No matter how safe your neighborhood may seem, keeping crime rates low is a top priority in every community. Fostering a secure environment is a group effort, and each resident has a role to play in preserving the place they call home. Here are five ways you can do your part to protect your property and effectively curb crime in your community.
1. Maintain an appearance of occupancy.
Maintaining an appearance of occupancy—even when your property is vacant—is crucial, not only to ensure compliance with your association’s governing documents but also to reduce the chances of burglary. Always stay on top of retrieving mail and newspapers, mowing your lawn, and taking out and bringing in your trashcans. Neglecting these duties can signal an empty home. If you’re going on vacation, enlist a trusted neighbor to help with these tasks to give the impression of occupancy. Putting your lights or TV on timers and leaving a car parked in the driveway when you’re away can create this deception too.
2. Be smart about landscaping.
Believe it or not, landscaping plays a significant role in the protection of your home, so it’s important to plan and design with privacy and security in mind. Avoid planting trees with low, climbable limbs near your property, and consider planting thorny bushes below windows to discourage break-ins. Opt for shorter, smaller shrubs and hedges that won’t obstruct your view or offer concealment to intruders. Lastly, be sure to keep up with maintenance. Overgrown and unkempt landscaping gives the appearance of an unoccupied home and makes your property more attractive to burglars.
3. Use exterior lighting.
There’s more to exterior lighting than just bright features. When installed correctly, it isn’t only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but it also can provide safety benefits. Strategically placing lights around your home can discourage intruders, minimize potential hiding spots, and expose any suspicious activity. Illuminating exterior doorways and paths and walkways can prevent concealment and protect your family and friends from injuries and accidents. Always confirm light fixtures are tamper-proof, exposed wires are hidden, and consider using motion detection lights for an added layer of security.
4. Implement smart home technology.
Smart home devices can make your home more efficient and secure. Video doorbells and cameras allow you to have eyes on your home at all times and serve as a visual deterrent for burglars. Smart locks eliminate the need for spare keys and alert you whenever a door opens or closes. And with smart lightbulbs, you can control your home’s interior and exterior lighting from your smartphone.
5. Get to know your neighbors.
An invested and involved community is crucial to crime prevention. Familiarize yourself with the people around you by attending board meetings, serving on a committee, saying hello, or arranging play dates or cookouts. When neighbors have good and trusting relationships, they’re more likely to look out for one another and report suspicious activity or behavior.
6. Organize community safety efforts.
Improving home security isn’t a solo endeavor. If everyone does their part to keep the community adequately maintained, well-lit, and secure, it’ll show that people care and deter criminals. Community leaders should encourage engagement, maintain a strong partnership with the local police department, and share crime prevention and emergency response information with residents. It’s also helpful to create a neighborhood watch program or committee to promote safety and improve quality of life.
Heading Out of Town?
Leaving, even for just a few days, can make your property a prime target for break-ins, theft, and vandalism. In our blog post, “5 Indispensable Tips for Home Safety During Vacations,” we offer our best tips to help you mitigate the risks. Include these tasks as part of your pre-trip planning, and you’ll be able to get away—and come back—with more peace of mind.