October is National Crime Prevention month – a great time to brush up on common types of crimes, along with the best ways to prevent your home and family from being targeted.
Preventing different types of crimes
Recent findings show that “overall crime rates in America’s 30 largest cities remain at or near historic lows.” Although this is positive, the most common types of crimes – theft, burglaries, identity theft and assault – still happen. Being vigilant when out and adding layers of protection to your home make it harder for a perpetrator to act. Here are solutions a family can use to protect themselves and their property:
1. Break-ins & Burglary Deterrents
A home is a family’s sanctuary. Deter intruders and petty thieves with some of these ideas:
Door security and window security
Door security and window security should be a high priority since most intruders enter through doors and windows. Statistics show that 34% of burglars enter through the front door and 23% of burglars gain entrance through a first-floor window. Here are some crime prevention tips and tools you can use to deter intruders from entering through doors and windows:
- Get in the habit of keeping all windows and doors locked whenever they’re not in use.
- Add door chains to your front and back doors to prevent forced entry and use them when you’re home.
- Install aftermarket window locks that only allow the windows to open a certain amount.
- Add motion-detector lights outside to deter intruders
Top standalone security products
The latest standalone home security products are wireless and easy to install. They enhance your home’s family safety level and make it easier to control your surroundings. Some standalone products that enhance safety measures at home include:
- Indoor or outdoor cameras that can monitor your home and its surroundings. Choose a smart camera that can be accessed through a smartphone app so you can see what’s going on.
- Video doorbells so you can see who’s at the door without opening it.
- Smart locks that remotely open and close through an app are helpful if you sometimes forget to lock the door when you leave home. You can assign a unique PIN code to every visitor (that can be revoked at any time) to avoid hiding key copies in your yard or under a doormat where they can be found.
Complete home security systems
For the ultimate home protection, complete security systems provide many levels of security and personal safety. A home security system features a central keypad or hub that is linked to a combination of sensors, alarms and cameras to detect intrusion and environmental hazards like water leaks, fire, smoke or carbon monoxide. These systems can be monitored through a smart home app or by a professional monitoring service. Some advantages to installing a complete security system include:
- 60 percent of burglars said, “they would seek an alternative target if there was an alarm on-site.”
- Today’s leading home security systems can be professionally installed or installed by yourself, so they’re an option for renters and homeowners alike.
- With 24/7 professional monitoring, there’s always a security team to answer the alarm and send help if needed.
- The best home security systems include options to add smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and leak detectors.
- 3 out of 4 people say their home security system makes them feel safe.
- Adding other accessories like smart garage door openers and driveway alarms offer maximum protection for your home and property.
2. Personal crimes
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “The number of violent-crime victims age 12 or older rose from 2.7 million in 2015 to 3.3 million in 2018.” There are many tools available today to keep you and your loved ones from becoming statistics. All family members should think about personal safety and:
- Remember there is safety in numbers. When going out, bring a friend or family member along.
- Use caution when using rideshare vehicles by matching the car and driver with what’s listed on the app and by using trip sharing features so that someone knows your location.
- Keep valuables like smartphones, money and/or a wallet concealed while out.
- Consider purchasing personal safety devices like a keychain that acts like a personal safety alarm or a tracker that can be activated by clicking three times to alert the monitoring team of your location and that you need emergency assistance.
3. Identity theft and fraud
Fraud from identity theft affects millions of people every year – and the figure is rising. These small actions can have big results when it comes to preventing identity theft in your family:
- Monitor your credit and your bank accounts for unusual activity, or pay for a professional credit monitoring service that alerts you if there are inquiries or changes in your credit report.
- Exercise good password security by using passwords that aren’t easily guessed or discovered. Use long passwords that are a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers and never share them with others, even if the individuals represent themselves as bank or financial institution employees.
- Invest in a good shredder and shred documents with personal information on them.
- Monitor your children’s credit, too – they’re a prime target for identity thieves.
4. Other useful general facts and crime prevention strategies
Besides the safety measures at home and personal safety equipment above that ensure family safety, stay informed about what dangers affect your neighborhood:
- Get to know your neighbors. When you have good relationships with trusted, friendly people in your neighborhood, you can look out for each other and report any suspicious activity.
- Check with your local police department to see what specific kinds of crimes are prevalent in your area.
- Ask your neighbors or the police department if there is an active Neighborhood Watch in your community.
- Apps like Ring’s Neighborhood app and other family safety apps can be useful tools for general crime prevention and awareness.