Keeping the different parts of your life safe and secure can sometimes feel a little intimidating. Should you be spending tons of cash on a home security system or on identity theft protection? Should you invest in a car alarm or buy an expense virus protection program for your computer? These are all good ideas and sometimes necessary but there are also straightforward and commonsense solutions that are low budget and won’t break the bank. We’ve put together an entire plan of these ideas to get you on track to safety and security.
The Safety Triad
There are three main areas of one’s life that need securing: your home, your personal information and your vehicle. For the purpose of our low-tech security program we’re going to assume you have car for a vehicle but take note that the same tips for a car could help with a motorcycle, bike or even a skateboard with a little modification.
When talking about security and safety, it’s easy to overthink and start seeing scary people everywhere. Avoid falling into that mental trap. The idea is to empower yourself and trust your instincts. The world can be an overwhelmingly unnerving place, stay focused, be mindful, and manage your safety daily with the help of some of these tips.
Take Care of Home
If you’re unable to pay for a high end home security system consider doing a couple (or all) of the following home security measures to fend away thieves.
- Purchase inexpensive contact alarms that attach to your windows. The key to affectively using these alarms is the following: remember to turn them on. If someone were to break your window or move your window from where it should be, the alarm will give off a high pitched sound that will freak out anyone trying to break in. These alarms are fairly inexpensive, even as low as around $10 an alarm, and can be purchased at your local hardware store or from Amazon.
- Get a security bar for your sliding doors. If someone were to try and open your door they will have a hard time overcoming this simple tool that will keep the door from moving. Take note that when your security bar is engaged a thief can’t move the door and neither can you until you take it down from inside. Keep this in mind as you craft your fire safety emergency plan.
- Install a security door that has a deadbolt pre-installed to your entryways. This is probably one of the more expensive fixes on the list when you factor in spending about $100 for a door. Then you have the choice of installing the door yourself or paying to get it done which I would say shouldn’t run you more than $50.
- Participate in your local neighborhood watch and get to know your neighbors. It’s easier to keep your home safe if there are more eyes than yours on it.
It’s hard to remember life without being online several hours of the day. As we transition our financial lives to online portals, log into Facebook, and access our finances with our smart phones the possibility of accidently sharing our information or exposing ourselves to dangerous situations increases exponentially.
- If you are on social media avoid giving out personal identifying information (PII). On their own most information is harmless to share but when combined things like birthdays, maiden names and email address can prove very useful for scammers.
Examples of PII include:
- Social Security number
- License and other government ID numbers
- Birth date and place of birth
- Home telephone numbers
- Login names
- Create passwords that contain a mix of different words, symbols, numbers, capitol and lower-case letters. Don’t be sentimental when creating your passwords. Avoid using important dates from your life, a family member’s life or even one of your friend’s special dates. Also remember to change your passwords every now and then and don’t reuse passwords on different sites.
- Turn off your GPS tracker especially if you are live streaming from your home. Avoid showing home related details such as the exterior of your home or the actual number associated with your home or apartment.
- Avoid telling people that you are out of town on social media. Going back to home safety, enlist the aid of a family member who can check on your home, pick up your mail, and turn your lights on so that your home looks occupied if you are out of town.
- Ok, I’m going to sound like your Grandma but lock your car when you’re actually in it.
- When you’re out of your car remove items from the interior that would be enticing to a would-be thief.
- If you don’t have an alarm or even if you do have an alarm, consider using an inexpensive steering lock. Steering locks can be overcome by a good thief but they discourage thieves who are often looking for the easiest target that requires the least amount of work.
Take Care of Home: First step is ordering these well-reviewed window alarms for $26.69 on Amazon. Next we’ll head to Home Depot to pick-up a sliding door security bar for $16.47 and for now, we’re skipping the security door - $43.16
Cyber Surveillance: All this cost is time and honestly not a lot of it - $0
Total: $74.95 for a lot more piece of mind than you currently have.
This post was written by Michelle Jackson, a PERA member and former University of Colorado employee. If you would like to write a guest post for The Dime, please send it to dimecontact at copera dot org.