Posts Tagged ‘crime prevention’
Though it might seem pessimistic, creating an environment that will protect your family and you possessions not from fire or flood, but from other people, is a must. There are many things the average homeowner can do to prevent burglary; some of these precautions can get a little pricey while others can be done for free. If burglary prevention is on your mind, here are some tips for keeping the possessions, and more importantly the people, in your home safe.
Burglary Prevention for Homeowners on Vacation
Burglary prevention is particularly important when you are on vacation! As your home will be vacant for days or weeks, you want to make sure that it is not more of a target than it needs to be. Hiring a monitoring service to improve home security is, of course, a great idea, but there are a few things you can do yourself that will reduce the likelihood of a break-in while you are away, even if a home monitoring system isn’t in place.
- Discontinue newspaper delivery or have a neighbor bring in the paper each day. A neighbor can bring in the mail and any other deliveries at the same time.
- Arrange for someone to keep the lawn trim.
- Leave a car parked in the driveway.
- Leave lights and a radio on timers.
- Don’t record a message on your answering machine or voice mail that says you are gone. If you use an answering machine, have someone remove messages periodically to prevent overloading its message capacity. An overloaded answering machine won’t take messages properly and can tip-off thieves that you are away.
Standard Burglary Prevention Tips
Vacations aren’t the only time when burglary prevention is an issue. While your home is certainly more susceptible to break-in while you’re away, a home invasion that occurs when your family is in the house is a far scarier scenario. Bad home security habits are hard to break, but the consequences of such habits can be terrible. If the following steps are already a part of your daily routine, congratulations; if they are not, it is in your best interest to take these precautions to heart.
- Always make sure all easily accessible windows and doors are locked whether you are in the house or not! Second story windows, basement windows, and garage doors are often left unlocked for the homeowner’s convenience or comfort, but when you leave the space, make sure these get locked, too.
- If you have an alarm, use it! Many break-ins are made much more convenient for intruders because the alarm system that is in place is simply not activated.
- Control your landscaping. A house that is easily visible from the street and doesn’t provide places for unwanted guests to sneak around is ideal.
- Install exterior lights that automatically come on when it gets dark and go off when it’s light. Installing lights with motion sensors near entryways is also a good idea.
- Don’t leave spare keys under the doormat or beneath a flower pot next to the front entrance. Pick a unique and out-of-the-way spot to hide a spare key (if you hide one at all).
Burglary Prevention for Valuable Items
Criminals rarely want to hang out and relax in the place they are trying to rob; they’d rather get in and get out! If a break-in does occur, one of the ways to make it less successful for the intruder is to store particularly valuable items properly.
- Don’t advertise your valuables! One easy and effective part of burglary prevention is simply keeping valuable items away from windows that can be seen by passers-by. If a lot of high-end items are highly visible to anyone walking down the street, guess which house on the block will look most desirable to rob?
- Hide small valuable items like jewelry. If you’re going away, don’t place these items in the freezer, as it is an overused hiding place. If you don’t have a safe, a banged-up box high up in a closet or in a remote corner of the basement should suffice; if you do have a safe, do yourself a favor and anchor it with heavy bolts to your floor or your wall studs so it cannot simply be removed from your house and opened later.
- Engrave your driver’s license number into a metal surface of large valuables like video equipment, computers, and bicycles. While this isn’t exactly burglary prevention, it does increase the odds that the thief is caught and that your possessions are returned. In most jurisdictions, the police will loan you an engraving tool.
- Photograph valuables as record for insurance purposes. Even better, take a video inventory of each room, zooming in on brand names, model numbers, and serial numbers.
Sad but true, theft can happen to anyone. By taking these steps, however, you’ll reduce how attractive your home is to a would-be thief. If a burglary does occur, following these tips will also increase the odds that he or she will leave your home with less than they had hoped; a disappointed burglar is a good thing!
Home security isn’t just for people who own houses. Just because you have a security guard at the entrance to your building, don’t assume your apartment or condominium is entirely secure. Your safety is up to you. It’s a good idea to make sure the apartment and surrounding grounds look secure before you sign a lease (since you’re limited to the kind of improvements you can make yourself).
Here are some home security tips for those who live in apartments or condos:
Have the apartment’s locks changed when you move in. (The maintenance crew can simply swap lock cylinders with a random vacant apartment, a project that is free and takes only a few minutes.)
Depending on the neighborhood, you may also feel more secure if you have a deadbolt lock. Apartment renters, make sure to get permission first.
Use your peephole, and don’t open the door for strangers. Demand identification from package delivery services, even if they’re in uniform (uniforms can be stolen).
Even if you’re home, don’t leave the door to your apartment unlocked.
Make sure the building’s public areas aren’t threatening, i.e. lights out in the parking lots, laundry room, or hallways.
