When the weather warms, burglars, pickpockets, car thieves and rapists come out in force.
You have to review your personal "defense department" to make sure your home, your car and your person are as secure as possible.
The more you know about personal security, the less anxiety you'll have to suffer. And it could save you a lot of money -- even your life.
Many books have been written on how to protect your home, but a recent publication, "Protection Made Easy," shows how to get good protection without having to spend a lot of money.
Here are some sample items (along with my own security suggestions):
1. Answering doors. Don't automatically open the door without knowing who's on the other side. Get a wide angle, peephole glass for your door (just a few dollars). A chain with long screws for extra installation strength is handy to receive identification through the door slot. But don't count on door chains to keep out burglars. They're easily ripped open.
2. Bedroom door locks. If you live in a crime area, put a deadbolt lock on your bedroom door. This is a good idea for women living alone. But check with your local fire department to make sure you won't become locked in if there's a fire.
3. Bells on doors. For very little money you can hang bells from the inside knobs of your entry doors. The bells should be light and ring easily if the door is pushed or the knob is turned. Attach the bells to the knob with tape.
4. Doorstops. You can put rubber wedges under doors to keep thieves out while you sleep. These are especially good when you're traveling. For $5 or so you can get alarm doorstops that make a loud noise if the door is disturbed.
5. Garage security. Your garage, if you have one, is one of the weak links in your security perimeter. Once inside your garage, a thief can quietly work on the access door to your home, undisturbed and out of view of passersby.
Put good locks on your garage doors. Better yet, put an automatic opener on your garage door. These can't be opened except by an electronic device in your car (or purse or pocket).
Put a good lock on your inside access door and put window locks on your garage windows (paint the windows with something light and opaque so potential burglars can't see if your car is there).
6. Lighting. If you live alone, keep a light or two on all night (or at least until 2 a.m. or so). Use electric timers if necessary. These lights illuminate a thief's actions and cause confusion as to what you're up to.
7. Telephones. Never give your address over the phone to strangers. Just say "hello." Do not rush out after receiving a call that a friend or relative has been the victim of an accident, that you have an important package at the post office or some other such message. Hang up and call back to verify the call. Many a victim has dashed out after receiving a bogus call, leaving the home open to burglars (who called from a pay phone around the corner).
You can get a copy of the book "Protection Made Easy" by sending $6.70 to: C&L Publishing Co.; 101 Park Washington Court; Falls Church, Va. 22046.
The book also goes into considerable detail on how to "fight dirty" to resist a thug if your life is in danger or rape is imminent.