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Safety, even in small towns

Terror. Terror and fear. That's what everyone who lived near railroad tracks was feeling until Rafael Resendez-Ramirez turned himself in to Texas Rangers on Tuesday, July 12. Even people who lived in small towns with low crime rates were saying that "they were locking their doors for the first time since they'd moved to that area."

It's sad, but a lot of us don't realize some of the things we should already be doing until it's too late. It doesn't matter what the size of your town is or that your town's crime rate is even lower than what most HMO's cover days. You need to be locking your doors.

I'm not trying to sound paranoid, but it's true.

My parents live in a small rural town in Iowa where my dad is a pastor and lives right next to the church. The town is so small that it doesn't have any four-way stops, much less any need for traffic lights. The crime rate is so low that a bicycle being stolen would probably make front page news for months.

About 75 miles away at a county jail, a man escaped after killing a prison guard. Somehow this man made it all the way to my parents' town. My mom was upstairs watching TV while my dad was next door doing some work at the church. This escaped convict walked right into their unlocked house, while it was still daylight, and apparently went through my parents' drawers and closets until he found their car keys. When my dad came home and asked my mom where the car was, they realized it had been stolen. Police stopped the car over an hour later and the crazed man attacked one of the officers with a butcher knife he had also taken from my parents' house. Luckily the police managed to take him into custody without any further injuries to anyone.

I just thank the Lord that my mom didn't walk downstairs to get a drink while that guy was there. Even the police said if she had discovered him in their house that he probably would have tried to kill her - so much for safety in small towns. This should just prove to you that you need to keep your doors locked, no matter how safe you think you are.

Now that you know to lock your doors, let me make one more suggestion; dead bolts. These locks are a lot more difficult to pick for intruders and a lot harder to bust open than flimsy chain locks.

Of course, even dead bolts can't stop the most determined intruder, but that's why I also recommend some kind of self defense training in addition to this.

Always remember to look to see who's at your door before answering it. No lock does any good if you unlock it and open the door to see who's there.

There's no need to be paranoid, just be smart and safe.