A PCS to a new city can leave a military family feeling ill at ease in their new digs. A new neighborhood, a new house, a new house with unfamiliar sounds; it can all be disconcerting just when you are trying to settle in.
When leaving for vacation, we take all kinds of precautions. We hire a pet-sitter and have them bring in the mail every day. We make sure every door and window is locked and secure for our time away. All this effort for less than 4% of the year is great, but what about the other 96% of the time that we aren’t traveling? Burglaries don’t just happen when you’re on vacation.
Three out of every five home burglaries happen during the day while people are at work or school. You probably don’t take as many precautions before you go to work as you do before you go on vacation. If the house is new to you such as after a PCS, you may not know where to start to secure your new home.
Here are three easy ways to make theft prevention part of your daily routine as you begin life at your new duty station.
#1 Don’t Be a Show-Off After a Military Move
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things, only that while you’re away from home, valuables should be stored and put away out of sight. While cleaning up any clutter, make sure jewelry, cash, and small electronics can’t be seen from any windows. Post-PCS unpacking often means boxes left at the curb. This gives everyone who passes by a good idea of what your house contains.
Additionally, you might make a large purchase such as a new TV or gaming system. Before putting the cardboard boxes out on the curb for recycling, break them down, so no one sees evidence of your possessions or recent purchases.
#2 Knock Knock…Anyone Home?
For those living off-base, making it appear that someone is home is a great way to deter break-ins. When the service member is TDY or deployed, the spouse and kids left at home might feel vulnerable. Placing lights on a timer not only fools potential burglars but also allows you to come home to a nicely lit environment.
A home automation system makes this incredibly easy to do. If you’re out running errands and will be back in a few hours, you can leave the radio or the TV on for noise. If you have an extra car, consider parking it in the driveway instead of the garage during the day to trick any would-be burglars into thinking you’re home.
#3 Invest in Home Security
There’s no shame in getting some help from security professionals! Only 17% of homes have a home security system, and yet 90% of convicted burglars say they would avoid a home with an obvious alarm system.
Whether your spouse is deployed, you’re doing a quick grocery run, heading to work for the whole day, or heading halfway across the world on vacation, you can have peace of mind that your home is safe with a professional home security system. Many military spouses like the added security of a professional system while the service member is away for any length of time.
By incorporating just a few small habits into your morning routine before heading out the door at your new duty station or investing in a home security system, you can feel safe and secure in off-base housing.