IRD will never ask for your credit card, password or other bank account details over the phone or via email.