Category Archives: Safety and technology

A few tips to ensure your house isn’t broken into when your away at Dollywood – or the grocery store.

burglarI thought I’d step a bit out of my Real Estate advice “lane” today (since I’ve already been swerving all over the road on this blog anyway), and suggest a few things I recently learned, that could greatly improve the safety of your home and belongings.

What inspired these tidbits of advice, was a presentation by the STATEWIDE Crime Prevention Task Force (cue the Dragnet music) to a business group I’m part of.  While I had been content in the bliss of not having been recently assaulted, robbed or otherwise violated, I did know there were probably many out there who had not been so lucky, so here you go…

Let’s talk about your SLIDING GLASS DOORS.  Most realtors have seen every contraption known to man to block access to burglars through sliding glass doors – the metal pin through the top, the plastic flippy thing you don’t see right away (which inspires a string of expletives, before you figure out why the door won’t open),  the metal clamp locks (that mostly just annoy realtors, when they’re trying to show the house), bedroom sliding glass doorsthen there’s the ever popular fallback, the sawed-off broom handle on the track! I hate to tell you, but none of these will do much good if a bad guy is really trying to get in, because all they have to do is lift the doors off their tracks and voila’.

So, what’s a homeowner to do? According to the CPTF, the most effective protection is a “sliding loop lock,” available for about $5 at a variety of hardware stores (Don’t you love a simple solution!) That oloop lockr a 120-pound Rottweiler, will give you plenty of peace of mind, (although a cheaper idea to buying palettes of Purina is just to get a “Beware of Dog” sign, for about $1. – and, according to convict survey, is just as effective a deterrent, presuming you don’t post a picture of your teacup Yorkie, Snuffles, on the sign (I shouldn’t have to tell you this). yorkie

If you have a garage (that you can, actually get a car into) one of the favorite scenarios for that burglar, is to break into your garage, park, then have a leisurely time emptying out your house – maybe even have a few cookies and a little milk before he leaves, ‘cause, what the heck, you posted all those pictures of yourself skiing in Colorado, on FACEBOOK, and told everyone you’d be away until the 19th. Wahoo! skier

So, what’s the tip on the garage?  You know that little rope in the middle with the handle (or bar) that hangs down if your power goes out so you can still open the door?  Take a plastic zip tie and thread it through the release on the garage door.   That way they can’t hook it with a hangar and pull it open, but you could still pull it open from the inside and release it in an emergency – easy, yes?

Many more protection tips await you, if you attend the full presentation! Exciting crimes to help you avoid, such as purse snatching, identity theft, and hotel break-ins! So, check out the seminar, given by Brian MacNeel and Protech Safety and Security Equip., Inc. I highly recommend it – very informative, and very funny! (would I recommend it if it wasn’t?)

Statewide’s number to book a seminar with Brian is 352-777-2152.



The Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center

The Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center 


One of the Coolest places you’ve driven by but probably never seen…

I’ve been meaning to check it out,”………….  “I think I’ve heard of it but they must have torn it down years ago,”………….”

Safety Harbor has a museum???”

Yes, folks, these are few of the many things you hear from tourists, as well as locals, who haven’t been to the Safety Harbor museum.  Contrary to popular mythology, or lack thereof, it does exit and, you don’t have ttime_portal_by_lyze_creative-d9uuqwmo travel through a hidden time portal to get there.

Nor is it hidden in dark forests of refracted light intentionally avoiding the public.  Actually,  I believe that’s Big Foot.


Anyway, this neat little museum is within walking distance of downtown.  Situated up on a hill (yes, we do have hills around here – just ask the ants) above Bayshore Boulevard, the museum is housed in a charming craftsman style bungalow that’s home to both a permanent local history exhibit and a revolving community art display which features local Artists of all kinds.

When I was in there, they had just set up the display by local Cuban-American artist Ben Cardoso, whose retrospective of life in Cuba spans his memory of five decades – a nostalgic glimpse of the Cuba of bygone days, captured forever on canvas. (sorry, don’t want to sound like an art critic! Please stop me if I try to use phrases like “contemplative palette,” or brush strokes pregnant with meaning….)safety-harbor-museum-inside-3

Anyway, in the museum, you can learn about our local Tocabaga Indians, their culture and art and pick up a cool map of Florida’s Indian heritage (or visit  for more information on county state and national parks that showcase more than 65 archaeological sites.)

Remember the dioramas you had to make in 3rd grade? (what can I say, I went to a private school) Actually, I’m trying to forget that diorama experience – I think it was Marvin Finklestein that let a large cockroach loose in mine and I was ruined for the rest of that project, but I digress… I mention that as I particularly loved the Tocobaga Diorama at the museum – intriguing in its detail – kids will love it, and no cockroaches!

The museum is also proud to offer an acclaimed children’s summer camp as well as being a popular destination for school field trips and various clubs looking for interesting tours on the area history.  Check out an art class – maybe you’ll be good enough to be a “featured artist”


……. or not!  

Come take advantage of the many adult classes available to our community.   You’ll wonder why you waited so long ……………. even if you don’t become a featured artist!

Just when you think it’s safe to leave your doors unlocked – somebody steals your door knob – and your whole house!

Don’t you love alarmdoor knob and handist headlines?  No, I don’t either, but what I’m about to tell you does happen and it deserves being at least a little alarmed. What am I referring to?  I’m talking about someone forging a new deed on your home then filing it with the county clerk’s office.  Imagine, three years after you’ve purchased your home you find it’s been sold to a family of twelve. You watch helplessly as they land in your driveway, their UHaul and 1940s pick-up truck, overflowing with furniture from Billy Bob’s discount mart and a few hound dogs, now relieving themselves on your lawn.  All you can do is stand there gawking in your flannel pjs, morning paper in hand.

I know it’s hard to wrap your wits around this but it has happened – often enough that the county now offers a simple way for you to register your property so that, should someone try this with your home, you would be alerted to any change of ownership and be able to take immediate action. Just go to this site to sign up: It only takes two minutes and it may just save your door knob – and an awful lot of future headache!

There’s an app for that…

Image result for angry birds

Seems that’s the mantra of the new techno-marketing world where anything you could want is available with just a simple download. I personally like the flashlight app and the compass.  Excellent for those many occasions I’m lost in the woods.  And let’s not forget the “pocket fishing” app – which I turn to whenever I’m given a choice between that and self- dentistry.

Now, I realize that the vast majority of apps deal with high-brow subject matter such as slinging cranky fowl at porcine opponents or subdividing watermelons and casaba with uncle Abe’s samurai sword, but hey, every once in a while there’s one that falls short of that “entertainment” standard but which is still worth downloading.

Segue to the New Keller Williams App – the  locate nearby homes, find open houses and advanced search app (could also be called the deputy realtor app – comes with an optional tin star for just $9:00 shipping and handling). Actually, this amazing  little app can be down-loaded for free on your phone then you can search the neighborhoods you like for what’s available. You can also drive by a home and have an immediate peak inside with justa touch of the screen – don’t worry, it’s not a live feed.

Unfortunately, everything can be downloaded except your realtor, but we are just a phone call away – happy hunting!