Though recent studies show that trends are decreasing, the FBI’s most recent estimates note that nationwide property crime still caused over $16 billion in losses and damages in 2018. October is National Crime Prevention Month, so we’re bringing you tips to keep your property safe and secure.
U.S. Property Crime is Decreasing, but Still a Widespread Problem
According to the FBI, residential burglaries accounted for over 65% of all burglaries in the U.S. in 2018, totaling more than 805,000. Property theft occurred every 4.4 seconds, costing residents an average of $8,400. As a homeowner, much of the responsibility of keeping your property safe and secure rests on you. Programs like Neighborhood Watch can help, but aren’t entirely effective at thwarting criminal activity. So, what are your options?
The Basics of Crime Prevention
The ultimate goal of property security is to make it as difficult as possible for would-be criminals to succeed in damaging, stealing, or entering your private property. In today’s digital world, this means more than locking doors; it includes being mindful of your online activity.
“Many people don’t think of the criminals who might monitor posts on social media,” says crime prevention specialist Allen Perry, Master Police Officer with the Virginia Beach Police Department. “My best advice? Don’t announce when you’re leaving for a trip, and wait to post vacation pictures until you’re back home.”
Apart from your residence, your vehicle can also be a target for thieves. “Seventy percent of vehicle thefts have one thing in common — they’re all unlocked when items are stolen,” Perry says.
Follow these simple and smart tips to help keep your property safe and secure:
- Even if you’re home, lock windows and external doors when not in use.
- Don’t put an outdoor spare key in an obvious place like under a doormat or potted plant.
- Keep a light on when you’re not home. This could signal to potential intruders that someone is inside the home, potentially deterring them from trying to break in.
- Keep items of value, like fine jewelry and gaming consoles, out of plain view as much as possible.
- If you leave your home for an extended period of time, have a trusted friend or family member grab your mail while you’re away.. A full mailbox is a sure tell to criminals that your home is empty and an easier target.
Invest in Home Security
Protecting your property can be made much simpler with technology and smart home systems. Depending on your budget, options can range from automatic motion sensors to camera alarms that are professionally monitored 24/7. Here are a few of our top picks for added peace of mind:
- With a price range typically between $20 and $100, outdoor motion sensor lights are budget-friendly and easy to install.
- A more popular option, a smart camera system is an easy way to keep tabs on your home when you’re away. They can automatically sense when someone is near or inside or home, with the video feed readily available via your smartphone.
- If budget constraints are severe, or a security system isn’t an option, displaying a “security decal” may still thwart would-be criminals.
These tips are not an exhaustive list of preventative measures against crime but can give you added security and peace of mind regardless of where you live.