Neighborhood Livability - Making Your Home Safe from Crime
Home Security Tips
Landscaping and Yard Security
Trim your shrubbery and trees so doors and windows are visible to neighbors, and from the street. If you have a second floor, prune trees so they can't help a thief climb in second floor windows. Avoid trellises where they might be used as ladders.
Shrubbery and bushes within four (4) feet of sidewalks, driveways, doors or gates, should be maintained at a height of no more than two (2) feet.
Shrubbery and bushes between four (4) and eight (8) feet of sidewalks, driveways, doors, or gates, should be maintained at a height of no more than four (4) feet.
Plants under windows should be maintained at a height that is below the window sill.
Trees should be trimmed so that the lower branches are more than 5-6 feet from the ground.
Place large gauge gravel on the ground near windows. The noise caused by intruders walking on it can become a psychological deterrent.
DO NOT place river rocks or other items near glass windows or doors – large rocks can be used as tools.
Plant spiny (thorny) plants along fences and under windows to discourage unwanted access.
Street numbers should be easily visible from the street. Critical time can be saved by emergency responders when the street address for the house is visible from a distance.
On your house:
Use numbers made of reflective materials, or black on white, preferably six (6) inches high.
Keep numbers new and clean and replace when necessary.
The numbers should be placed under a light and near the front door or garage entrance.
Your house number should be painted on the curb in front of your driveway:
Four (4) to six (6) inch high black numbers on a white background is most effective.
It should be centered at the end of your driveway or to the house side of your driveway.
If you live along an alley your house number should be painted (as stated above) on the fence outside your alley gate.
Access to Yards and Storage Rooms
Intruders look for the fewest obstacles blocking quick exits. Walls prevent burglars from carrying large items if the gates are locked.
Gates should be locked at all times.
Ladders and tools should be stored in a locked garage or storage shed.
Landscaping should also be designed to control access to your property. Proper barriers may discourage criminals.
Good lighting is a deterrent to crime. While any lighting will reduce the risk of becoming of a victim, proper lighting will be the most effective deterrent to criminal activity.
Exterior lights are important, especially near doors and in the rear of the house, where intruders do most of their work.
All sides of your home should be protected by security lighting that is located out of reach and is vandal resistant.
For garages, an automatic garage opener is the best choice.
In carports, it is best to leave a light on, have a light on a timer, or have a light connected to a motion sensor or photo electric cell.
The best light to use on the exterior is a motion detector type of fixture. Keep the front porch light on in the evening with a dusk/dawn sensor.
In the front yard, any type of lighting will be effective, as long the lighting pattern covers the entire front and sides of the house.
Avoid exterior lighting that changes the color of subjects (so that the best description can be provided to police officers).
If you go out for an evening leave a radio and several lights on.
When you go on vacation turn on at least two lights in different parts of the house and set a radio on a timer.
From the outside, your house should look as if someone is home.
House and Garage Doors
Entry doors should be solid core wood (at least 1 3/4" thick) or metal wrapped.
Your door should fit its frame tightly, with no more than 1/8" clearance between the door and the frame. If the gap is too big, replace the door or bolt a sturdy metal strip to the door edge.
The front door should have a 190 degree eye viewer so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
For the best protection, install a wrought iron security door over your front door. Wrought iron doors not only provide an extra level of visible security against a break-in, they also allow you to open your front door to strangers or leave the solid front door open for ventilation.
All exterior doors require the use of a deadbolt lock. When you turn the key, the locking mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the door's frame.
When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure: (a) The bolt extends at least 1-1.5 inches into the front edge of the door; (b) the strike plate is attached through the trim to the door frame with screws at least 3” long; and (c) it has a case-hardened shroud that prevents it from being twisted off.
Your garage door should be securely locked at all times (even when you are home). Keeping it locked is just as important as keeping your home locked, especially if the garage is attached to the home. Once inside the garage a burglar can work uninterrupted at getting into the house.
Release cord should not be located near the window of the garage door.
If you install a pet door be sure it is not a way in for burglars as well as the dog.
Arcadia Doors and Sliding Glass Windows
Arcadia doors and windows are more secluded than a front door, making a perfect place for burglars to hide and enter.
Many arcadia doors and sliding windows come equipped with a lock that is easily pried open. A supplemental lock must be installed.
Broomsticks (they should fit snug), "Charlie bars" and finger operated locks provide some protection.
Key locking devices are preferred because they can prevent burglars from using the door or window to remove stolen property.
There are several types of supplemental locks available. Keyed locks may be keyed alike with other entry lock sets and deadbolts.
Check with your locksmith or hardware store and select a sturdy type that most suits your home.
Safety Tips at Home
If you are bothered by obscene calls, hang up immediately and dial *57. This will record the location of the last call to your phone, with the phone company. Then contact the phone company and make a harassing calls complaint.
Always be observant of your surroundings
If you live alone don't use your marital status or first name on your telephone listing or mail box.
Get to know your neighbors.
When returning home, or to your car, have your keys in your hand so that you can let yourself in without delay.
If you think you're being followed, don’t go home! Go to an open business. If you are still being followed, call 9-1-1 from there.
Park your car in well-lighted areas. Lock the doors and take the keys.
If you think a prowler is threatening, take no direct action yourself; dial 9-1-1 immediately.
- Use the security devices you have.
- Leave lights on inside and out when you go out for the evening.
- Have the Police and Fire Department telephone numbers near your telephone.
- Carry only what is absolutely necessary in your purse.
- Close your drapes in the evening hours.
- Be suspicious of people loitering around your house.
- Call the police if you see anything suspicious or that “doesn’t look right”.
Download the information on this Web page.
- Don't keep large sums of money in your home.
- Don't carry large sums of money while you are out.
- Don't let strangers in to "use your telephone."
- Don't undress in front of open windows.
- Don't leave notes on your door.
- Don't hide a key (leave one with a trusted neighbor).
- Don't display expensive equipment or items in plain view through your window.
- Don’t leave packaging from expensive equipment or items in plain view (curbside pick-up, extended periods in an outdoor trash container, etc).
- Don't use your name or telephone number on your answering machine message. Use a generic message that does not state that you are not home.
- Don't answer personal questions on telephone surveys.
- Don't admit "service reps" from utilities unless you have an appointment or can verify their authenticity.