Hats off to the blogger that sent me the link!
Maxidor operates in South Africa and certainly knows a thing or two about security.
These are great tips for you to review and maybe upgrade a thing or two at home this weekend.
GENERAL HOME SECURITY
·If you look at your home like a criminal’s does, you will learn much that can help you identify weak areas in your family’s security setup.
·Try and break into your own home! What would be the easiest way to gain access to your premises/home?
·Walk past your house and look at it like a “casual passer-by” would.
·Inspect your garden for places that can conceal a criminal.
·Examine your current security measures (i.e. burglar bars, security doors, gates, fences, dogs, alarm systems, beams, anti-scaling devices, lighting, etc.). Are they adequate considering your neighbourhood and your lifestyle? How does it compare with the measures your neighbours have taken?
·Inspect the inside of your home for potentially weak areas, or have a professional assessment done.
·Carefully assess your family’s security disciplines (locking doors, assertiveness with strangers, awareness of dangers, alertness, key storage, etc.)
·Use this information to establish a security routine and train your family and others in the home to stick to it!
·Advertise the security measures you have taken (Alarm, Security doors, etc.) on your perimeter fence/wall with the 'protected by...' boards supplied (usually) by the company providing the service.
·If any of your exterior doors are hollow-core, replace them with solid wood, fibreglass or steel doors and fit a steel security gate.
·While you have the choice, make sure exterior door hinges are on the inside rather than the outside (intruders can remove the pins and pull the door out of the frame).
·To secure sliding glass doors, add a bolt lock or use a "charley bar" to block the door closed and install an expandable security barrier.
·Invest in high-quality, name-brand deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
·If you have a double-cylinder deadbolt that is operated by a key both inside and out, keep the key in a safe place near the door where every family member can find it and exit quickly in case of fire.
·Install motion-detection floodlights around your home, high enough so that intruders can’t disable them.
·Some burglars scan newspapers for wedding and funeral announcements and special community and holiday events that might take you out of your home, so be especially careful on these occasions.
·Keep your garage door locked at all times, preferably with a deadbolt lock.
ASSESS POTENTIALLY WEAK AREAS
Physical Security Barriers
·Are all the openings in your home secured with barriers robust enough to deter a criminal? The best way of preventing a crime is to discourage the criminal from even considering breaking into your home in the first place. If a criminal has broken in once, he will more than likely try again.
·Have a look at the condition of the barriers. Poorly-maintained barriers will be easy to break through.
·Establish procedures that the household will follow in the event of an alarm.
·Test the alarm system regularly to make sure that it is in good working order and your alarm company responds promptly.
·Light up dark areas in the garden where intruders can hide.
·Motion detection lighting not only illuminates the intruder, but also alerts you to activity outside.
Plants and Obstructions
·Plants, shrubs or trees that block the view of entrances from the house must be trimmed or removed.
·Plants, shrubs or trees on the sidewalk that could shield a car hijacker must be trimmed or removed.
Perimeter Walls and Fences
·While walls and fences provide a small measure of security and degrees of privacy, they also shield intruders from outside observation and provide hiding places for an ambush or hijacker.
·Poorly constructed walls or fences could present an intruder with a 'ladder' into your property. Anti-scaling devices may be necessary. Any “landing and launching” feature on or near the wall or fence must also be removed!
·Ensure that all your window openings are protected even when your windows are open. Do this with a combination of expandable/retractable and fixed security grills.
·Ensure that certain identified windows have expandable/retractable security grills that can easily be opened in the event of a fire or other threat. Hide the keys nearby and educate the family in escape procedures.
Dealing with unknown persons
·Criminals use many guises to fool a household member into allowing them entry onto the premises and into the house. Some of these guises are: telephone company employees, removal employees, electrical meter readers, beggars (begging for food, money or “employment”), etc. Being alert to these ploys can ensure that you are not caught unawares. It is very important that you train all members of the household in how to deal with strangers, particularly those household members who are often alone on the premises while you are away.
·Keep household members and employees informed about deliveries, visits to your premises by repair personnel or other contractors and other comings and goings on your premises so that they are not easily misled by a smooth talker.
·Make sure that your household members and employees know exactly who is allowed access to the premises and that they are very firm in refusing access to anyone else, regardless of the circumstances, unless of course, you have specifically arranged with them beforehand.
·Should there be any queries, make sure that they know how to get hold of you to inform you of a potential situation or to query the validity of a caller.
·It is vital that you confirm the identity of anyone who approaches you in official guise. Remember, identity cards and books can be and often are forged. It may be necessary to telephone the relevant institutions to confirm not only employment, but also their business on your premises.
·Do not use the telephone number they provide. The "legitimacy" of their business would merely be confirmed by their accomplices. Look up the number in the directory or phone information, if you do not have it in your list of telephone numbers.
