San Francisco is an urban city, so to pretend that crime doesn’t exist would just be silly. But last week, my neighbor’s house was broken into and burglarized, and I was still somehow surprised. I’m not sure exactly what they took, it was listed as a petty theft, but frankly, it has me, and the rest of my neighbors on edge.
Luckily, no one was home, and no one was hurt. But it got me thinking just a little more about protecting my home from a break-in, and it made me more aware of crime activity in my neighborhood (you can check on your neighborhood my looking on SF CrimeMaps) and the steps that I (or you) can take to not become a potential victim. Read on for some tips and suggestions on what you can do to protect your home.
Security Alarms – Security alarms come in all shapes and sizes and have all sorts of bells and whistles. That doesn’t mean that you need a fancy alarm to protect your home, but it probably doesn’t hurt either. Some alarms have simple contacts on the doors and windows and signal the alarm company and police department if a break-in occurs. Other systems come complete with motion sensors, heat sensors, back-up alarms that work on a cell signal in a power outage, and even video surveillance systems. These are all great options, but they also might break the bank. You can contact Bay Alarm, ADT or Sonitrol (just to name a few companies) if you want to see just how deep you have to dig into your pockets to set up a system.
Good Locks – You all have a lock on your front door and your back door, and I’m guessing that most of your windows are lockable. But for some reason, people tend to forget to actually USE their locks or they leave their windows open when they leave. DYI Network has some suggestions for specific types of locks that can help you to keep your home secure. And once you get them, USE THEM!
Neighborhood Watch – When my home was in construction, my neighbor heard some noise there late one evening. She called me immediately to see if it was us, or if she should call the police. My boyfriend was actually at the house doing some work, but it could have been a burglar, and her phone call could have been the difference between a break-in and a burglary if there was indeed someone prowling there in the middle of the night. This is the start of a neighborhood watch, and if one neighbor can make such a huge difference, imagine the impact an entire neighborhood working together can have on crime! San Francisco Safe is a good resource for safety tips, and also has information on putting together a neighborhood watch team.
Good Habits – This can involve everything from making sure to let your neighbors know when you’re going on vacation, to stopping your mail when you go on vacation, to closing windows and locking doors every time you leave your house, to setting your lights to work on a timer or a motion sensor to deter thieves.
These are just a few tips to start with, but for more, visit SFPD’s web site with Crime Prevention Tips. You can also contact your local police captain if you have specific concerns about your neighborhood and you can also find out about your community’s monthly safety meetings by selecting your local police station from the list and scrolling through the information.
There are all kinds of things we can do to protect ourselves, our homes and our families from crime… but the first thing we need to do is to be remember that crime is out there, and the best way to prevent it is to be aware it exists. Together, we can make a difference and keep our homes and our neighborhoods safe.