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Shelter from the storm: is your home a refuge of safety and security for your family?

If it's made of glass, it can be broken. Windows are a common point of entry for home intruders.
If it's made of glass, it can be broken. Windows are a common point of entry for home intruders.
AP photo

It happened on the quiet, forested streets of a small suburban village in the Chicago suburbs, a town remarkable for its stately architecture, including a notable Frank Lloyd Wright. But in many other respects, it could have been any peaceful suburban enclave, with its inhabitants enjoying the first few days of a long awaited spring.

The couple had lovingly rehabbed a vintage 1920's bungalow, carefully selecting materials which reflected their personal style, but also honored the craftsmanship of the past - wood, tile, and stone. The finished result was tasteful and welcoming. Upon moving in with their children, they realized how good it was to be home at last.

But in their careful deliberations, poring over samples of flooring, swatches of fabric, chips of paint, and countless trips to showrooms stocked with cabinets, furniture, windows, and more, they forgot to consider something elementally simple. When you strip away the creature comforts, aesthetic embellishments, and prideful pretenses, a house is first and foremost, shelter from the storm.

Our earliest ancestors understood this fact, and a combination of natural elements, savage beasts, and hostile competitors drove them to seek refuge in caves. Undoubtedly, those that were able to obtain safer, more defensible caves fared better than those with inferior shelter. But unfortunately, so many of us have moved safety and security down towards the bottom of our list of priorities when it comes to our modern homes.

The couple in question went to great lengths and expense to create a beautiful and comfortable home for themselves and their children. But when it came to protecting what they had worked so painstakingly to achieve, they relied instead upon a false sense of security.

That illusion shattered as easily as the living room window did when the intruder entered at about Noon on a Thursday. Within minutes, he made his way upstairs to the master bedroom, filled a laundry bag with his plunder, and beat a hasty retreat.

The window will be repaired and the valuables can be replaced. But the family will never look at their home quite the same way again.

All across Chicagoland, there are two kinds of people. Those who believe "it could never happen to us" and those who are comforted knowing they've taken action to protect and provide security for their family.

Locked doors and windows keep honest people out, and insurance helps you pick up the pieces after something has gone terribly wrong. But just as any responsible person takes an interest in preventing health problems before they occur, every homeowner should take steps to prevent an uninvited guest from entering their home.

The most effective strategy is to deter and detect a would-be intruder before they cross the threshold or windowsill. A trained security professional can best advise you how to accomplish these objectives in a way that is compatible with your lifestyle and budget.

People only invest in real security - not just a false sense of it - at two points in their lives. Before something bad happens, or after. It's so easy, a caveman can do it. But why do so many of us think we know better?

About the author: George A. White is a state-licensed security professional based in the Chicago area. His passion for home safety and security has lead him to pursue training and certification in locksmithing; safe and vault installation and service; and alarm system installation and programming, including National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) certification. For more information or to receive a free home security assessment, please contact George at


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