Get to know your neighbors, and watch for suspicious people on the premises.
Home security alarms are available for apartment and condo dwellers as well; look into portable door/window alarms or a wireless home security system (things that can move with you when it’s time to find a new home).
Don’t leave your windows open, and make sure they all have secure locking mechanisms.
Likewise, don’t leave a sliding glass balcony door open, even on upper floors. (Balconies can make a handy ladder for burglars to climb to upper stories.) These kind of doors should have not only a lock but a Charley bar (or at least a wood board in the runners to keep the door from being forced).
Just use your last name, or if necessary last name and first initial, on your door or mailbox. This keeps strangers from knowing your gender or how many people live in your apartment.
Lastly, protect your assets by getting renter’s insurance to protect your belongings!© 2004 Home Security Information
In general, burglars will avoid occupied houses. However, there always exceptions to the rule, and you shouldn’t assume that nothing can ever happen when you’re at home. If someone breaks in while you’re not there, your belongings are at risk. If someone breaks in when your family is home, your family is at risk as well. There are a number of measures you can follow in order to minimize the risk of being targeted.
Keys: Don’t hand out keys to friends, even if they are trustworthy. Know the location of all your house keys all the time. Never use hide-a-keys or leave the key under the doormat, above the door, in a flowerpot, or anywhere outside the house. You may think you’re being clever, but experienced thieves know all the tricks. Also, keep your car keys and house keys on a different ring if you ever use valet parking or leave your keys with parking lot attendants or even at a repair garage.
Don’t let strangers in the house: Think this only applies for children? Think again. Home security means being cautious. Even before you open the front door to accept a package, you should ask for photo identification. This goes for anyone you don’t recognize. Don’t assume someone is legitimate just because they’re wearing a uniform or driving a company truck–these things can be stolen. If somebody comes to your door and asks to make a phone call, offer to make it for them, but don’t let them in. If they are injured, call 911, but don’t open the door. If you walk away to make a call or some such, lock the door behind you; you don’t want to leave the door unlocked and unmanned. A chain on the door helps ensure someone can’t force their way in while you’re there.
Locks: Keep your doors and windows locked, even if you’re at home. Get your children into this habit, too.
Don’t be predictable: If you always leave at the same time every day, are gone for the same length of time, and return at the same time, thieves can easily memorize your routine, taking advantage of the times your not at home. Work is work, and you probably can’t change those hours, but if you go to a class or the grocery store at the same time all the time, try to make yourself less predictable.
Valuables shouldn’t be on display: It’s not a good idea if somebody can look in your window and see your wallet, credit cards, purse, jewelry, or fancy electronics in open sight. A computer or television placed in front of a ground-floor window may make an easy target. Likewise, electronics placed across from a window are easily visible, too. Also, don’t leave your garage doors open for the world to see your belongings. Lightweight items could be snatched away quickly and easily.
Watch your trash: Just bought a new entertainment system? A bunch of empty boxes out by the curb triggers an alarm to would-be thieves. Instead of putting boxes out in plain sight, cut them down, and stuff them in trash bags. Also be wary of identity theft. Never put personal identification information in your trash unshredded.
Be alert: Try to be aware of your surroundings on a day-to-day basis, even in your own familiar neighborhood. This doesn’t mean walking around like a crazy paranoid person; just keep your eyes out for suspicious activity.
Paying attention to the simple things can make you and your family much less of a target. Burglar alarms and home security systems are great investments, but prevention is the best way to stay safe.(c) 2004 Home Security Information
Outdoor security lighting is an important part of a complete home security plan, but many people make the wrong choice in the type of lighting they use. You might assume that bright lights that clearly illuminate your property would be a turnoff to potential burglars and thus the best choice. While lighting that illuminates driveways, paths, and porches can make homeowners and visitors (the invited kind) feel more secure, some types of outdoor security lighting can actually make it easier for burglars to ply their trade.
Bright Security Lights, Not the Best Choice
According to “A Guide to Exterior Lighting” from the spring 2004 issue of Taunton’s Decks & Outdoor Projects, “blasting the driveway or front yard with bright light can make it easier for a trespasser to hide in the shadows” (p. 37). This is because bright lights also create dark shadows in the negative space. Therefore, it is harder for the eyes to adjust and pick out potential intruders hiding in the dark spots. Essentially, bright lights destroy a person’s night vision. So, even though it may seem to make sense to use powerful lighting to illuminate the exterior of your home at night, lower light levels often make a smarter choice.
Lower wattage outdoor security lighting, such as one often sees used for landscape lighting, tends to be a better choice. This sort of lighting illuminates pathways enough for walking up to the house and opening the door without blinding the homeowner to what could be going on in other parts of the yard.
