Home security at night

Today, CBC reported about a disturbing sexual assault that happened when a man entered a home in Coquitlam around 3:30am and assaulted a 12-year-old girl who was asleep in her bed.

In this case, the man was able to gain entry to the home through an unlocked door. Luckily, the girl was able to fight the intruder off and scream for help.

This story reminded me of an incident in Kitsilano in 2006 where a very similar crime was committed.

While these types of incidents are not regular occurrences… they do raise the issue of how to best secure your home while you and your family are in it… especially while you are sleeping.

Beyond the obvious advice of ensuring that all of your doors and windows are locked, here are a few other things to consider:

Arm your alarm in STAY mode when you go to bed

With most alarms, certainly with each one that we install, there are several ‘modes’ that you can arm it in.

AWAY mode tells the alarm that you would like to arm every single device in your home, whereas STAY mode tells it to arm only specific zones. While the default programming is to make STAY mode arm all perimeter devices (typically all of the door and window contacts), we can program STAY mode to be anything you would like.

For example, we can program STAY mode to arm all of the perimeter devices as well as glassbreak sensors and motion detectors in the basement and certain areas of the home.

This allows you to arm your alarm, but walk around in your home without setting it off.

Your alarm system can only offer value if it is armed.

Ensure that you have portable telephones easily accessible

In the event of any type of emergency, it’s incredibly important to be able to call for help as quickly as possible.

While having a cellular phone is good, having portable telephones that use your landline (that are fully charged) offer the added benefit of providing Caller ID information to the 911 call centre so that even if you are unable to speak, they know what address to respond to.

Your security is in your redundancy… in the event that your phone lines are cut, a cellular phone is an important back-up measure.

Consider keeping your cellular phone charger in your bedroom (rather than downstairs in the kitchen) so that your phone is always charged and sitting on your nightstand.

Remember that home safety is much more than burglary detection

While these types of incidents cause a lot of fear, the reality is that the frequency of incidents like these are very rare.

A much more likely scenario is accidentally leaving something on the stove or something else that causes a fire to start. How old are your smoke detectors? Do you have monitored smoke detectors outside of each bedroom in your house?

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