Peace of Mind | Urban Living

Peace of Mind

Giving to your family to let them know you care

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Peace of Mind

December is a time of giving—giving to the less fortunate to make sure they have shoes, socks coats and food; giving to your family to let them know you care, and giving to your beloved because, oh, the trouble you'd be in if you opted out of presenting a token of your affection.

Don't forget to give to yourself as well. This year, you should consider investing in your personal safety. There are self-defense items that we take for granted, like pepper spray or mace. But the downside of those tools is that they can be used against you if an attacker can wrestle them from your hands. The newest items are personal alarms or sirens that can be attached to a backback, keychain or purse or look like jewelry. You simply activate the alarm, and it emits a loud noise to scare off the attacker and attract the attention of passersby. There are also some security devices that can be silently activated to alert a network of friends and family. Press the gizmo attached to your sports bra, and a text message is sent to whomever you choose, telling them that you need help.

The hottest gifts right now have to do with home safety. You'll find a huge variety of cameras and alarms offered by hundreds of companies in a wide price range from $19.99 to tens of thousands of dollars. You can call a local home-security company to install a system for you and pay a monthly fee of $30+ to monitor your doors and windows, or you can purchase do-it-yourself gadgets off the web. There's the new doorbell with a camera which you can answer on your phone to see who's standing at your door. The Nest system has been out now for a few years and is a handy, nicely designed smoke and CO alarm ($99 each at local hardware stores) that even a 2-year-old can install. Smart home security systems have now morphed into the Amazon Echo, so your little home-bot can watch out for you.

The one constant is that crime isn't going away as our city grows. If you actually watch the news on local channels, you can bet almost every broadcast will have videos of thieves stealing UPS packages from people's doorsteps. Don't have anything delivered to your home if you can avoid it—have items delivered this season to your workplace instead.

If you do install an alarm system, it also has the benefit of adding value to your home when you resell. Buyers want safety and security as much as you do. So while you're out shopping this season, consider spending a bit on yourself. Give yourself the priceless gift that will continue to give for years to come: peace of mind.

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