Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Your Home Security and the Big Picture

I’ve always considered “home security” to be a misleading phrase.  In truth, the greatest elements of your home security aren’t always located within your home. It isn’t necessarily the equipment that helps detect criminals encroaching on your property, and neither is it the reinforcements and upgrades that might prevent burglars from breaking and entering into your property. Don’t get me wrong – those tools can be immensely helpful when a criminal has selected your property. However, I think we can all agree that the best element of a home’s defense is what makes your home being targeted in the first place.

This benefit to a home’s security is called deterrence, and it is perhaps the most important aspect to your home defense – and you can influence it in several ways.

Boosting Your Deterrence    
There are a few practical steps that any homeowner can take to make sure that their home is well-guarded. Here are a few additions to your home that can make the difference and deter people from your home:

Besides their functionality, home security systems or signage indicating that an alarm exists can help keep out unwanted visitors. 

·       1. When this equipment isn’t affordable or obtainable, equipping false cameras or signage can help nonetheless

·       2.  Keeping a guard dog, or simply erecting signage that a dog exists (i.e. “BEWARE DOG!”) can scare the wits out of people who might otherwise consider targeting your home.

·        3. Joining or starting a neighborhood watch program can make a huge impact on crime awareness and deterrence in your neighborhood. FBI statistics indicate that it could make an impact of up to 40% in reducing crime in your area.

·        4. Keep an eye on foreclosed or abandoned homes, since these can quickly become dens of illegal activity when left unmonitored.

5. Finally, homeowners can make a great splash in their neighborhood crime rate by something that we might take for granted. In fact, simply maintaining your yard and keeping your home in good repair and nice appearances can, and does, reduce the incidence of crime in your area. This might seem unusual, considering most means of deterrence are based on fear and an increased difficulty of trespassing undetected. But despite how odd it may sound, the “broken windows” in your neighborhood should be addressed to positively influence crime around your home. Still skeptical?

No More “Broken Windows”

In the 80’s, criminologists developed a theory about the effects of vandalism and other kinds of disorder and disrepair; put simply, they put forth the idea that maybe people will be more likely to act out in criminal ways if it’s apparent that nobody cares about the state of their environment. Several municipalities in New York gave the broken windows theory a spin in practice and found the results impressively reduced rates of crime. Keeping graffiti cleaned on a regular basis and public facilities properly maintained made a notable and obvious impact in reducing crime.

Similarly, I remember my college years spent in run-down campus housing, in a dorm situated in what used to be an old mill. I remember the fragments of beer bottles at the front door, the missing panes, and the graffiti vandalizing the campus mascot mural on the fourth floor. I also remember how much these behaviors changed when management switched out and began extensive renovations. Overnight, it seemed like students attending there were more concerned about the well-being of the dorms. While there was still vandalism, it died off over time when whoever responsible for the acts realized that their damages were constantly repaired and painted over whenever they were discovered.

Now consider this: how do you think this theory applies to your city? Your neighborhood? Your home? When a property is left damaged with wear and the lawn grows wild with age, criminals doubtlessly become more interested in targeting it as opposed to well-maintained neighbors.
What will you do to address your “broken windows”?

Naomi Broderick is a stay-at-home mother and prepper enthusiast.

Thanks Naomi for an excellent guest post.

Staying above the water line!    



Anonymous said...

Big +1 on broken windows theory. The house next door has been unoccupied for nearly a year, and coupled with a public park across the street, a prime location for people looking for a place to crash. Its been broken in 3 times during that period (front door kicked in) and we call the police as soon as possible to get it looked after.

For us, installing commercial quality steel doors and frames (NOT home store type - the heavy gauge systems, about $1500 per unit) and grouting them into the masonry wall material is a major deterrent. Good hardware (hinges / locksets) as well. Can be breached but will take a lot of time - just easier to move along to easier pickings.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the wall of lead coming at the intruders from a pissed off homeowner.

Anonymous said...

If you are there to 'greet them' :^) The doors and clerestory windows (should have mentioned that above) are measures taken for when we are out of the house during the day.

Clerestory windows (high window near ceiling) are awesome. Not only does outside light spill across ceiling to light room interior better, furnishings are easier to place and the interior is screened from anyone viewing below the window sill. Often not allowed by building code in sleeping areas (hard to evacuate in case of fire). Great privacy though.

And if non operable window is wanted, glass block is easy to install in openings. Grouted with concrete in place, much harder to break into.

Anonymous said...

"BEWARE DOG"? That sounds like a warning to dogs! I'd put up a sign that says "BEWARE OF DOG," or "BEWARE CRIMINALS." :)

Meri Berger @ Frase Protection said...

I agree that keeping a home well-maintained is a good way to deter any would-be robberies. If they see that everything's in order, they'd likely think that it'll take more effort to break into a home.

Anonymous said...

I agree that simple things can be done to make it

look like you have more security then you

actually do. Guard dogs, or even yapping watch

dogs are a great deterrent as well. I think a

great last resort option for home safety would be

a safe room. A safe room provides protection from

home invasions, severe weather and other

unforeseen events. They provide an excellent

place to store irreplaceable objects like family

heirlooms and photographs. These safe rooms found

here: http://www.risingsbunkers.com/saferooms/

can be installed discretely. They only use their

employees through the whole process so you do not

have to be concerned with local contractors

knowing about your secret location. They can also

build the safe rooms to fit seamlessly into your

home so no one would know it was there, even if

they were standing right in front of it.

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