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How Your Home Can Prevent Crime

With the weather warming up and spring plants starting to blossom it's time to open the windows and enjoy the fresh air. Sadly, as the weather heats up, so does the threat of crime. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is an approach to deterring criminal behavior that was developed by a criminologist for both commercial and residential real estate. The concept utilizes known vulnerabilities and criminal behavior to design and use a property's landscaping and layout as a way to increase security and deter crime. There are three basic principles of CPTED that you can put into practice at your home or office.

Natural Surveillance
This is a crucial component of security since most criminals won't act if they are going to be seen. Make sure your neighbors or passersby can clearly see your residence. Keep bushes and shrubs below ground level windows and prune trees above eye level. Use outside lighting to illuminate dark areas of the grounds around your home. The idea is to make sure there is nowhere for a criminal to conceal himself when approaching your home. But keep in mind, if your windows and doors are in sight don't have valuable items clearly visible through your windows - especially when you are away from home, or in the evening when the lights inside your home illuminate the interior. Stand on the sidewalk or across the street from your home and make sure there are no valuables in sight. If a passerby can see your expensive artwork or electronics, so can a criminal.

Territorial Behavior
This has to do with the overall impression a residential area or business neighborhood makes. Prevent overgrown landscaping by keeping to a maintenance schedule. Remove junk and trash regularly and perform routine maintenance. Nothing about your home should give the impression that it is neglected or that you are absent for long periods of time. Experts say that nine out of ten home break-ins could be prevented if homeowners would take steps to burglarproof their homes. They will also tell you that light and noise are your greatest weapons. Along with a tidy, well cared for appearance, you can employ a few tricks for times when you are away on business or vacation to make it look as though someone is home. Use timers on lights, TV and radios to provide sound and light up your home at appropriate times. Arrange to have your lawn mowed. Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, occasionally moving the car to indicate coming and going. Remove any hidden emergency keys you may have on the property and never let papers or mail pile up when you are away.

Natural Access Control
Controlling access helps you manage entrances and define areas by using gates, fences and landscaping. These help send a message that there is one entry point and users must have permission to enter. In addition, consider adding security strike plates with three-inch screws on exterior doors. Install secondary locks on windows and sliding doors. A simple wooden dowel is very effective for sliders.

Aways remember that security starts at the street, so be aware of how criminals would view your property. By following these guidelines you can make sure your home doesn't have "curb appeal" for criminals.

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