Be Prepared, Not Scared

fear decision, businessman with very afraid, man in white shirtLet’s be reasonable: what are the real dangers facing you, as a homeowner?

Are theft, vandalism and home invasions a very real possibility? Of course. Even if you live in a rural area, anyone can become a victim of a break-in or any other crime that might occur on your own property. When facing danger, we essentially have a choice of two different responses: panic, and preparation.

Panic is an emotional response, and it can come in handy when it’s fight-or-flight. The truth is, however, that there aren’t a lot of fight-or-flight situations in modern life. It made sense for our ancestors to run from sabertooth tigers, but in daily life these scenarios are few and far between. More importantly, panic will do you no good whatsoever as a pre-emptive response to danger. Preparation, on the other hand, can help to ensure that those fight-or-flight scenarios are unlikely to happen.

Nobody can eradicate crime. Crime will always exist as long as anyone owns anything worth stealing. We can’t guarantee that we are never affected by crime, but with preparation, we can reduce the damage that crime will do if and when we are affected by it. There are a number of things that we can do to be more prepared for the possibility of crime:

1. Home Security

This one is obvious. A robust home security system means that criminals will be less likely to target your home in the first place. Even having the sticker for your alarm system on the window can make a criminal think twice before breaking in. If they choose to persist, then the sound of the alarm can be a tremendous deterrent on its own even before the authorities arrive.

Some homeowners keep firearms on hand to protect themselves in the event of a break-in, but we should be very cautious about making that decision. A firearm is more likely to harm the owner or their loved ones than it is to scare off an intruder. As far as guns go as deterrents, one of those signs reading “We don’t call 911!” is probably a lot safer than actually keeping a firearm in the house.

If you live in a suburb or in the city, you can generally expect the authorities to arrive in time to prevent a situation from escalating, so anyone considering the purchase of a firearm as part of their home security plan should definitely do the research and be very careful about the decision.

2. Home Insurance

Robust home insurance, including insuring the property inside of the home, means that if your home is broken into while you’re away, you’ll have some recourse whether or not the police catch the criminal before he sells off your big screen television set. If you can’t afford a robust policy, then buy as much protection as you can. The least amount of insurance you should buy should be as much as you can comfortably afford.

3. Neighborhood Watch

If you don’t have a neighborhood watch program in your area, consider starting one. Just getting acquainted with your neighbors can be a tremendous help in protecting your home and valuables. Letting them know when you’re going to be out of town for a few days, letting them know your work schedule and so on means that they’ll be able to identify a problem and contact the authorities if they see something suspicious.

The truth is that there’s no way to be one hundred percent safe from the risk of theft, vandalism and break-ins, but there’s quite a bit that we can do to be prepared, to make it far less likely that we become victims of crime, and to ensure that if we are victimized, that we will have some way to deal with that scenario.