Woman feels safe after home makeover (video)

Home Depot donated the supplies and a team to update the security of Willie Galbraith's home.
  • How to get a home inspection

  • • Call the crime prevention unit at 361-485-3808 and schedule an appointment.

  • HOW TO SECURE YOUR HOME

  • THE PERIMETER OF HOME

    Set up adequate outside lighting that is motion activated and on a dawn-to-dusk timer.

    Make sure fences are locked; otherwise they can easily provide cover for burglars to hide from view.

    Keep entryways, doors and windows ...

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  • HOW TO SECURE YOUR HOME

    THE PERIMETER OF HOME

    Set up adequate outside lighting that is motion activated and on a dawn-to-dusk timer.

    Make sure fences are locked; otherwise they can easily provide cover for burglars to hide from view.

    Keep entryways, doors and windows visible to neighbors and the street by making sure that landscaping does not provide concealment for burglars.

    Minimize tools and items stored outside to prevent theft and to prevent those items from being used as tools to commit a crime.

    THE EXTERIOR OF HOME

    Make sure all doors, including inside garage doors, are exterior grade.

    Check that the screws used in dead bolts are 3-inch hardened steel screws.

    Use stoppers on sliding doors and windows to keep them from opening, in case the lock is picked or fails.

    Keep the garage door locked, even if you have to install a lock on the track, because it can be opened from the outside.

    THE INTERIOR OF HOME

    Cheap alarm systems, such as battery-powered magnetic switches, can be purchased at most hardware stores.

    Maintain good habits, such as not leaving keys outside the home. Keep spares with a trusted family member or friend. Maintain a property inventory for insurance purposes.

    Source: Officer Chris Guerra, Victoria Police Department

When 70-year-old Willie Galbraith woke up from a nap, she went straight to let her dog outside.

But when she got to the back door she had carefully locked before she went to bed, she panicked.

Two of the three locks were broken. The door was ajar.

One little chain had kept the intruders out that day in March.

"Apparently, they stopped before they got to the top chain. I don't know why. I don't know what happened. I don't know if something scared them off," Galbraith said "I don't have any protection. I would have just had a heart attack. I can't run; I can't even walk fast. There is nothing I can do."

She lives alone, except for her dog, Sushi, and she wants to keep it that way.

She does not want to give up her independence and move in with one of her two daughters.

But after the attempted burglary, she was afraid.

So when Home Depot offered to come make her home more secure for free, Galbraith said her prayer had been answered.

"I'm just so excited. I don't know what to do with this; it is just unbelievable. It is God; I will tell you that," Galbraith said as men and women hammered outside her house Tuesday, working to add a new back porch, exterior lighting and secure doors.

Brent Hoar, manager at Home Depot, said the company used about $1,500 in materials and 10 team members volunteered for the task.

Hoar said his team normally does one community service project each quarter, and that it was alerted to this one by the Victoria Police Department because the two work together to provide home safety demonstrations in the Home Depot store.

Detective John Luna with the Victoria Police Department said Galbraith was recommended to Home Depot for the project because she signed up for a home security inspection with the Crime Prevention Unit after the March attempted burglary.

After the free inspection was completed, Luna said Galbraith simply could not tackle some of the projects by herself, like replacing the doors and dead bolts.

Galbraith, a recent lung cancer survivor, also struggles to move around without a walker or wheelchair.

Home Depot replaced her back and front steps with ramps, so she can easily walk outside and be more mobile.

"It was just getting harder and harder, to where I am starting to have to use the wheelchair. I can't even get the walker down the stairs; I have to throw it down," Galbraith explained, her face breaking into a smile as she watched the transformation of her steps from the glass window.

Melanie Simons, Galbraith's daughter, said the added security has helped the entire family not worry so much about their mom and grandmother.

"It helps give us peace of mind, knowing that she is here. She wants to live by herself, but we want her to be safe, too. With the steps, the doors, the lights and everything else, it just gives us peace of mind," Simons said.