Crime has evolved over the last few decades. Today’s wrongdoers have largely turned to hacking, scams, or fraud to get the money or personal information they want, often through digital means.
Fortunately, public awareness and education on cybercrime and scams has grown substantially, allowing people to become smarter, safer, and more secure consumers. But for every sophisticated criminal there’s one who chooses to go the old school route: home burglary.
It may not receive the same news coverage as cybercrime, but burglary is still prevalent in the U.S., with 2.5 million home intrusions committed each year, or one every 13 seconds. As important as it is to watch what is clicked online, it’s equally vital to secure homes from outside threats.
This is especially the case for older adults, whose homes are often targets for burglars. Although seniors can be more vulnerable to this victimization because of certain factors – declining physical and cognitive function and limited communication – they can take steps to protect what’s most important to them and continue living safely and independently.
Home security tips
⦁ Install a home security system. Studies show that burglars tend to stay away from homes that have a security system installed. There are plenty of providers to choose from, so research thoroughly. Most providers will give stickers to put on the home’s doors and windows from the security company, alerting thieves that a system is installed.
⦁ Keep the doors locked. It’s may be normal for people to let their guard down, especially when living in a safe neighborhood, but seniors should remember that crime knows no bounds. All doors that lead outside should always be locked day and night.
⦁ Shut the blinds whenever possible. Many burglars will look through windows of homes they’re interested in robbing. Cutting off their visibility into the home can discourage them from proceeding.
⦁ Remove tools from the yard. Be sure that any tools like hammers, screwdrivers, ladders that can aid burglars in getting into the house are kept inside and out of view.
⦁ Don’t advertise travel plans. Seniors should do their best to keep any travel plans, whether short-term or extended, to themselves or just a few trusted people, like neighbors and family. Talking about travel publicly or posting about it on social media should be avoided.
⦁ Keep personal information in a safe place. If a home is broken into, the last thing people want is for the burglar to get personal information. Keep any passports, birth certificates, financial statements, and other sensitive documents in a locked safe.
⦁ Request home security advice from the police. Seniors can also contact their local police department and have them come out to the home to provide home security suggestions and information on crime in the neighborhood.
Source: Comfort Keepers