Before you go out and spend thousands of dollars on a new home security system, it’s a good idea to find out how secure your neighborhood is. Or to put it in blunt terms, find out how many crimes are being committed where you live. This information can have a big impact on what steps you take on the home security front.
This may sound like information you can’t get without going door-to-door and interviewing everyone within a four-block radius. Have you been robbed in the last year? Has anyone broken into your car? Has anyone stolen mail from your mailbox? It sounds like a pain, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this. Chances are the police station that has this information already. As you might or might not have suspected, most police agencies keep detailed statistics of these things. They have records of crimes committed, and can often narrow down the statistics to the block level.
As a resident, you’re entitled to this information.
So, head down to your local police station (the one closest to your home), and ask to talk to the public affairs officer (or whoever is in charge of public relations). Request the crime statistics for your neighborhood. You might not get a list of who committed the crime, but you should be able to get information on how many break-ins, auto thefts, rapes, etc. have taken place over the last few years. Sometimes the records go back for decades.
This is the best way to find out how safe your neighborhood is. Do remember that the crimes that have been committed on your street in the past aren’t always perfect indicators of what will happen in the future. Just because no one has been robbed on your street this year doesn’t mean someone won’t be burglarized tomorrow. However, if there have been a lot of crimes committed in the past, this is a pretty good indicator that a similar trend will continue.
If there have been quite a few home break-ins in your area, you may want to consider an aggressive home security plan, such as a whole home security system that can protect your house and your family by sending the police if someone tries to get in. On the other hand, if there hasn’t been a break-in for years, you may feel safe with a less aggressive approach. Maybe you’ll feel it’s enough to install common sense home security items (i.e. replacing a weak door and window locks) and adopt good security practices (i.e. don’t leave doors unlocked, don’t leave garages doors up, and don’t leave tools in the yard burglars could use to break-in, etc.).
Remember, the first step to protecting yourself and your family is to find out how secure your neighborhood is.