When you think of HOA security you usually think of Gated communities, security guards, and surveillance cameras. If you follow the news you might think of “neighborhood watch gone wrong” or “unarmed grandfather killed by security guard”
The fact is every community experiences crime of one kind or another – whether it be vandalism, burglaries, or something more serious. According to an FBI report nearly 72% of burglaries took place in residential locations. When crime happens many homeowners ask the question — What can we do to make our community safer?
Communities should evaluate their needs to determine what kind of security services and devices are needed to keep the community safe but there are also a few things that homeowners can do to make a big impact in preventing crime.
Okay, so I thought we would start with the obvious. But seriously, a majority of burglars come in through an unlocked door or window during daytime hours. Most of us lock our doors at night but many of us think that because it is daytime the vampires are all sleeping, well… Criminals are not vampires and they have learned robbing homes is safest during the day when everyone is at work.
Most criminals are looking for an easy score with low risk. Unkempt communities often appear to be an easy target. Broken fences, trash around the dumpster, graffiti – all give the impression that nobody is watching and probably won’t notice suspicious activity. Keeping your community clean, and well maintained will signal to would-be crooks that your community looks out for it’s property.
A well lit common area discourages crime and increases curb appeal. Criminals avoid areas with a lot of light so change burned out bulbs or install new lighting along walkways and parking areas.
Shrubs, trees and plants that often provide privacy also provide pretty good cover for marauders. Criminals will pass up a house where they can be easily seen by neighbors or passers by. By trimming things back you remove hiding places and shadows making your home less of a target.
Nearly everyone buys stuff online now, and criminals have found that picking up your packages is an easy way to get some new stuff. Require signature, Have them delivered to the office, or you can even request that your packages be delivered to a side door where they are less visible.
It’s funny how often homeowners report suspicious activity to the manager — expecting them to get out of bed at 1:00 am with their CSI kit to track down the perp. Helping homeowner understand the role of the manager will help them know when to call the manager or the police. In addition, the neighborhood watch should never attempt to confront someone they think might be committing a crime. Be observant and if you see something that doesn’t look right, call the police.
Good neighbors look out for each other. Make an effort to get to know your neighbors, have a Barbecue, connect with them on social media, host a movie or game night, and ask them to watch your place when you’re out of town. Simply knowing your neighbors can go a long way to protecting your property.
Just remember not all HOA security is gates and guards. The most effective crime prevention can be done with simple things that make your community a better place to live.
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