We’ve written before about how your seemingly safest place – your home – can actually be full of unexpected dangers. Our assumption of safety and our relaxation of our normal alertness upon entering our front door means we risk being surprised by already present intruders.
There are – sadly – many dimensions to the risks we have to always keep in mind at home, and we’ve discussed several of them before – the dangers posed when a safe ordinary seeming person comes to our front door, for example. And we’ve also considered the need to re-secure your house whenever you enter it after an absence, in case it has been burgled, and in case there is a burglary in progress that you interrupt.
This last article suggested that any time you return home and expect other people to be properly present there, you call out to them and exchange all-clear code phrases – things that sound ordinary if intruders are present, but which allow you all to confirm your respective safety. Calling out ‘It’s only me’ as a signal you are safely entering the house without others coercing you, and replying ‘I’m in here’ or something for the at home people to indicate that they are in a safe situation too takes no time, no effort, no energy. It will be more bothersome for you to work the button of your garage door opener than it will be to do this simple all clear exchange each time you return home.
The downside, if you don’t, can be horrific. In addition to the example in the previous article, here’s a new example of how a burglar broke into a house, and during the course of working his way through it, came across a 93 year old man who lived there. The burglar beat the man, robbed him, and tied him up.
And then the man’s 84 year old wife came home. It was broad daylight – early afternoon – a very ‘safe’ seeming time of day.
As bad luck would have it, she’d just been to the bank and withdrawn $400 in cash. She heard her husband moaning upstairs, and so did what most people would instinctively do – rushed up without pausing to think, to see what was wrong with him.
Big mistake. The intruder tied her up too, robbed her, and also raped her. Details of this sad story, here.
If the husband and wife had arranged a code-word exchange, this could have been prevented. Don’t let it happen to you. Arrange a code word system with everyone who lives with you – for your safety and for their safety.