Home OwnershipSupplements

Home Sweet(er) Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated a plethora of both personal and global concerns as many of us have been forced for the first time in years, to sit still and reflect. While it has coaxed many into healthier routines that include cooking, exercising, and taking time to pray and meditate, for others, it has forced them to take more stock in their dwellings.

Truthfully, as we dash about our homes — being all we can be — rarely have we taken note of the damp growing down the basement wall, the minor (soon to be major) home repairs that require attention, or the lax security of our doors, windows, and patios. In fact, home security — and fears associated with being burgled — have topped the lists of concerns many Americans have expressed since the onset of nationwide quarantine.

“For the first time ever, I have had to leave my tweens alone in the house to get groceries or run errands, and it makes me a little anxious,” one mother of twin 12-year-old daughters told me. “They would normally be in school, and since I didn’t want them in the stores with me without masks or gloves, I had to take a long look at the security system in my home. I needed to determine how best to safeguard them in the home alone.”

Others worried that the pandemic would push desperate citizens into recklessness, where they would invade others’ homes for basic necessities like water, toilet paper, and food.

“My roommate and I became leery of anyone outside our apartment door — even if they were just passing by headed to the stairwell. Every noise made us believe we were sitting ducks about to be robbed,” another District resident told me. “We decided to install a home security camera and purchase a door security bar for the front door which has helped greatly.”

The anxiety is not unwarranted, as many homeowners install security systems, as homes without security systems are up to 300 times more likely to be burgled than those with active security alarms. Additionally, 95 percent of home security owners are satisfied with their security systems and feel more relaxed as a result.

With ongoing civil unrest, however, many Black homeowners are making gun ownership a part of their home security as well. Exercising their 2nd Amendment right to own and secure their property with firearms, African Americans have historically done so as a matter of their citizenship. Simple advice: If you must own a gun, do so responsibly. Keep all weapons in safe and secure places — preferably a gun safe with the ammunition stored elsewhere, but handy. Ensure that any children in the home are cautioned about handling the weapon(s), and be sure users have been trained thoroughly on the care and use of the weapon.

Our homes are our castles — our spaces of respite, calm and peace. It has never been more important for homeowners to secure their homes and work to protect their families. But it is equally important that our homes sweet home, become even sweeter. This Washington Informer supplemental guide to securing your home is designed to answer questions you may have about both the security of your home and value of various security innovations.

Read, Learn, Enjoy.

Dr. S

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