·As a matter of course, never trust anyone. It is better to err on the side of discretion. Most legitimate callers will fully understand and respect the precautions you are taking.
·When you feel it necessary to refuse entry to a caller, be firm. Do not allow them to manipulate you or play on your emotions. Allow them no space.
·Should callers become abusive, it may be necessary to call the police, especially if you suspect their business is not legitimate.
·Remember that by law certain people must be allowed access to your premises. One of these would be the meter reader. It may be a good idea to relocate the meter to a place where it is easily accessible, or failing that, have a specific routine for dealing with such people.
·Never open the door to a stranger. Install peepholes in all exterior doors so you can identify whoever is outside. Do not rely on a door safety chain, because these can easily be broken.
PERSONAL SECURITY DISCIPLINES
·All the measures you take to protect your family is as good as the security disciplines you and your family have e.g. a security gate is useless unless it is locked and the key removed and secured! A series of small, but useful routines, correctly and conscientiously followed, will ensure that your overall security is the best it can be.
·Design a set of rules for the family. They should include key disciplines, escape procedures and routes, Inscape Door disciplines, safe havens, etc.
·Have regular family security meetings at which these disciplines are re-enforced!
·'Key' disciplines are essential for preventing access to even the most conscientiously secured premises. Here are a few tips that will add to your security:
·'Key' storage areas
·It is important to establish a specific Key Storage Place (e.g. key hooks behind a kitchen cupboard) for all household keys.
·Family members should be disciplined to always leave all keys in this place.
·The Key Storage Place must be inaccessible to outsiders, concealed from outsiders view, easily accessible to family members.
·Copies of all household keys should be kept in a central, well concealed Key Safe or secure storage place. Do not leave your spare keys in an obvious hiding place (Inside or outside).
·Family 'Key' Disciplines
·All keys must automatically be returned t their pre-determined storage places directly after use. This will prevent searching for keys when guests arrive or in the event of an emergency.
·All in the household should be trained to keep all security doors locked at all times
·Do not leave keys in the locks of any doors while they are open or closed.
·The Maxidor Slamlock will be ineffective in an emergency if keys are left in the lock.
·Never mark your key ring with your address or other personal particulars.
·File off any serial or code numbers on your keys - do not make it easy for someone to obtain a copy.
·When servicing your car, always remove your house keys from your key ring.
·When you go out, take only the most necessary keys with you. Leave any others safely stored at home.
·Your neighbours are an invaluable security resource. If possible, make an arrangement with them, for you to keep an eye on each other's homes, perhaps formally through a neighbourhood watch programme or just informally.
·The assistance you could provide each other might include calling emergency services such as ambulance, police or your armed response company. Make sure that they have these numbers.
·You could ask that they simply be alert for anything suspicious, particularly when either of you are away at work or on holiday. Criminals are deterred if they know that the neighbourhood is on the lookout. Areas that have had a reduction in crime can usually cite some form of neighbourhood watch as a contributing factor.
·When you go away, arrange with a friend or neighbour to leave your curtains in the usual open or closed positions and mow your lawn for you.
·Leave a telephone number and contact address with neighbours or any other reliable person so that you can be contacted in an emergency.
·Ask your neighbour to switch on all your usual lights at night if you are not going to be back before dark.
·Ask them to collect your mail when you go away on holiday. A post box full of letters is an advertisement that you are away.
·Get to know your neighbours.
·To a burglar, an empty trash can mean you're away. Keep some trash on hand, and consider asking a neighbour to set out trash for pick-up at your house.
Many people have been deceived by a potential employee. They have employed a gardener or domestic worker in good faith only to find themselves 'cleaned out' a few weeks later, or worse, the victim of a vicious assault.
·When seeking a new employee, try asking around among those you know for any referrals they may have of persons that they know, who are looking for work.
·If you are forced to hire a stranger, never hire off the street. Use an employment agency.
·Be sure to check all references, remembering that these can easily be rigged by accomplices.
·Familiarise yourself with the Labour Relations Act and be sure to have a proper employment contract drawn up and duly signed by both parties. Make copies of all relevant identification documents, etc.
·Never leave money or valuables lying around. Even the most honest person could weaken in the face of constant temptation.
Before a crisis arises, it is important to have an emergency plan.
·Put your plan down on paper and make sure that the whole household is familiar with it.
·Assess all entry and exit points. Decide on the best way out in the event of a criminal entering your home or of a fire. For example, if an intruder breaks into the house via a front entrance, or a fire breaks out, the family can escape through a window or opening at the back of the house. Certain windows and/or openings must be identified and expandable/retractable security barriers fitted to these. The keys for these barriers on these openings must be placed in a secret but accessible place.( Remember that a window is not an ideal escape route - broken glass is a hazard. A door is preferable...)
