Here are some tips on personal safety. Many of these opportunistic crimes are preventable. By doing research up front, and then using some common sense techniques, it is possible to avoid becoming a victim. 

When hiring a contractor, referrals through online social networks or word of mouth is likely the most trusted source. Before allowing anyone to begin work in your home, your personal safety and the safety of your family must be considered.

There are incidents reported each year involving homeowners being victimized by home service technicians, so screening is a necessity. Here are some essential questions to ask about safety and security before allowing the work to begin.

  • If the company hires sub contractors how are they screened?
  • Does the company conduct criminal background checks and perform regular drug testing as permitted by law.
  • Does the company perform credit checks on their employees? This should absolutely be a concern. A contractor working in your home who has bad credit, is going to have the aptitude and ability to steal.
  • If you live in an apartment, don’t take for granted that the person theyr will send is trustworthy. How does your landlord screen the service people they hire?

Single women, the elderly or disabled can be easy targets. If you are alone and you are expecting a contractor, try some of these tips.

  • Have a friend come over for a visit while the contractor is there.
  • If you are alone make a phone call while the contractor is there. Tell the person on the other end that you have someone here working. This may seem rude, but it may disarm a perp who is planning to act.
  • Keep the blinds, curtains open, and keep the front door open if possible.
  • Tell the contractor that you have a boyfriend, or friend on the way over. This way there will be an expectation that someone is about to come to the door any minute.
  • Never put yourself in a compromising position, ie. walk into a closet with the tech. behind you, into a basement without an exit plan strategy

Finally, when interviewing a contractor, trust your gut. The most important criteria when hiring a contractor is choosing someone you trust. This person will be in your house, around your family, and maybe even ripping out walls, floors and ceilings. If you don’t trust the person, for any reason, even just a gut instinct, then don’t hire him.