Criminals prefer houses that are easy to break into. This brochure covers the basic components of home security. The sooner you put crime-fighting strategies into effect the better. Don't wait to learn about home security until after your neighborhood thief has visited you.
No one can guarantee a house can be made burglar proof, but it's been proven that taking the following measures will greatly reduce you chances being victimized.
Your home will be much less vulnerable when Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED (pronounced sep-ted) principles are put into place.
CPTED is the proper design, effective use and maintenance of the built environment that can lead to a reduction in the fear of crime and the incident of crime, and improve the quality of life.
This method effectively uses the physical environment to reduce the incidence and fear of crime. This can be done by using adequate outdoor lighting, properly trimmed foliage, a variety of security hardware and having an active Neighborhood Watch.
When properly used, CPTED strategies have reduced crimes of opportunity by as much as 90%!
The following strategies are all effective measures that, working together, will go a long way to securing your home.
Start by taking a look at this illustration which will help you create a CPTED safe home.
Outdoor lighting is a critical component of CPTED.
Criminals greatly value their privacy, so they have an aversion to well lit areas.
Start by lighting your home's entry points: the doors and windows. Take care that the lights shine on the house, not in an observer' eyes. Simple, inexpensive lighting ideas can be found at your local electric utility, home improvement store or from a lighting contractor.
Landscaping and visibility
Overgrown bushes and trees give a thief the luxury of lots of hiding places.
Always trim bushes or branches away from doors and windows. Trim bushes down to at least 3 feet from the ground, so a burglar can't hide behind it or stash stolen property under it. Consider low-growing varieties when planting new bushes. This will also reduce your maintenance time in the yard. Also, keep tree branches trimmed at least 7 feet up. Having these clear lines of sight, combined with good lighting, creates a window of visibility of your property.
Also, be sure to view our helpful brochure, What Is Your Yard Telling You?.
Security hardware & minimum security recommendations
In addition to the measures taken for the outside of a house, a homeowner needs to concentrate on the locks and other security hardware that go on the doors and windows themselves.
There are minimum security recommendations from law enforcement agencies that include standards that should be maintained in the selection of doors, windows, and locks.
Taking these minimum security precautions won¹t result in an impregnable home, but it will ward off or hinder many would-be thieves.
Combined with lighting, landscaping, and good security, hardware will discourage a thief even more. Examine the house pictured in this brochure for more security ideas and how to apply them to your home.
It's easy to make your property less vulnerable if you remember the three L's: Locks, Lighting and Landscaping
Alarm systems are a good way to further secure your home, and they are most effective when combined with the security measures we have already mentioned. Few burglars want to try a house that has good lighting, landscaping, an active Neighborhood Watch, strong security hardware, and an alarm system. It's just too much work.
Make sure you feel comfortable in operating the alarm system you choose.
Put your alarm stickers on a prominent window for all would-be burglars to see. Look in the phone book or go on-line for security system professionals who can give you good advice on the right system for you.
You can also reduce your chances of losing property by marking all your valuables. Marked property is harder for the burglar to sell and easier for police to recover.
As your identifying mark, use your Driver¹s License number prefaced by WA (the two-letter abbreviation of our state) and ending with 'DL' for Driver's License.
Using Washington as an example, the engraving would look like this: WA 1234567DL.
Anything that would be damaged by engraving should be photographed, with a short description of the item written on the back of the photo. Store this in a safe place. This way, you'll be able to give the police a detailed description of all stolen, unmarked valuables.
This brochure's purpose is to get you started with some background information. Remember, YOU can make the difference in preventing home burglary. Check out the City of Tacoma Police Department¹s website at www.tacomapolice.org for information and phone numbers to your sector.
Neighborhood Watch: Crime prevention is everybody's business
Observant neighbors (the kind who report suspicious activity) can really spoil a burglar's night out. And where there's one vigilant neighbor, there's usually a street full of them. That's how Neighborhood Watch works. With good lighting and landscaping on homes, it will work that much more effectively.
If you're interested in living in a crime-free neighborhood, consider organizing and participating in a Neighborhood Watch Program. This program fosters positive relations with neighbors, with a goal toward fighting crime.
Naturally, the success of the program is dependent upon the participation of everyone in the neighborhood. The benefits of such a program will enhance the quality of life for everyone involved, while creating an intolerable environment for thieves. Call the Safe Street Campaign at 272-6824 for information on how to get started.
Maintenance and image have a lot to do with the perception of property safety.
Long term commitment to care is essential because it tells the would-be criminal that someone cares about the property and the neighborhood. Keeping property up can also set neighborhood standards and enforcement of City building and maintenance codes can discourage criminal activity, preserve neighborhood character and can have a stabilizing affect on property values.
For additional information, view our What Is Your House Telling You? brochure.