·Try not to leave your home unoccupied. If possible get a friend or relative to house-sit for you.
·Do not get a stranger to house-sit. If necessary, use an agency that specialises in this.
·Your home must never look unoccupied. Arrange for a friend or neighbour to leave your curtains in the usual open or closed positions, and mow your lawn, etc., for you. Let them keep the curtains slightly parted so that your house doesn't have an empty look.
·Leave a telephone number and contact address with neighbours or any other reliable person so that you can be contacted in an emergency.
·Inform your armed response/alarm company that you will be away.
·Inform the police of your absence.
·Never leave an answering machine message that you are not at home. Say something like: "We can't come to the phone right now..."
·Use timers to turn lights, televisions and sound systems on and off at different times to give your home a "lived-in look" when you're away.
·If there's a Neighbourhood Watch Program in your community, join it.
·Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to your local police.
·Be careful who you tell that you are going away!
·Don't let mail, newspapers or flyers accumulate while you're away, tipping off criminals. Have the post office hold mail, have newspapers suspended, and have a neighbour or friend clear away flyers.
·If possible (and safe), leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbour to leave a car there from time to time.
·When arriving at or departing from your home, look out for loiterers. Do not ignore such persons as they could be a danger to you and your household.
·Keep necessary emergency numbers clearly posted next to the telephone. These must be easily accessible when needed.
·Don't leave valuables where they are visible through windows, etc. They might tempt potential burglars.
·Make an inventory of all the valuables in your household and store it somewhere other than your home.
·Mark valuables. (Etching, punching, etc.)
·Do not ignore any unusual sounds or noises, barking dogs, alarms, breaking glass, etc. Be very cautious when investigating. Rather have the police or your armed response company investigate for you.
·If you do not have a response facility and you are going to check outside, keep your family safe by locking the door behind you. If necessary they will be able to summon help for you
Guard personal information
Identity theft is a real threat and poses a real danger for the victim. Supply personal information, to anyone that asks, with great caution.
One form of crime that is becoming increasingly popular is driveway hijacking.
·Be ready for the unexpected. The hijacker can strike at any time.
·Be very cautious when arriving at or departing from your home.
·Keep a lookout and be prepared to drive away quickly, if you must. (Be careful never to endanger anyone’s life). Have an emergency plan. Decide which is the best way to escape if there was an attempted hijacking in your driveway. Could you drive down the pavement, or over a concrete island for example?
·Make sure you are not followed to or from your home. If you are followed, go to the nearest police station or a place where there are many people. Avoid quiet streets or areas. Petrol stations all have security cameras that highjackers want to avoid. Go to a garage and stop in the middle of the courtyard somewhere.
·When approaching your home, look around for any suspicious loiterers or vehicles and report them to the authorities immediately.
·Try not to reverse out of your driveway. When leaving your premises, always try and face the road.
·If you do not already have a remote-controlled gate, you may want to consider installing one. (Consult the experts as automated gates can also present a security threat)
·Avoid establishing fixed patterns. This increases the risk of victimisation by observant, potential hijackers.
·If you arrive home and notice something suspicious, like the dogs not coming to welcome you, drive on! Go to the nearest police station or follow one of the other suggestions in this section.
·Always keep car doors locked and windows closed.
·Keep an eye on your neighbours' houses. Ask them to do the same for you. Report the presence of loiterers to the police.
·Remember, if you become a victim of carjacking, don't resist. Your life is more valuable than the most expensive car.
·Be aware that hijackers sometimes impersonate police or traffic officials. They use vehicles with flashing blue lights and some even have access to police uniforms.
SECURITY TIPS FOR CHILDREN
Protecting Children Online
The Internet is a vast new world of information, entertainment and learning opportunities, but there are also dangers for children out there in cyberspace. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your child.
·Explain to your child that even though you may be by yourself when you're using the computer to get on the Internet, there are real people out there who can connect to your computer to find out who you are and where you are ... so you need to be careful.
·Explore the Internet together, letting your child take the lead.
·Talk to your child about things that concern you about the Internet ... like exploitation, pornography, hate literature and the like ... so they'll know what to do if they encounter it.
·Choose an online service that enables you to block access to any site not marked as appropriate for children ... to chat rooms, bulletin boards, news and discussion groups ... or to the Internet altogether.
·Buy software that lets you design your own set of protective barriers, blocking sites and preventing your child from giving out information online.
·Look over your child's shoulder from time to time, not only checking what's on screen but also watching for uneasiness or other signs that something forbidden may be going on.
·Teach your child to let you know right away if he or she sees anything disturbing online.
·Tell your child not give out any personal information, to never agree to meet someone face-to-face after encountering them online and never respond to messages that contain obscene or weird language.
·Teach your child to avoid sites that charge for services and to never send personal photos to anyone online without getting permission from you.
