Your house—and the way you live in it—can help deter crime.
Tip #1: Design for Crime Prevention
Design sounds intimidating, but a few small, low-cost improvements can go a long way toward preventing crime in and around your home. Think about doing one or all of the following:
- Install motion-sensing lights to brighten entry areas and draw attention to activity around your home at night.
- Make your doors and windows visible. By eliminating high hedges or fences, you make it easier for neighbors to help keep an eye on your house, and harder for someone to break in without being detected.
- Low, thorny shrubs (low enough to leave the windows themselves visible) can deter intruders from attempting to enter that way.
- Maintain your property well. Research shows that signs of disrepair in a neighborhood can attract and encourage more crime.
These ideas are all a part of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design—which can also include much bigger decisions like window placement and the shape of a building. This site provides a good summary if you want to know more.
Tip #2: Make it Seem Like You’re Home
If you go away for a few days (or even for a long evening), don’t leave an obviously empty house behind.
A simple timer costs under $10 at your local hardware store. You can plug it into any outlet and easily set it to turn a light on and off automatically while you’re away. Simpler yet (or in addition) leave a radio on to make it sound like somebody’s inside.
Tip #3: Facebook Foibles
What might be wrong with this status update, posted to 300 of your closest friends:
“Off to grandma’s house for a long weekend!”
You guessed it. The more people who know when your house is unoccupied, the more vulnerable it is. It makes good sense to tell a trusted neighbor or two when you’ll be away—they can help keep an eye out for unexpected activity. But broadcasting these plans to a large group of acquaintances is not a helpful move. Think about who sees the information you post online, and be mindful of your security settings, or just wait to share the news of your travels until after you’re safely home.