KEYWORDS: house, phone, security, home, neighbours

Home Security Guidelines

David Berg

8/83DO 1607

Some pointers which we hope will help you improve your security!

Compiled by Dad & Staff for [Office] Homes, with good tips for all [especially for those in Third World countries].


—There should be a security officer in charge of security for the house. He should compile a security checklist of all points to be checked daily. Everybody should be familiar with all the rules & abide by them.

—Be mindful of security during meetings. No excessively loud singing or talking!

—A very thorough security check should be done at night before going to bed, by two boys if possible, making sure that everything is locked up, all security lights are on‚ everything is out of the yard & laundry is taken down at night. Anything left out might be stolen.

—Make sure doors & all gates leading off the property are locked. For those living in the house not everyone needs a key.

—… Don't open gates or doors unless you're sure who's there!

—Every door & window in the house should have a lock or be unopenable from the outside. If not‚ padlocks or bolts should be purchased & attached to all doors & windows not barred.

—The person who is in charge of security should never go to bed unless he is 100% sure that the house is totally secure & everything has been taken care of that needs to be.


—At the end of the workday everything should be put away neatly & orderly.


—Keep the outside of your house & your yard in very good appearance to be a good testimony to others.

—If you have an unusually large number of people living in your Home‚ try to schedule your laundry so you don't have lines & lines of laundry where neighbours can see you have a lot of people there.

—… Shed street shoes out of sight on porch before entering inner rooms of house. Don't bring home dirt & disease!


—Westerners are very revered in many countries, so use it. On the other hand, young Westerners living together may be regarded as being sexually free, etc., so watch out for curious maids & neighbours, etc.

—If there are parts of the garden that are in plain view of the neighbours, & you think you need more privacy, a possible solution is to put up a curtain of rattan or bamboo to block the view.


—Separate [office] trash … from normal throw away. If no fireplace, obtain a large barrel with a screen so that [office] trash can be burned in your yard if possible.

—Burn [office] trash regularly so it doesn't build up.

—Find out when the pickups are for garbage removal & set out your normal household trash on time. Try to dispose of your trash in as sanitary a way as possible, so as not to offend your neighbours.


—Family tapes or Scripture tapes should not be played so loudly that they can be heard outside.

—No loud Family singing that can be heard outside.

—No typing, loud music, etc., late at night, & a definite time for lights out.

—If you do a lot of typing, you should also make sure that it can't be heard from the outside.

—There should be no loud talking or singing, chemicaling of the pool, no swimming, no taking out garbage or anything noisy after 10 p.m., or anything that would … disturb neighbours.

Devotions & group meetings must be carried on in as quiet & tranquil a manner as possible so as to not create any noise that might [disturb] the neighbours. During meetings windows may have to be closed, as sound could carry to the street. No loud singing, & glass curtains closed if it's during the day. …


—… Simple, cheap glass or net curtains are an easy way to ensure privacy during the day. Whatever you do, make sure people can't see into your house day or night.

—High walls do not ensure privacy, since locals can often be very curious. A neighbour can stick their head over just to look, as could passers-by.

—Maintain good relations with your neighbours. Remember, it just takes one complaint from one neighbour & you may [have trouble]! …

—Your initial arrival at a new location is very important, as it could make or break you.

—When moving into a house … first impressions are very important. Examine your lifestyle & that of your community carefully, see where they differ, & try as much as possible to conform!

—Remember—in a strange country, the local neighbours are always right!


Avoid grouping … in front of the house when you come home. …


—Avoid discussing [private] matters on the phone. … Lines can often cross. … One or two specific persons should be designated to answer the phone at all times. …

—If you happen to have a party-line phone‚ make sure it's covered while you run to get someone, as people can hear on the line right into your house!

—Don't give or take [private] phone numbers over the phone.

—Don't give out any information to casual callers on the phone.

—The person who answers the door & phone should be [prepared to greet/talk with the] landlord. …

—If the landlord calls, asking to speak to the tenant, & he isn't available …, just tell him the tenant is not available …, & ask if you can take a message.

—Have the phone number of the police‚ hospital, fire, etc., posted by each phone.


—[Be prepared for] a "Knock at the Door," by officials, or your landlord, etc.

—[When you don't know who is knocking:] Someone should be designated to answer the door, at which time another person should back them up. …

—When answering the door [or phone] don't give your name like "This is Such-&-such‚" etc. Don't give out any info to casual callers without first having them identify themselves. …


—The key to the front gate should be left in a convenient place inside the house that everybody knows about in case of an emergency, close to the door but high enough to be kept away from the children. The older children from 7 or 8 years onward should be taught where all the keys are as well‚ in case of emergency, such as a fire & they need to get out quickly. You must be able to get out quickly if need be!

—Make sure the doorbell works.


