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in: Homeownership, Lifestyle

The 9 P.M. Security Routine

In The Safety Trap by security expert Spencer Coursen, he mentions that a surprising number of burglaries occur because the homeowner left a door or window unlocked. He describes one case where a wealthy client of his kept the key fobs for his luxury vehicles near the front door. The rich client failed to lock the front door, and a thief was able to quietly enter this man’s home, grab a fob, and drive off with a car. 

The owner was in his bedroom the whole time, oblivious to the fact that he was getting robbed right underneath his nose. 

This rich client called Spencer for a consult on installing a sophisticated security system to avoid another brazen theft. 

“Was the front door locked?” Spencer initially inquired regarding that theft. 

“Well, no . . .” responded the rich guy. 

“Why not try locking your doors first before we spend a lot of money on a security system?” Spencer asked.

While this “Well duh!”-inducing story probably makes you think “I’d never be so dumb,” chances are, you are sometimes that dumb. Dimes to donuts, you do sometimes leave your doors unlocked, even when you’re sleeping.

That’s because you haven’t routinized the locking of your doors. You just do it willy-nilly, making yourself re-remember to do it each night. And sometimes your memory fails you.

According to Spencer, one of the easiest, most bang-for-your-buck things you can do to improve your home security is simply performing a set security check before you turn in for the night. He calls this the “9 p.m. routine,” though you can do it at whatever time works for you. The important thing is to simply be consistent. 

Burglars are criminals of opportunity. The easier it will be to burglarize your home without getting caught, the more likely they are to commit the crime. If you make burgling your house a bit more difficult, you reduce the likelihood of your house getting hit.

The 9 p.m. routine is an easy way to ensure your home is as secure as possible and less of a desirable target for criminals. 

It only takes five minutes and requires doing the following things: 

  • Make sure all home doors are shut and locked.
  • Make sure all home windows are shut and locked.
  • Draw the blinds.
  • Ensure outside lights are on (to make this easier, install a solar timetable light switch).
  • If you park a car outside, double-check that the vehicle is locked and valuables are removed. (I’m always surprised by the number of people on my Nextdoor feed complaining that a gun was stolen from the glove compartment of their car. When asked if the car was locked, the answer is often no.)
  • If you have a home security system, enable it.

Many of you are already doing your version of the 9 p.m. routine. Consider this some friendly encouragement to keep it up.

But as Spencer noted, many people don’t do something as basic as locking their doors and shutting their windows. If this is you, consider this your nudge to start your own nightly security check.

Your home is your sanctuary. Develop this simple habit that can keep it that way. 

For more tips on personal security, listen to our podcast with Spencer Coursen:

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