Think Like A
Just as avoiding being chosen in the first place is our best defense outside our home the same holds true inside our home. So what steps can we take to make our home less attractive to criminals? Well first we have to think like our criminal. What is he looking for? Make no mistake criminals do their homework there are certainly crimes of opportunity but in many cases the criminal will recon a neighborhood looking for his target
Reward – Is the risk worth the reward
Vacant – Unless you are the reward he wants to be in and out with no fuss.
Concealed Approach – he wants to be able to enter and exit your home without being observed by neighbors or a passerby who may raise the alarm.
Surreptitious Entry –He wants to get in quickly and quietly so he can have maximum time to carry out his crime.
With these thoughts in mind let’s think about simple cost effective measures we can take to make our criminal look elsewhere.
Actions. With a few minor adjustments to our normal routines we can avoid drawing attention to ourselves or giving information to would be criminals.
Vacations – Don’t announce your vacation plans on Face Book, Twitter or any other social media and don’t post pics till after you return. Stop your mail. Have a neighbor visit your home at random times each day to give the impression of occupancy. Consider putting a timer on lights throughout the home.
Trash – Don’t put that new flat screen TV box out by the trash for pickup. Consider a trip to the local dump/recycling center with any high value item packaging. Consider a paper shredder for all your sensitive documents.
High Value Items – Don’t display high value items like jewelry, antiques, guns etc. Where the can be seen from outside your home. Keep your garage door closed.
Landscaping . Paying attention to the landscaping around our home can pay huge dividends in reducing the risk of being targeted.
Shrubs/Trees/Fences – Shrubs trees and fences are great for providing privacy but if placed incorrectly provide privacy for the criminal. Fortunately with a little thought we can have them work for us. Don’t plant shrubs or trees in front of windows or around doors. They allow a criminal to stay concealed while they break in. If you must Plant in front of windows consider thorny shrubs like Bougainvillea. Any gates in side fences should have locks.
Pathways/Driveways – Consider gravel as opposed to pavers or concrete. It is much harder to walk quietly on gravel. Low voltage landscape lighting if placed correctly can illuminate your yard and eliminate hiding places for a criminal without disturbing your neighbors.
Exterior. Securing the exterior of your home can be an expensive proposition. There are however some inexpensive and innovative ways we can deter a criminal.
Security Lights – These should be motion activated and placed such that they only illuminate vulnerable areas and don’t annoy neighbors. They also need to be high enough to avoid tampering. Beware of placing where tree limbs or animals can activate them.
Alarms – If a full alarm system with monitoring is out of your budget, consider mounting a dummy alarm box on a street visible exterior wall and placing alarm signs in front yard.
Exterior Phone/Fuse Boxes – These should be locked to prevent deactivation or at the very least concealed from view.
Exterior Doors/Windows – Ideally exterior doors should be solid core, glassless, with a peep hole and dead bolts. A good lock set and a peep hole are a worthwhile investment. Glass Sliding doors can be secured with a length of broom handle placed in the track to prevent opening (this works with sliding windows too). Door chains merely provide the illusion of security, they are easily overcome. A better solution is a large rubber wedge placed under the bottom edge of the door on the lock side; it is far harder to breach.
Dogs – criminals don’t like dogs. They are inquisitive, territorial, noisy and they bite. However dog doors are an entry point into your home and should be secured. Even if you don’t have a dog create the illusion of one with a ‘Beware of the Dog” and place a large dog water dish and chew toy where they are easily visible from outside your property.
A relatively small investment of time money and thought to the above topics can vastly change the criminals perception of the Risk/Reward of targeting your home.