How to Keep Your Home Safe

When I lived alone, I always worried about intruders. For one thing, I live in the middle of nowhere. If anything were to happen, my neighbors would never know about it. I’m too far away from them.

I was in bigger danger of coyotes and wild hogs than people, but when you live alone, the world can be a scary place.

My first home away from Greg was in a suburb. My realtor was extraordinary in helping me find a safe environment since she knew I’d be living alone a great deal of the time. She suggested a home in a neighborhood with young families, where people would watch out for one another.

Our big baby

Once I moved to the boonies, though, I was on my own. I had the dogs, of course. Tank was a faithful protector. And let’s face it, a dog that size is a formidable adversary. No one messed with Tank. They didn’t realize he was also a marshmallow, nonetheless, he was very protective of me.

I also packed heat. In Texas, guns are a way of life for many people. I’m not a gun enthusiast, but I do know how to shoot. More importantly, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be afraid to shoot if the need arose.

If I had to go out in the field after dusk, I went armed. Back then my woods were still fairly wild and there were often reports of wild hogs. These are beasts I could neither outrun nor evade.

Other times, I’d hear strange noises outside the house. I’m not an idiot, and I won’t go looking for trouble, but if I hear something, I get the gun out. Tank and I would stay up and listen to see if whatever it was moved off.

Nowadays with Iko and Nana, they make enough racket to wake the dead. Tank only growled if he felt there was imminent danger. If Tank growled, I flipped off the safety. Tank didn’t warn without reason.

Experience is the only real teacher but these are my tips for a safer home.

Tank, with Iko in training

• Keep a dog. Even a small dog is a good deterrent. Thieves don’t want to be announced.

• Don’t tell people on Facebook, your blog, or in a mixed group that you’ll be on vacation or away from home until after you’ve returned.

• Keep the outdoor lights on.

• If you feel comfortable with weapons, keep a gun by your nightstand.

• Keep your phone charged. More importantly, keep the phone with you.

• Keep a working flashlight. Always.

• Live in a neighborhood where children play and neighbors talk to one another.

• Install security cameras. I like this one. It’s the Annke HD 1080 with two way audio. (Yes, I talk to my dogs when I see them go past the camera.)

You want a camera that can be directly connected to your phone, so you can even keep an eye on your place when you’re away.

The nice thing about these cameras is that they’re really easy. You don’t need a doctorate to figure them out.  This one’s for indoor use.

For outdoor use, try the Dericam. It’s more expensive, but it’s weatherproof and it has a 360° coverage and a 65 foot range. Our security system is hardwired, but if you don’t want to go through that much trouble (and it is a lot of trouble if you don’t understand electronics) opt for a self contained unit like this one that’s more plug and play.

• Install driveway sensors if you have a long driveway to your home. The cheap ones wear out fast and they go off at the slightest breeze. If you want advance warning that someone is coming up the drive, opt for the more expensive models.

• Use motion sensors. No one can sneak up on you with motion sensors.

• Install an alarm system.

I’ll leave you with a funny story which might say more about me than you want to know. Many years ago, Greg was working the graveyard shift. We lived in an old house and the neighborhood was a little dicey.

Well, for some reason the house must’ve shifted on its piers because I could not shut the door. No matter what I did, it stayed ajar. It was getting dark and there was nothing more I could do. I phoned Greg at work and told him that I was sleeping in the front room (with the open door) and that I had the gun with me. I warned him to make sure to yell BEFORE he opened the door because I was shooting first and asking questions later.

Greg (fearing for his life and knowing me too well) PHONED me from a nearby convenience store and told me he was on his way. There was no way he was going to risk opening the door, in case I fell back asleep, or forgot he was coming.

We still laugh about that. I’m fairly sure I would’ve waited to see the dogs’ reactions before I opened fire. Well…almost sure. 🙂

And that’s why we’re still married.

PS  The very first thing Greg did that day was fix the door.


So how about you? Do you ever worry about keeping your home safe? Do you have a dog? Is he much help? Although Tank looked menacing, he could usually be found in this position.

We still miss our big boy.






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      • I know the feeling. On a few occasions, I forget to switch of the alarm as I toddle downstairs early morning and half asleep. The bugger waits until I’m almost down the stairs before emitting a high pitched beep beep beep. I know I have 10 seconds then to run up and switch the bloody thing off. If I had a gun, I could just aim and shoot the damn thing.

