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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Open Door Policies Make Her an Easy Target

DEAR ABBY: At age 60 my mother ignores basic safety rules. She drives her older model car with the doors unlocked. I have tried explaining that she's making it easy for a carjacker to gain entry, but she insists "that won't happen to me."

Mom walks her dog alone at night and leaves her front door unlocked, claiming, "If anyone tried to get in, I'd see them." Not true. She goes for long walks, and while she's walking, she chats on her cell phone, completely oblivious to what's going on around her.

She actually nailed a key ring with the key to her back door (labeled as such) outside next to the door. Anyone could scale the short fence and walk right in. She also leaves the key to her front door under the mat on her front porch for anyone to find.

Mom makes me crazy with worry. I don't know if she's aware of the risks she's taking. I have begged her to lock her door and hide the keys, but she says I am "paranoid" and that nothing could ever happen.

Now she has bought a gun and claims it will keep her safe. I say it's better to exercise common sense and prevent the break-in and possible assault in the first place.

At age 30 I feel like I'M the parent. Am I being unreasonable? -- WORRIED SICK IN DALLAS

DEAR WORRIED SICK: Your mother appears to be incredibly naive and in a state of complete denial. The first rule of personal safety is to remember that criminals seek easy targets -- so the more difficult it is for them to make you a victim, the lower your risk for becoming one.

Contact your police department (or your mother's neighborhood watch program) and ask if they have any personal safety literature you can give your mother. The life you save may be her own.