Keep Your Home Safe

by : Mari Takeshita

Locks, Lights, & Good Neighbors: One of the crimes most frequently reported to

the police is residential burglary. It’s also the most preventable. It doesn’t take much or

cost much to outsmart most burglars. They’re usually not professionals, but rather people

taking advantage of an easy target. Burglars may do more than steal things. If they’re

surprised by someone coming home or if they choose a home that’s occupied, someone

may get hurt.

Tips on Safeguarding Your Home:

• Make sure all exterior doors have good locks at least deadbolt locks with a 1″

throw.

• Always lock up when you go out, even if only for a minute.

• Secure sliding glass doors with bars or locks, or put a broom handle in the door

track.

• Make sure your windows have good locks, especially those at ground level.

• Make sure all porches, entrances, and outside areas are well lit.

• Trim any bushes or trees that hide doors or windows.

• Maintain your yard and keep ladders and tools inside when you’re not using them.

• Don’t hide your keys under the doormat or in a flowerpot. That’s the first place

burglars look! It’s much better to give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.

• Mark your valuable property like TVs, VCRs, computers, and stereos with your

driver’s license number.

• Keep a record of your property in a safe place.

• Install an alarm system for summoning emergency help.

• If you park your car outside, never leave a garage door opener in the car.

When You Go Away:

• Ask a neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers, and offer to return the favor.

• Put an automatic timer on at least two lights and a radio.

• Consider photoelectric sensors to turn outside lights on and off automatically.

• Tell a trusted neighbor when you’re leaving and when you’ll return. Include an

itinerary and phone numbers where you can be reached in an emergency.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors:

• Get to know your neighbors and discuss your concerns about the neighborhood.

• Be alert to things that invite crime like poor street lighting, boarded up buildings,

a lack of recreational activities or jobs for teens, vacant lots littered with debris

and inadequate daycare and afterschool programs.

• Work with law enforcement, civic groups, schools, churches and service clubs to

solve the problems.

• Alert law enforcement to suspicious activities and any crimes.

• Report nonworking street lights, abandoned houses and other problems.

• Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If there’s no Watch organization in your

neighborhood, start one with help from local law enforcement and community

groups.

Joining a Neighborhood Watch:

Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town Watch, Crime Watch whatever the name,

it’s one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear.

Neighborhood Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It

forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves

relations between police and the communities that they serve. A few concerned residents,

a community organization or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the effort to

organize a Watch. Members learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for

each other and the neighborhood, and report activities that raise their suspicions

to the police or sheriff’s office. Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes

and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Neighborhood Watch helps build

pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as

recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.