Home Safe Home: Pragmatic Protection Tactics

Your home is your haven – and there’s nothing like a home invasion to shatter your serenity and sense of security. And, July and August are the months that rack up the most break-ins. According to the latest U.S. Department of Justice Crime in the United States report, robberies of residential properties account for 67.2% of burglary offenses, and the average property dollar loss per burglary is $2,251.

A report from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology states that approximately 60% of convicted burglars said that the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home. But not everyone can afford the initial cost and ongoing monthly fees for that type of protection. The good news is, a little awareness – and a few simple lifestyle shifts – can go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones secure.
Crime prevention – by design.

The term “design” often brings to mind aesthetic ideals rather than criminal activity concerns. CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) is an approach that promotes modifying built environments to make them distinctly unappealing to criminals. When applied properly, CPTED (pronounced “sep-ted”) can help create a home that encourages natural surveillance of your property while discouraging illegal activity. Detective Brian Kornegay of the Phoenix, AZ Police Department says, “Keeping open sightlines is key to your safety. Keep the ‘two-foot/seven-foot’ rule in mind when it comes to your landscaping. You want to keep bushes and shrubs two feet or lower, and tree branches seven feet or higher.”

In addition to natural surveillance, other core CPTED principles include keeping your front and garage door well-lit at all times, having windows that look out over walkways and driveways and putting open-type fencing along property lines to encourage neighborly communication. Hedges that can serve as hiding spots should be removed. However, thorny shrubs planted below ground level windows serve as an excellent deterrent for intruders. There are quite a few online videos and resources that offer the basics of CPTED for homeowners, but a certified practitioner (often a law officer or security professional) can do a thorough assessment of your property and give more detailed guidance. You can request an individual CPTED review of your home from a qualified officer; however, it’s also a great idea to get your neighbors together so an officer can do a presentation, answer questions and emphasize the importance of neighborhood cooperation for safety and crime prevention.

Detective Kornegay has these tips for homeowners:

Other ideas to deter criminals from targeting your home and neighborhood:

Contrary to the confrontational drama we see in burglaries on film and in television, most thieves just want to get in, grab your valuables and get out quickly and unnoticed. The harder you make it for them to infiltrate your home, the greater the chances that they will pass you by for an easier target. Incorporating even one or two of the above suggestions can help significantly decrease the odds of having a brush with a burglar.

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