The following article is the fourth installment on Community Safety by Travis County Sheriff Outreach Deputy James Kitchens.
Home Security Inspections
One of the most effective ways to protect your property is to arrange for a detailed security inspection of your home. Your crime prevention officer can assist you in the effort and can provide Neighborhood Watch members with home security inspection checklists so that homeowners or block captains can conduct preliminary surveys. Click here to download “Safe Neighborhoods Secure Homes” . Successful completion of a home security inspection may qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.
Home Security Measures
You must be aware of the potential risk of crime in your home in order to prevent it. First…Remember that they key factor in most crimes is OPPORTUNITY. If they can’t get at it, they can’t take it! Then…follow a regular plan of home security to deter the potential burglar or other intruder.
- Use a timer or photo electric cell that automatically turns a living room light on at dusk, particularly if you are going to be away at that time.
- Leave a radio on with the volume turned low when leaving home, even for short periods
- Always close and lock garage door (inside door too!)
- Secure automatic garage door opener in the glove compartment of your car when leaving car parked outside of the garage
- Secure all obvious (and not so obvious) points of entry to your home. Pretend you are the burglar…stand outside your home and plan how you would get in; then install secure locks on all doors and windows
- Lock up all ladders, ropes, or tools that could help a burglar gain entry
- Keep all shrubbery trimmed near your doors and windows – don’t provide concealment or climbing platforms for the burglar
- Brightly illuminate all entrances, preferably with vandal-proof fixtures
- Keep your grass cut, your leaves raked, etc., to indicate a well cared for and occupied home
- Empty your mailbox or arrange to have it emptied as soon as mail is delivered
- Install new locks when moving into an apartment or previously owned home
- Keep extra keys out of sight and in a safe place; never hide a key outside-most hiding places are obvious to burglars
- Avoid displaying valuable items near windows with open drapes or shades
- Never leave a note on the door explaining why you are not at home
- Never leave doors or windows unlocked when leaving home
- Display only your last name on your nameplate or mailbox
- Start a “buddy system” with your neighbors in order to watch each other’s homes
- Watch for “movers” or “repair people” at a house where no one is home