·Make sure Internet access at school is controlled and monitored by adults.
·If your child has a friend with Internet access, find out from that child's parents if adequate controls are in place and if children are monitored when online.
·Make sure your child's school has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that defines acceptable and unacceptable online activities and resources, spells out the consequences for violations, and has a place for you and your child to sign.
·If your child receives offensive or threatening e-mail, save the material as evidence and contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
·If you encounter a site that's inappropriate for children, send its address to online services and sites that provide blocking software so they can review it.
·Keep your eye on your bags - especially a laptop computer or other valuable gear - at all times, and don't let anyone but uniformed airline personnel handle or watch them.
·Be wary of mishaps, like someone bumping you or spilling a drink ... they may be staged to set you up for a robbery.
·Clutch your pocketbook close to your body or carry your wallet in an inside front pocket ... or wear a concealed money pouch.
·Record the contents of checked luggage, and carry valuables onto the plane with you.
·Don't draw attention to jewellery, cameras or other expensive items.
·Study your route on a map before you start or use a GPS navigation device.
·If using a rental or strange car, make sure it's in good operating condition and learn how to operate all controls before starting out.
·Keep maps and rental agreements concealed, and store luggage out of sight in the trunk.
·Keep car doors locked and park in lighted areas near entrances.
·Have keys ready so you can enter the car quickly... after checking the back seat and footwells.
·If bumped by another car, rather than getting out you might want to signal the other driver to follow you to a police station or other place where you'd feel safe.
·Don't leave your luggage unattended.
·Make sure your room has a peephole and deadbolt lock on the door and window locks... and use them.
·Caution hotel personnel against saying your room number within earshot of others.
·In case of emergency, know where exits, elevators and public phones are located.
·Leave valuables at home, or keep them in the hotel safe.
·If going out, ask hotel staff about neighbourhood safety and areas to avoid.
·If someone claiming to be a hotel employee shows up at your door unexpectedly, don't let him or her in without first calling the front desk for confirmation.
·Don't display your room key or leave it where it may get stolen.
·Make sure you use reputable hotels
·Ask for a room between the third and the eighth floors (few cities have fire equipment that can reach above the eighth floor and walk-in thieves are less likely to venture above the lower floors.)
·Do not hand in your passport unless required by law
·As a general rule, keep the door key with you
·Always accept assistance on check-in, allow the porter to open the room, turn the lights on and check the room to ensure the room is vacant and ready for your stay
·Before dismissing the porter always inspect the door lock, locks on sliding glass doors, optical viewer, door chain, guest's room safe, deadlock bolt on inter-connecting suite doors, and the telephone.
·Familiarise yourself with exit routes and fire escapes, read the fire safety notice in your hotel room, count the number of doors or paces between your room and the nearest fire exit.
·Ensure that valuable and sensitive documents are kept in the hotel safe or a safe in your room.
·Use the door chamber lock or the privacy latch and keep the room door locked at all times and the curtains drawn at night.
·Upon entering your room ensure there is nobody else in it before locking the door.
·Keep the TV or lights switched on when you are not in your room.
·Keep your room tidy; an intruder will be far more easily identified.
·Keep your luggage locked.
·Be careful of giving personal information, home or hotel address or telephone numbers.
·Be discreet when using hotel telephones, they are not secure.
·Be careful how you open packages or envelopes sent to you at the hotel if you don't know the sender.
·Unaccompanied female travellers should not hesitate to request hotel personnel to escort them to their rooms if they are returning home.
SAFETY AND SECURITY FOR SENIORS
·Statistics show that the older you get, the less likely you are to be a victim of crime. But it still makes sense to take precautions ... especially against fraud and con games, which are the greatest crime threats for seniors.
·Install and use good locks on doors and windows.
·Don't hide keys under the doormat, in the mailbox or in a planter ... leave an extra set with a neighbour.
·When service or delivery people come to your door, ask for ID, and check with their company if you're still not sure.
·Make sure the street number on your house is large, well-lit and unobstructed so emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
·Hold your purse close or keep your wallet in an inside front pocket when shopping etc...
·Don't carry large amounts of cash or unneeded credit cards.
·Keep car doors locked, be watchful in parking lots and garages, and try to park in well-lighted spots near entrances.
·If a person or situation makes you nervous, get away.
·If it sounds too good to be true - free vacation, miracle cure, and sure-fire investment - avoid it.
·It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for credit card, phone card or bank account numbers etc …to verify prizes, so if anyone asks, don't give it to them.
·If someone tries to rush you into signing an insurance policy, sales contract or anything else, be suspicious ... read it carefully and have a trusted friend check it, too.
·Some con artists pose as representatives of companies or government agencies that, for a fee, recover money lost to fraudulent telemarketers ... so don't fall for it.