“So, what, exactly, is it that you’re looking for here Ms. …”
“Call me Lilah. I need the works. I need something to keep people out and I need a way to protect myself if someone gets in.”
Mr. Patel nodded. “Do you have a panic room?”
“Right now, my whole life is a panic room.”
Mr. Patel smiled. “I meant a designated room in your house where you can lock yourself in if anyone gets inside the house. Preferably a room without any windows.”
“OK, well that’s the first thing you need. It can be in the basement if your basement doesn’t have windows. If it does, you’re better off going higher, to the second or even third floor. Bathrooms usually make good safe rooms, but you have to make sure the window isn’t accessible from the ground. No gutter or garden trellis going up the wall by the window. No nearby tree branches. Nothing.”
“You need to keep a cell phone in there and keep it constantly plugged in. That’s your designated emergency cell phone to call the police if the perimeter is breached.”
“Won’t your alarm do that?”
“It should, but it never hurts to have a backup. Some of the more sophisticated criminals are adept at hacking these kinds of security systems. Not mine, of course, but I advise all my clients to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Speaking of which, what other protections do you have? Locks? Storm windows? Bars on the windows?”
“Not the bars, but we have the others. Two locks per door.”
“Good. Get bars for your windows. Definitely the first-level windows, but it never hurts to cover all your bases.”
Lilah nodded again as she wrote all this down on her notepad she normally carried around to take notes when she was interviewing sources.
“You keep the shades down so no one can see inside?”
Lilah nodded again, still writing.
“What about cyber security?”
“How are you protecting your computers? Your smartphone?”
She gave him a blank look.
“Look, it doesn’t take much in the way of online skills to find a person’s address, but that doesn’t mean we should rule anything out. Here’s a list of apps you can download to help keep your stuff secure. I suggest keeping a band-aid or piece of electrical tape over your computer’s camera at all times. Same for your cell phone.”
Lilah gave him a horrified look.
Mr. Patel held up his hands, palms facing outwards. “Hey, I’m not the one who does this shit. I’m just the one who knows about it and tries to protect my clients from it.”
Lilah took the pamphlet with the list of recommended apps and glanced at it briefly before looking back up to meet his eyes again.
“What about firepower?” she said.
“I don’t actually recommend keeping guns in the house. Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, it tends to make a home more dangerous, not less so.”
“I’d still feel better if I had one. Or three.”
Mr. Patel nodded. “That’s your right as an American. I don’t sell guns, but I can recommend some places that’ll treat you fairly.”
To be continued…