Keeping our Community Safe: A guide to being a vigilant citizen
Written By: SafeHome.org Team | Published: Updated October 2020
Neighborhood Safety: A Team Effort
While it's impossible to ward off crime 100%, just one person can set an excellent example for an entire neighborhood. Educate yourself on the measures you can take to encourage safety in your area. Your neighbors should follow suit and work with you to make the community a better place. Many of these measures are simple but go a long way.
Use smart lights and other devices to create the impression you are home.
Running late or having fun on vacation? No problem. Smart home devices include light bulbs, window blinds, TVs, and radios. Turn them on and off remotely to create the impression you’re home. You can also set them to work at certain times or if motion sensors detect movement.
Devices such as the Ring doorbell even let you talk to someone who is at your door. You can make potential burglars think you’re home and still be 3,000 miles away. These doorbells also come in handy if UPS folks attempt to leave a package. Talk with them live and ask that they hold the box at a facility instead of leaving it in plain view.
Know the people in your neighborhood.
Get to know the people in your neighborhood so you can recognize suspicious people.
Be aware of your neighbor's habits. When are they at work, and do they have small children or teenagers? Are they elderly and in need of extra assistance on occasion? This awareness will make the neighborhood a much tighter community with less crime.
Keep your vacation dates off social media.
Many folks share news of upcoming vacations on social media. However, if you do that, you essentially set yourself up as a target for burglars. Criminals rely on public social media proﬁles like Facebook and Instagram to stalk and intrude homes while residents are away.
Make use of timers.
Timers are great, especially on nights you won't be home. Set a timer to have the lights go on and oﬀ at speciﬁc times so that it looks like your home is occupied. Many burglars study when people exit and enter their homes, so using timers connected to lights throws them off.
Lock all doors and windows.
Many homes have multiple doors and windows. Burglars need just one unlocked entry point, and it can be easy for residents to overlook one or two locks. For optimal safety, lock all doors and securely fasten all windows. If you have any sliding doors, place a rod in the track to prevent thieves from forcing the door open and entering. Last but not least, consider a video doorbell camera for when you are home alone or not home.
Utilize blinds and curtains.
These guys are especially handy at night because otherwise, people easily see the inside of your home. Potential burglars can track your activities and glimpse where you're putting your valuables, which room you're in, and which rooms are vacant. Keep the blinds closed and the curtains drawn to prevent any creepy stalkers from targeting your home.
Install motion-sensor lights outside of your home.
Burglars don’t like motion-sensor lights since they’re bright and shine a spotlight on illicit activity. They switch on quickly, motivating would-be burglars to flee and never return. These lights are also an excellent way for you to know when someone approaches your home.
Never leave anything out in plain sight inside your car.
Yes, even if the doors are locked! Thieves can break through the windows to take your belongings if they feel motivated enough. Don't give anyone any reason to target your car, even if it's something as simple as a blanket. Thieves may think the blanket is there to hide something valuable beneath it. Keep your vehicle completely clear of your possessions to save you the trouble of recovering your valuables and the inconvenience of having to ﬁx broken car windows. To be extra safe, lock your car's compartment and trunk. This way, if someone somehow gets in the car, they can’t go through these parts of the vehicle.
Do not keep garage door openers in a car parked outside.
If you have a garage but park your car outside, start bringing the garage door opener inside with you. It should become as habitual as grabbing your keys and your purse/wallet, and goes a long way to prevent break-ins. Otherwise, burglars could use the opener to gain access to your garage and possibly your home.