By Steven Siegel of First Call CSS
We need to be concerned about what goes on around us. How can we approach and handle situations and how can we assist our communities in becoming safer areas to inhabit? As you choose to live where you do, it is your responsibility to love and care about your family and community and to respond to situations whenever persons, situations or incidents arise or occur that could pose harm.
The pertinent question for most is not how, but what will happen should you encounter a situation where life or property is threatened. In truth, if we prepare before the situation occurs, we may be able to eliminate the opportunity for the situation having a negative outcome.
Use of the following options are integral in helping secure your community and surroundings more effectively.
Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)
Is your property neat and clean? Are your trees and shrubbery trimmed? Do you eliminate places where the “bad guys” can hide? A clean environment says that you care. Do not create areas where people can hide and wait for an opportunity to pounce. By not cleaning and maintaining your property you are sending a message that you don’t care. You are subconsciously inviting the “bad guys” in.
A well-lit area is a huge crime deterrent. Make sure you lights work. Change burnt out bulbs immediately.
Security Cameras. Traditional cameras and monitors are common. Home security systems are available and inexpensive. Professional companies can remotely monitor your property via cameras. Cameras are great; but, they need to be monitored in order for a quick response should a situation occur. The ability to record and store video for a minimum of 30 days is also very beneficial.
An advantage of smartphones is that they take photos and also record video and audio. It’s quite simple to learn how to use these features. These capabilities can help prevent a situation from occurring and can provide proof that there is/was a problem, which should be addressed. Use your telephone to call the police, security or manager when the situation presents itself.
Any deterrent is better than none. Keep doors and garages closed and locked. Use a security bar or piece of wood to keep your sliding door secured. A security brace will keep your door from being forced in. Close the door behind you in common areas. If you see an open door, close it. If it should be locked and isn’t, lock it. Don’t allow someone to gain unauthorized access by “piggybacking” in. Don’t allow a crime of opportunity. Take away the easy opportunities, and make it more difficult for the “bad guy.” Close and lock windows. If you can use security bars and you feel you need to, before installing, refer to your association documents, board or manager to see if they are permissible.
As long as fences are maintained with no breaks or areas that have fallen, they help to provide an additional deterrent. They slow the “bad guy” down and help to protect the areas inside the perimeter.
Timers are an excellent way to turn lights on/off when you are not home. Utilize three of them and think logically as you place them in your home. Move them around week to week. Unpredictability is key. Bad guys look for patterns—don’t be predictable. Change the time and locations, Opportunity and predictability are the bad guy’s friends—don’t make their lives easier.
Common sense is a valuable commodity; good judgment is gold. Always be thinking “if—then “ and not “what-if”. If you see someone lurking around your car, do not approach, but stay back and prepare to call security or the police. Take mental notes regarding the person’s features (height, skin color, mustache/beard, weight, hair length, glasses, clothes, time, etc.). Snap a photo if intentions are nefarious, note how fast they turn and leave. If they are just admiring your car, they won’t act in a strange manner. Always think common sense—it will keep you from placing yourself or those near you in a dangerous situation. Don’t forget—most people will respond when they hear a person yell, “FIRE!"
Security Officers/ Lobby Attendants/Patrol Officers/ Door Staff
Not only do these trained professionals monitor your property, but they are also specially trained to observe, report and take appropriate action. They provide a visual deterrent, and can respond to many different situations. An individual in a clean crisp uniform is a prime example of pride and can deter situations from happening through visibility and attentiveness. There are many functions security officers provide in varying capacities depending on your property’s need and requirements.
Alarms/Motion Detectors/ Card Access and FOBs
Many different types are available. Choose one that makes the most sense for you and your property. Motion detectors are very efficient for in-home use; models that are connected to lighting are even better. Loud alarms are great. All can be monitored on – site or tied to a central station for remote monitoring. They can also be connected to your smart phone to alert you immediately.
In conclusion, there are many types of security methods available. Whether inexpensive or expensive, simple or complicated, security professionals and/or monitors, you can find a product or service that fulfills your needs and budget. Research—the internet is a wonderful tool. Network— ask others what has worked for them. If we all do our part—we all stay safe. Together we are the solution. Let’s not let neglect or carelessness lead to disastrous consequences.