What is your New Year’s resolution this year? Quit smoking? Eat better? Exercise more? This year, make a resolution that is easy to keep: help keep my community safer, and it’s simpler than you might think.
Be Vigilant: Often, the best way to help keep your neighborhood safe is to just be aware. Are there suspicious people lurking on the street? Has someone come to your door with a strange request? Is there activity at a neighbor’s even though you know they are at work? Don’t be afraid to call the cops. They encourage vigilance in the community, and you never know when a simple phone call could save someone’s life. Acting right away on small problems can prevent big ones later.
Get Secured: Statistically, a community that is protected by a burglar alarm or security cameras will push crime to the next area. Homes with monitored alarm systems are three times LESS likely to be burglarized as opposed to homes without the system. Similarly, businesses without alarm systems are 4.5 times MORE likely to be burglarized than the ones with an electronic security system. Burglars are aware of your habits, including if you have (and use!) your burglar alarm, and 30 to 40 percent of burglars are more likely to avoid homes with burglar alarm systems.
If a crime does occur, and is caught on a surveillance camera, the footage is often the strongest lead or evidence for capturing the criminal. Although surveillance cameras may not be 100% reliable, they can be much more reliable than say, someone’s memory. Witnesses are often too shaken or intimidated to accurately describe a criminal’s face, or a particular model of a car. Surveillance cameras are always watching, and don’t “forget” important details.
Remember Simple Precautions: Don’t forget to lock your doors, windows and even your garage. It may seem silly to remind about this, but burglars will find an unlocked entry and simply walk in!
- 34 percent of burglars enter through the front door
- 23 percent through a first-floor window
- 22 percent through the back door
- 9 percent through the garage
- 4 percent enter through a basement
- 4 percent through an unlocked entrance
- 2 percent through a storage area
- Only 2 percent entered anywhere on the second floor
Be nosy: Be the “eyes and ears” in the community. Start a neighborhood watch, and communicate over social media to keep neighbors informed of crime. Simply being on watch for any unusual presence in the neighborhood can be a good first step. A car that continues to circle the block or unknown persons walking the sidewalks, could be signs of mischief.
Get to know your neighbors. Your neighbors could be your best defense against crime. They are always watching. If you have one of those neighbors who is always looking out her windows to see what everyone else is doing, this is the perfect opportunity to put this busybody to good use. Ask her to keep an eye on your house for you. She’s bound to be thrilled and will likely report back to you every soul that even glances in the direction of your house. Especially when you are out of town, ask your trusted neighbors to shoot some hoops in your driveway, or even just moving your car, can be enough to give the appearance that a home is occupied.
Apartment and Condo Safety: If you already live in a tight knit community, there are many ways to improve the security, such as immediately removing graffiti vandalism, and keeping a check on loitering. For more tips, read here.
Keep the Kids Safe: Create safe routes for children to get to and from school safely. Collaborate with other parents to help keep an eye on children traveling along the routes. Also, use a site such as Family Watchdog to look up sex offenders in your neighborhood. Talk to your children about the dangers of strangers.
It’s Too Rough for Me To Get Involved
Maybe crime has a strong grip in your neighborhood-street violence, muggings, drugs, shootings, etc. It may be intimidating to try to act, in fear of a criminal’s revenge, or you may feel like one person won’t make a difference. You don’t have to do this alone!
Get a couple neighbors together. Groups can rally, march, and hold vigils to demonstrate their commitment. Second, you can work with the police to set up a system that lets people remain anonymous and still report crimes. Third, you don’t have to meet where the problem is. Meet at a church or community center.
Anyone and everyone can take the most basic actions, like reporting suspicious behavior or crimes in progress to the police. Whatever the contribution of time, energy, talent, and resources, small or large, your contribution will help keep your community safe.
Here at VinTech, we hope you have a wonderful New Year, and wish you peace, safety and prosperity in the year to follow!