Tips For Keeping Your Home Safe
During the day, turn off your outdoor lights and leave your alarm system on.
Install motion-detecting lights.
Set timers for your lights, TVs and radios to mimic human activity.
Get to know your neighbors.
Turn off your lights if there is no one around to see them.
Establish a neighborhood watch.
"Motion detectors are the best, but again the question is guardianship - are there people around who are likely to see or would the offender think he will likely be seen?" Marcus Felson, Texas State University professor
The acronym CRAVED will help you remember which goods are most stolen. These are Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable, and Disposable:
Concealable. Things that can be hidden in pockets or bags are more vulnerable to shoplifters and other sneak thieves. Things that are difficult to identify or can easily be concealed after being stolen are also more at risk. In some cases, thefts may even be concealed from the owners of goods, as when lumber or bricks left lying around on building sites are stolen.
Removable. The fact that cars and bikes are mobile helps explain why they are so often stolen. Nor is it surprising that laptop computers are often stolen since these are not only desirable but also easy to carry. What is easy to carry depends on the kind of theft. Both burglars and shoplifters steal cigarettes, liquor, medicines, and beauty aids from supermarkets, but burglars take them in much larger quantities.
Available. Desirable objects that are widely available and easy to find are at higher risk. This explains why householders try to hide jewelry and cash from burglars. It also helps explain why cars become more at risk of theft as they get older. They become increasingly likely to be owned by people living in poor neighborhoods with less off-street parking and more offenders living nearby. Finally, theft waves can result from the availability of an attractive new product, such as the cell phone, which quickly establishes its own illegal market.
Valuable. Thieves will generally choose the more expensive goods, particularly when they are stealing to sell. But value is not simply defined in terms of resale value. Thus, when stealing for their own use, juvenile shoplifters may select goods that confer status among their peers. Similarly, joyriders are more interested in a car's performance than its financial value.
Enjoyable. Hot products tend to be enjoyable things to own or consume, such as liquor, tobacco, and DVDs. Thus, residential burglars are more likely to take DVD players and televisions than equally valuable electronic goods, such as microwave ovens. This may reflect the pleasure-loving lifestyle of many thieves (and their customers).
Disposable. Only recently has systematic research begun on the relationship between hot products and theft markets, but it is clear that thieves will tend to select things that are easy to sell. This helps explain why batteries and disposable razors are among the most frequently stolen items from American drug stores.
Read More: Clarke, Ronald (1999). Hot Products. Police Research Series. Paper 112. London: Home Office.
Good Neighbors Can Fight Crime
- Get to know your neighbors; areas of low crime are areas where neighbors interact frequently
- Keep an eye on your neighbors' children and ask them to keep an eye on yours
- Join your Neighborhood Block Watch; if there is none, start one!
- If you're going on vacation, make arrangements with a neighbor to have your mail and newspaper picked up
- Keep each other alert and informed. A neighbor's garage door left open, keys left in a car, someone snooping around homes with no apparent reason, a stranger stopping to talk to a child or senior citizen are all opportunities for a crime to happen
- Visit a neighbor, be supportive, offer help
- Make sure neighborhood teens have something constructive to do and some place to go
- Make sure your neighborhood is as "crime proof" as your home
- Notifylaw enforcementof any vandalism, suspicious activity or strangers lurking in alleys or on street corners
- Organize a 'clean-up' to clear debris and brush; large bushes can hide predators in parks and wooded areas
- Enlist teens and kids to help - everyone can do something
- Report abandoned vehicles and broken street lights; repair broken windows
- Crime-attractive areas are those with litter as well as mattresses, appliances and other large discarded items
- Vacant and deteriorating houses and outbuildings attract vandals, gangs and street people
- Turn a vacant lot into a community garden or play area for kid
A Neighborhood Block Watch Can Help
Participants in a Neighborhood Block Watch learn:
- to be familiar with neighbors and activities on their block
- to recognize and report suspicious activity
- to increase home security
- to maintain a record of personal property
- to communicate with neighbors on a regular basis
The goals of the Neighborhood Block Watch:
- to reduce the level of fear of crime in our neighborhoods
- to encourage citizens to accept the responsibility to improve neighborhood living conditions and reduce crime in our neighborhoods