There are times when bright outdoor lighting makes sense (i.e. when checking for fallen branches during a storm or if there definitely is an intruder on your property and you want to scare him away), but rather than using it all the time (which is not smart energy-wise anyway), try having your bright lights controlled by inside switches.(c) 2004 Home Security Information
You have worked hard for what you have and you really need to protect it. You would also want to protect your family and keep them safe. These are two very good reasons to install outdoor security cameras on your home and restore your peace-of-mind.
Research has shown that any security measure that can easily be seen is a definite deterrent to intending burglars. Criminals look for easy targets, and are likely to leave your home alone when they see a visible security camera on the house. Cameras have the advantage of not only helping to prevent an intruder, but also will capture the image of any thief who ignores the camera and enters the property. This makes it easier for the police to make an arrest.
Security cameras at the external doors of your house make it easy for you and your family to see who has come to the door. With cameras that are fixed on the doorway, they need only open the door to people they know, and reduce the risk of letting a criminal into the home.
Another great use for outdoor security cameras is allowing you to monitor the backyard. When the children are outside playing, you are able to be indoors continuing with your work, but are able to supervise the children at the same time.
When you go to acquire outdoor security cameras for your home, you will quickly realize that there are some decisions to be made. An outdoor camera can be a dummy camera, for deterring burglars; it can photograph the person at the door, record the image or just allow you to identify them. You can have black and white images, which are cheaper, or color, which give more detail.
There are different camera systems available for home security cameras; you need to decide between wired and wireless. Again, there is a difference in price, a wired system is more stable but a wireless system can often be placed in positions that cannot be reached by a wired camera.
A security digital video recorder will be needed if recording of the security cameras is desired. These can be in the form of a standalone unit and resemble a VCR. A DVR unlike a VCR records onto a hard drive which provides longer recording times and better quality playback. They are available with 4 to 16 camera inputs and have a variety of features with motion detection and remote viewing being the most popular. Personal computers can also be used if equipped with DVR capture cards and will have many of the same features.
The motion detection feature of the DVR allows you to record only when someone or something moves into the cameras view. You no longer need to buy special cameras since the DVR and not the camera determines if it should record. This will also reduce the amount of video that may need to be reviewed if a crime were to occur.
These are just some of the reasons why you need to consider fitting outdoor security cameras to your home. Ensuring the safety and security of your family, your house and your possessions is an important responsibility, and one that needs to be attended to properly.
Returning home to your apartment and finding your home being ransacked will absolutely turn your life upside down. Your most treasured possessions, heirlooms, TV, computer and jewelry – all gone forever. You must take action to prevent this occurring and you must do this now – don’t leave it until its too late.
If you live in an apartment what must be done in order to improve home security and prevent and break in? The simplest and most effective solution is to install a apartment security system so you will have peace of mind that your home is being protected when you are out at work or on a night on the town.
Apartment blocks are in fact very vulnerable as it is difficult to keep non residents out of the block thus making crime and burglar far easier to commit. Stranger are notorious for hanging around near or in the block and you don’t really know if they are associated with the apartment block building or not.
In order to protect your property and prevent a burglary, a home alarm system is the way to go. People don’t often want to install an alarm system as they think it will be too much work or cost too much. You’d be surprised how inexpensive an apartment alarm system can be and by installing a wireless alarm system, you will reduce installation cost to virtually zero if you carry out the work yourself. Wireless systems are very straightforward to install and any keen DIY’er should have no problems in installing such a system. Reliability is significantly improved over recent years so things like interference won’t be an issue.
In the same way that a wireless alarm system is easy to install – it is easy to de-install too. This is ideal if you are renting your property and you want to remove your alarm system and move on to your next rented accommodation. Simply de-install take it with you and re-install it at the new property.
Wireless alarm systems can easily be expanded so if you can’t afford a full blown system with sensors in every room then buy a basic system and add you it if and when you finances dictate. It’s a good idea to purchase a starter kit then add to it as time goes on.
For real peace of mind, consider installing a monitored alarm system. With this kind of system your apartment will be monitored day and night and if the alarm gets triggered then help will be on hand to assist the emergency. The appropriate emergency service will be called out to attend your properly.
Although crime is on the decline in the United States, there were nearly 2.2 million burglaries in 2009, according to FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. About 12.5% of burglaries were cleared by arrest in 2009, according to the FBI.
Prevention is often the best defense against burglaries. There are many ways to reduce the chances that your home will be burglarized, and you can find helpful suggestions from many sources, including your local police department.
Here are ten suggestions to make your house less likely to be burglarized, recommended by the San Jose, California, Police Department:
- Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
- Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
- Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked.
- Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick them up regularly.
- Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
- Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
- Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
- Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
- Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.