Here is a very basic nightly checklist designed to get you thinking about being more intentional in terms of personal safety.
Secure All Exterior Doors
Yes, this seems like a no-brainer but there are folks who leave their home unlocked at night with the assumption “it will never happen to me”. On the other hand, there are also the people who lock “some” of their doors and leave others unsecured either out of laziness or oversight.
Don’t be these people.
Numbers vary, but some statistics show as high as 30% of occupied home burglaries are carried out by the bad guy using an unlocked entrance. That is a high number and can be drastically reduced by doing a quick walk-through right before bed. Check all your doors and make sure they are all secure and locked.
This security sweep should also be used to verify the door to your garage is locked as well. Garage doors are easy to defeat if not secured and the doorway between your home and garage needs to be locked in case a burglar comes in through the garage.
A friend of mine, who was a police officer at the time and is now a federal agent, had burglars defeat a roll-up garage door and access the house through an unsecured garage door. The thieves burglarized the house while the family was asleep. A locked door may have been enough to deter this event.
Turn on Exterior Lights
While you are making your sweep and checking doors, but sure to turn on all of your exterior lights. Exterior lighting is a big deterrent of deviant behavior and is part of a comprehensive home security plan. You need to have adequate exterior lighting and a combination of static and motion activated lights will serve you best.
Close Blinds and Curtains
Keep prying eyes from seeing your goods…literally and physically. Don’t allow a prowler the opportunity to use the cover of darkness to scope out your property. Next time you are driving around at night, look at how easy it is to see inside the homes with their blinds and curtains open. It’s pretty easy, even from the street.
Lock Your Vehicles
When I’m buttoning things up for the night I like to double check my vehicles are secure. This is easy to perform due to the locking feature on key fobs. I simply hit the lock button and listen for audible confirmation the doors are locked. It’s nice and easy and another easy way to prevent a crime of opportunity from scrounging through your vehicle.
We also keep our primary keys in a location that is easy to access and are available in a moments notice. This increases the odds our keys are accessible in case a hasty departure is needed.
Plug in Cell Phone
This seems like another no-brainer, you need to make sure your cell phone is charged and ready to go when you need it. Cell phones are the primary communication device for most people and they should be good to go in case of an emergency.
On top of being charged, your phone should be in a location that allows quick access and should be easy to find in dark or low-light conditions. You don’t want to be stumbling around in the dark trying to find your phone when your that crashing sound at the other end of your house.
If you are fortunate to live in an area where you are allowed to protect yourself, make sure you have access to your home defense weapon of choice. Also, since we are talking about night time scenarios you should also have a fully charged light source handy. Buy a quality light and make sure you obtain training in low-light tactics.
It only takes a couple of minutes to complete all of the things listed above. Odds are you are already doing most of them, so adding another 30 seconds to your routine shouldn’t be a deal breaker. As always, if you have any tips, tricks, thoughts, or ideas on this topic, be sure to share them with us. Stay safe!