Protecting Your Home From Intruders

Protecting your home from burglars may seem like a no-brainer to some. Unfortunately for many homeowners, it takes an actual break-in for them to turn their attention to securing their homes against intruders. Here are a few preemptive steps that you can take in order to put your mind at ease.

1. Install a security system.
Many modern homes come equipped with some form of security alarm. However, if you find yourself purchasing a home that doesn’t already have a security system in place, you should consider your options for outfitting your home with one. There are many different types of security systems to choose from, and picking the most expensive plan doesn’t always mean you are getting the most protection for your dollar. If you live in a rural area, for instance, focusing on a deterrent-based form of home security might better suit you than one that places police response as their most-prized feature. If it will take 15 minutes or more for a police officer to respond to your property, then you may need to consider a plan that places emphasis on loud alarms, or even a form of motion-sensor lighting to deter a break in. TopConsumerReviews.com has compiled an up-to-date list of some of the most comprehensive security plans on the market today.
http://www.topconsumerreviews.com/home-security/
2. Keep your doors and windows locked.
Many break-ins don’t actually require anything being “broken” in order for an intruder to gain access to your home. Keeping your windows and doors locked may seem like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised at the number of burglaries and home invasions that occur from homeowners ignoring this very practical safety measure. Also, if your home doesn’t already come equipped with them, consider purchasing deadbolts for all of the exit doors in your home. Additionally, consider installing a peephole in your door if you don’t already have one. Sometimes, all it takes is opening your door in response to a knock that can set off a home invasion. Never open your door to a stranger unless you are comfortable and secure in doing so. Don’t feel foolish asking for credentials when opening your door to someone claiming to work for the water or gas company, either. Many times, a burglar can shut off certain things in your home from the outside to pave the way for knocking at your door, claiming to be there to help restore your services.
3. Alert a trusted neighbor when you go on vacation.
Having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers will give your home the appearance of being occupied, and will take the attention away from the wandering eyes of a potential burglar. Also, if the neighbor sees suspicious activity, it will give you an extra line of defense in the event that your security system and safety measures happen to fail.
4. Leave an electronic appliance on that is visible through a window.
Many burglars prefer to do their work in your home while you are away. Leaving a television on in a room, or a light on in a window visible from the outside will give them the impression that your house is currently occupied. Many former burglars have stated that they avoid break-ins where there is an obvious risk of coming into contact with the homeowner.
5. Keep track of your spare keys.
Putting a spare key to your home under the mat isn’t the smartest option, and is in fact one of the first places many burglars check in order to ensure they can get into your house quickly and quietly. Consider hiding your spare key under a rock, away from the front door. This will ensure a tougher hunt for the potential burglar.
6. Landscaping.
Many people haven’t considered landscaping being an enabler of home invasions, but many landscaping options we use for our privacy concerns can actually end up HELPING a potential burglar gain access to your home. Privacy bushes and fences outside your first-floor bathroom window might seem like a good idea at first, until you consider that you are also giving a potential burglar an easily concealed place to work on entry into your home. Consider more sensible options, like window tinting or decorative cling wraps instead. If you must have a privacy hedge, consider one that loses it’s concealment capabilities when viewed from the front yard. This will ensure that your neighbor cannot see you get out of the shower, but would severely limit the amount of concealment a burglar could take advantage of.
For more information on how to secure your home, as well as tips for protecting yourself against home invasions, please visit the following links.

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/home-security-tips.htm
http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_pressreleases/2010/burglary_is_probably_the_most_preventable_crime-az.asp
http://www.crimedoctor.com/homeinvasion.htm

Flaming Sword Plant Cultivation

Growing Sword Plants Indoors 

Native to Central and South America, Vriesea plants, also known as sword plants are robust, easy to grow, low-maintenance plants that do well as indoor houseplants. Also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue”, Vriesea is one of the most common members of the forty genera of bromeliads. Vriesea provides brilliant, showy greenery.

An epiphyte in its native habitat, Vriesea does well in any well-light spot indoors. Vriesea can grow just as well with artificial light as it does with sunlight, but does best in a full sun location. Place the plant in the corner of a sunny room and it will flourish for years with little or no attention. Just keep in mind that the more sunlight the plant receives, the more moisture it requires. Sword plants thrive on high humidity. A sunny and highly moist kitchen, laundry room or steamy bathroom, are ideal locations for a collection of colorful and eye-catching Vriesea plants.

Description

There are more than 250 varieties of Vriesea across a broad spectrum of colors in both leaves and flower bracts and hundreds of different cultivars. Indoor gardeners delight in collecting and cultivating the many unusual varieties sporting variegated leaves and brilliantly colored bracts in every color of the rainbow.

Within the Vriesea genera are hundreds of tiny and medium sized plants. However, some varieties of Vriesea are within the tallest and largest of all bromeliads.

The most common of Vriesea varieties, the “Flaming” sword plant, is so named for its fire red bracts that appear when the plant is from three to five years old. Most Vriesea plants only flower once and then withers away, however, not before producing a batch of “pups” or new offset plants at the base of the parent plant. Remove the pups for transplanting when they are approximately half the size of the mother plant.

Cultivation

Sword plants grow best in a mixture of half regular potting soil and half orchid mix. A specialty soil mix for bromeliads is available from florists or plant nurseries. Sword plants can also be attached to a slab of wood, bark or a piece of freshwater driftwood. Do not use driftwood from the ocean. The salt embedded in the wood is harmful to plants. Vriesea plants do best when the temperature maintained between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Similar to all other bromeliads, Vriesea plants have a tank or cup in the center of the plant to hold moisture. Make sure that the cup is always filled with water. Sword plants prefer a humid atmosphere. Planting soil should remain slightly moist and never allowed to dry completely out. Maintain a high humidity level by misting the plant daily or placing the planting container on a pebble tray or close to other transpiring houseplants.

Shop online to find unique Vriesea plants to combine in a designer pot or ceramic container. A striking arrangement of sword plants is a popular type of floral arrangement often used in corporate office décor. The plant has no odor, is non-allergenic and requires very little care and attention.