—Rules for workmen, etc., coming on the property:

  1. Only who's needed can come in.
  2. Have one of your people to each of theirs at all times while they're working on your property.
  3. Stick with them at all times.
  4. All inside doors to the bedrooms should be locked.
  5. They shouldn't see anybody they don't have to. The ones they should see should be able-bodied men, so they can see the house is well-guarded.
  6. Keep all valuables hidden.

—Really count the cost before you invite workmen over, as it means they'll come into the house. …

—If you offer a juice or coffee to workmen, give them disposable cups that should be discarded afterward for health reasons.

—Tip delivery boys, workmen, etc. …

—Don't feel obligated to bring anybody into your house that you don't want to, unless it's the landlord after his 24–hour notice that he's coming. (If you have already agreed on this in your lease.)

—The livingroom should be kept [ready for visitors] on short notice; you wouldn't have to do a major clean up.


Girls should dress conservatively when outside the house—as well as inside the house if they might possibly be seen by outsiders.



—Before anybody goes out [let others know your plans]. …

—The morning is a good time for announcements & plans so outside trips can be coordinated & organized. During united prayer in the morning & at night is a good time to pray [for your landlord] & the relations with your neighbours. …

—In crime-ridden poor Third World countries it might be best to avoid being on the streets after dark.

Beware of taxi drivers‚ as sometimes they work in collusion with thieves, etc. Avoid poor parts of town & make them stick to the main routes.

—When someone's out shopping or on an errand for any other reason‚ they should phone in periodically & phone just before they come back‚ to see if anything is needed. …

—When anybody comes back from being out, they should remove their street clothes & shower or rinse off in the pool before they make contact with anybody else in the house. Street shoes should be left hidden near the door to your house, & you should switch into indoor slippers or flip-flops, etc.

—Whenever you leave the gate you should consider yourselves as on parade, because all eyes will probably be on you, especially if you are obviously a foreigner.

—You might consider sticking with the same buddy as much as possible, especially in the case of girls going with different guys, as it might look a little bit too free to the outside eye.

—In poor third World countries it is always better to get a rickshaw, taxi or van with a driver instead of yourself doing the driving, as they know the streets & how to get there better & all the responsibility is theirs.—And it's much cheaper & safer than renting or buying a vehicle! …

—Be very wary of pickpockets & holdups while you're out. Don't wear fancy jewelry or fancy watches or carry too much money!

—If you are held up, consider your life more valuable than your money, jewelry‚ etc., and surrender them quickly.—Share the wealth!

—Be cautious about giving out your address or telephone number to anyone even for business.


A Xeroxed copy of your passport photo page & visa page should be carried with you at all times instead of your actual passport, which should be left at home in your fleebag unless absolutely needed.

—Those going out should have the phone number memorised. …

—Locals can be very inquisitive & curious, but just because they ask you a question doesn't mean you have to answer it directly—you can be vague & put them off without offending them.

—Foreigners are usually expected to dress well, & when out, wear slacks & nice shirts, etc.‚ short haircuts, avoid scruffy blue jeans, and other "hippie" attire.

—When you take a taxi or rickshaw, make sure the meter works, or if not, that you work out a price before you go!

—Avoid gangs of men or boys standing together.

—In general, avoid having taxis pick you up or leave you off at your door. It's better to walk to a nearby main street & flag one down there. When you come home, it can drop you off near your Home. A taxi should only come to the door if you have a load too big to carry or the situation warrants it.


—Anybody going out should make sure they're carrying enough money should any emergency arise & you're not able to come home. You should go two-by-two whenever possible on all outings, etc.


10. WATER:

—Water may have to be boiled in poor Third World countries. Study your water system & plan out what to do if there are water cuts or electricity cuts, how to conserve your water.

—You should have a reserve tank & plastic jugs of drinking water in case the water goes off. Change it regularly.

11. FIRE:

—You should have a fire drill not long after you move in, to determine the best routes for emergency exits. Make sure everyone, even children, knows how to leave the Home quickly!


—Get the local newspaper daily & have someone who reads the language check the local news, so that you can get in the groove of what's happening within the country politically & otherwise.

—Everyone should watch local news or listen to radio news regularly‚ even if it needs to be translated.


—Go around the house & turn on inside & outside security lights at night when it gets dark. In the morning, at daybreak, someone should turn off the outside lights. It's not a good testimony to the neighbours if outside lights are left on after it is light. At reveille, inside lights can be turned off, house opened up, make sure glass curtains are closed, etc.

—The Home should be on a schedule that relates to the System surrounding, so that lights aren't on too late at night‚ nor do you get up too late in the morning.

—If there aren't adequate security lights outside, you should make one of your first projects to plan where they can be put up. Neon lights are very inexpensive to operate.


—Have a designated cutoff time at night and a definite time for everybody to be in bed.

Do you have any tips?—Send them in today! WLY!