Home Security is More Than Just a Deadbolt

We live in a time when we welcome more strangers into our homes than ever before. Professionals like house cleaners, electricians, dog walkers and pet sitters, even the delivery people for Amazon have access to lockboxes with house keys! With such unprecedented access to our homes (as well as more people working outside the home), Paula’s Pet Sitting wants to make sure that our clients understand that home security is more than locking your windows and doors while you are away.

Here is a useful list of steps you should consider while ensuring your home, and possessions, will be safe from intruders and unscrupulous visitors:

Make Sure Professionals in Your Home are Vetted
When considering which professional to allow into your home, especially when the work will be taking place while you’re away, be sure to choose the best. Paula’s Pet Sitting uses several methods to ensure her pet professionals are respecting your home and possessions while they are visiting your pets.

Background checks are required of every pet professional working with Paula’s Pet Sitting, which checks for past criminal history, education, employment history and a thorough reference check. We require that our team demonstrates character and a passion for pets through past actions, we don’t just take their word for it. Paula’s Pet Sitting also enforces a pre-employment and random drug testing policy in order to ensure our team members are in a responsible state of mind.

While GPS tracking ensures you know when and where your pets are visited and walked, it is also useful to know that our team members are fulfilling all requirements you expect of our professional service. Finally, Paula’s Pet Sitting is fully insured with liability and bonding, so that you can rest easy knowing that if something does happen, it will be taken care of.

While all these steps seem common sense, not all companies have completed them. Before welcoming a professional service into your home, ask them about background testing, insurance, drug testing, and other methods of ensuring quality of service. These virtues are the markings of a professional service over someone just looking to make fast money.

Be Careful with Your Possessions:
While it is human nature to be trusting, even more so when the person we are welcoming into our home is a friend or long-time employee, the truth is you never be sure. Many people can be otherwise trustworthy but rationalize a need to steal from trusted friends or employers. Even though your housekeeper or pet sitter has been thoroughly screened for employment, it is always wise to keep some items in a filing cabinet, safe or closet where only you have the key.

Firearms should always be stored in a locked gun cabinet, both for general safety and to prevent others from finding and exploiting your collection. Items with value on resale should also be stored in a locked cabinet or cupboard. Some of these items, such as prescription medications and alcohol, may surprise you by being highly valuable for someone looking to make fast cash. Other items, like extra money, jewelry and coin collections, should be stored in a locked safe or cabinet as a matter of habit for their high resale value.

Essentially, if it is portable and worth some money, it may tempt someone visiting your home to cross the line and betray your trust. Save them the temptation by locking these items away and ensuring you are the only one with access.

Be Proactive to Keep Your Home Secure:
Some simple tips may be the difference between being visited by a home burglar or being avoided as too much trouble. Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize your risk.

In Michigan you do not have a legal obligation to tell the person entering your home that you have home video surveillance. While audio recordings are illegal due to wiretap laws, you can use a visual video camera in specific areas of your home to deter thieves. Just avoid private areas like bathrooms or spaces where visitors would naturally take off their clothes, such as bedrooms. Nannycams, small cameras designed to only take visual footage and are easily hidden, are available at any budget.

Get engaged in your neighborhood so that you have a buddy system, especially if you are a frequent traveler. While this neighbor can keep an extra eye on your place, be sure to hire a service (or more than one service) which regularly keeps the yard tidy, brings in the mail and packages, and takes out the trash. Other than your neighbor and your pet service provider, try not to let everyone know you will be absent from your home for an extended time.

Try to beef up security in your home with just a few adjustments. Your local law enforcement is always open to a home visit to point out any obvious security issues and ways to increase your home security. Many of their suggestions will be common sense, such as using solar powered exterior lights to make sure all sides of the house have illumination (no more dark corners for burglars to hide). Install motion activated lights on all entrances, back and front.

If you have the extra budget, a home security system (or even just their sign) can deter a thief from choosing your house. A dog is also excellent to discourage unwanted visitors. Most importantly, do not leave house keys in obvious hiding spots, such as fake rocks, under doormats or above door frames. Burglars know to search for typical key hiding spots. Get a key lock-box for a small fee to ensure your keys are staying with you and not making life easy for intruders.  Many people think a simple locked doorknob is sufficient to prevent a break-in; consider adding an upgraded lock on your doors.  Click here for an explanation of the different locks available.

While not all of these tips are exclusive to those with pets, Paula’s Pet Sitting wants your home to be safe whether you have a fur army at home or not. That’s why we are committed to working together to make sure your home is as secure as it can be, often with just a few tweaks to everyday habits. If you are at all in doubt about whether your house has a home security flaw and would like some advice, Paula’s Pet Sitting is more than willing to make a visit to discuss your concerns.

Remember that home security might start with a locked door, but a little more effort can ensure your home is safe – both inside and out.

Blog author Lauren Pescarus is an admitted Cat Person who admires all pets from afar. She lives at home in Romania with her husband, and loves to buy things for the pets she will soon convince her lucky spouse to bring home. For more information about Lauren’s writing services, follow this LINK.

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