When you have a busy family keeping on top of home security can be difficult, especially when you have family members coming and going at all hours and changing plans with very little notice. Making sure the doors are locked and your burglar alarm is set can be quite a challenge and even more so if your teenagers take the view that “well, Mum will be home in half an hour so there’s no point setting the alarm”. They can’t be sure that Mum won’t change plans and be back later, therefore potentially leaving the house unalarmed for a long period of time. If burglars are scoping out likely targets and they realise that one or more family members don’t bother with the alarm, then they can easily work out the best time to break in.
One easy way to manage this is to create a policy whereby the alarm is always to be set, even if another family member is due home soon. If someone arrives home and the alarm hasn’t been set then you know someone’s not sticking to the security plan. You could even go as far as using in-home CCTV cameras to determine who has and has not set the alarm, and for habitual non-setters this might be the action which changes their behaviour.
A checklist on the back of the door is a good way to remember to set the alarm and check that doors and windows are closed; you can even get kids into the habit of asking whether the alarm has been set, both as a reminder to activate it and as a way of instilling the importance of home security at a young age. Kids love to feel important, so if they know that reminding the adults to set the alarm is a really important job they will love to do it. During school holidays this could be really helpful for reminding grandparents or babysitters to set the alarm if they take the kids to the park or the swimming pool for the day – they won’t be in the habit of setting your alarm, so this little reminder could make all the difference.
If you have older children at University or who have moved out of the family home but still visit making sure they adhere to your security policy could be a challenge. They won’t be setting or disarming the alarm regularly so they won’t have that habit instilled within them; in these cases a checklist on the back of the door can be very useful, but make sure you don’t write the alarm code on it. Your checklist could be seen by a burglar from the outside, or by someone who is untrustworthy who has been let in to the home accidentally, perhaps by a well-meaning family member who hasn’t asked the meter reader to provide ID.
We can’t guarantee that everybody will remember to set the alarm every time, but by addressing the issue with the whole family you’re likely to create a habit that will last a lifetime and keep you all safe.