  1. Definitely good things to consider. I grew up in the city, so I’m probably more paranoid even now than I need to be. There’s little guarantee in this world but it doesn’t hurt to build layers of security – why make things easier for criminals?

  2. Hubby put up some kind of alarm on the front door and the door leading to the garage. When set, he gets a text message if the door opens. Funny thing is, he decided to take his old phone with him when we went walking through the neighborhood, forgetting that it only worked on wifi (it’s not on our plan). I hadn’t noticed which phone he had until he went to show someone how to use the app. I could only laugh.

  3. Jenny Schwartz

    Greg is a wise and cautious man 🙂

    The tip to keep a gun close by sounds weird to me as a suburban Aussie. I guess I have curious neighbours in place of a gun — and the young dog next door would LOVE to chase down a burglar (or anyone actually – she’s a bundle of energy).

    • Jenny: Some of my neighbors walk around the neighborhood so they keep a good watch on things, but our house is so inset and hidden by trees that if anything were wrong, no one would know.

      As a matter of fact, when we go away for overnight trips, I text my friend (who has a key) that I’m on the road. She knows if she doesn’t hear from me by the time I’m supposed to head back, to call me. If I don’t answer, she’ll go to my house to make sure the dogs are okay.

      The only thing I worry about are the animals. If Greg and I are in an accident, I want to know that someone is there to look after my kids, and the outside animals.

  4. Angela Brown

    I will always have a special place in my heart for Tank. He was definitely a protector.

    I have my Tiny Terror now. She’ll get a burglar at the ankles then keep them them busy demanding belly rubs Lol!

    I have been considering getting a gun. Not a hard thing to do in the gun state of Texas.

    I am with you when it comes to keeping my travels off of social media. There are some conniving people who will take advantage of am announced absence.

    • Angela: I’ll not see Tank’s like again in my lifetime. He was a treasure.

      Hey, all Tiny Terror has to do is get your attention. It’s up to you to protect her. 😀

      re: guns
      The only time I was unarmed and needed it was when I was a student at university. I used to work alone in the art lab many weekends. There’d been stories about a guy jimmying doors to get into classrooms. I always locked the door behind me when I was alone and kept my handy X-acto knife with me just in case.

      A couple of days after this incident the news media was abuzz about a serial killer who had kidnapped and murdered a nursing student. The nursing college was in the same area as the arts college. Greg wouldn’t let me go to university without him after that.

  5. I felt totally safe at the house that we lived in when we were in San Diego. It had bars on all the windows and doors. We even kept the front and back sliding glass door opened during summer months to get cool air in at night because no one could get in through the bars. We have double locks here and we just put security doors in our front door at both places we own. We were just talking about security cameras the other day. We do keep lights on at night. Arizona is a state you can carry a weapon with you. Hubby has a few around strategically just in case. My plan this year is to take a gun safety workshop.


    • Betty: I wish we didn’t have to live in a world where good people live behind bars and criminals run free,

      We use our camera security system a lot. I especially like the ones where we can check our place from our phones. It brings a lot of peace of mind.

      Every few years Greg reteaches me how to take a gun apart or to practice shooting. I’m not a fan of guns but better to know how to use one and not need it than need it and not know how to use it.

  6. I must admit there was a time when I would say yes fear while home alone was real. Then one day I decided to turn fear into being proactive. We do have a dog that runs off everything and everyone. She big and brave and thankfully we’re fenced in because she like to stand in the middle of the road and bark off cars too. Knowing how to shoot is huge and for those who fear that idea you could always keep a baseball bat, hammer or knife by your bed at night. I think more importantly is being fit so you can take on most anything that comes your way and I also agree a charged phone is smart and it also makes a great good morning alarm. Great post!

    • Carole: I don’t worry so much about people getting in the house as I do about the beasties out in the woods. LOL. Because I love my dogs so much I never take them out after dusk. They’re likely to charge a coyote or hog.

      One time a snake got in the house. It was all I could do to tear Tank and Iko away from the snake. They wanted a piece of him.

      re: phone alarm
      Oh, I hate the alarm Greg has on his phone. Well, I should say, I hate that he can’t turn it off right away. But I guess it does its job. 🙂

    • Linda: Considering I trip over Iko even when I know where he is, I’m afraid that’ll be the fate of any burglar. With all that black fur, Iko is nearly invisible in the dark. And he doesn’t like to be woken from his nap. 🙂

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