Safety Near Your Home
Did you know that the vast majority of accidents and crimes occur in or near the home? Although you don’t want to live in fear while at home, it is always a good idea to be cautious, try to stay safe, and practice care when it comes to your home and neighborhood. Doing research on a home and the neighborhood before moving in, investing in home security and upgrades, thinking about children or pets and their safety, and making sure you teach your children how to stay safe and be smart about home safety are all great ways to be cautious without being fearful!
Neighborhood Crime Statistics
One of the best things that you can do as you prepare to move to a new home is to look at the neighborhood crime statistics. This can easily be done through your local police department or an independent agency. These statistics are also found for free on the internet in many cases. Another great way to gather statistics is to speak with the head of your neighborhood watch or, while visiting, to call on some neighbors and see what their opinions are. While these aren’t scientific methods, they can be useful for getting a feel for the neighborhood.
Another thing to consider is if you are in close proximity to a university, school, or other public institution. These types of places are generally required to track, and make publicly available, statistics on any crime within their vicinity. Getting a copy of those crime statistics from any nearby institutions can also be a great way to check out your neighborhood and get a better understanding of the local risks.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Department: How to use crime mapping
- U.S. Department of Education Campus Safety and Security: The tools you need for campus safety and security analysis
Keeping Your Home Protected
Once you have moved in, it is important to keep your home safe in case there is crime. Remember that there can be crime in any neighborhood, even one with statistically low amounts. Getting a home security system is a good idea, for example. Even if it doesn’t deter crime with a sign or cameras, it may be able to capture footage of criminal activity or set off an alarm that scares away would-be criminals and alerts neighbors or the police.
In addition to a home security system, it is a good idea to install new locks on your doors and windows as well as gates. You do not know who has keys to the previous locks, and sometimes old locks can become less secure over time. In some cases, you may want to look into getting more secure doors or windows as well. Having a dog or bright porch lights and yard lights, both in the front and back yard, can also discourage crime, and you should always avoid mentioning being away from home on any kind of public social media forum.
- San Jose Police Department: Crime prevention tips, burglary
- SafeHome: A comprehensive guide to securing your home
- DC Metropolitan Police Department: Burglary prevention
- Los Angeles Police Department: Burglary prevention
Keeping Your Children Safe Inside and Outside of the Home
If you have a child, it is important to teach them early about home safety. This includes safety both inside and outside the home. Children should learn that they should not answer the door unless they are expecting someone, and that they should never tell anyone who they don’t know their address. Children should also know to never tell anyone they are home alone and should always be in the habit of locking doors and windows.
In the yard or near the home, kids should be careful about getting too close to the street, about speaking to strangers outside, and about wandering too near to any dangerous areas such as power lines, abandoned lots, ditches, and other hazardous areas. These can be unsafe for anyone, but especially children. In addition, it is important to remind children that if they have friends over, they are at least somewhat responsible for those friends, and that they should remind their friends to follow the same safety rules.
- Safe Kids Worldwide: Home safety
- KidsHealth.org: Household safety checklists
- Scholastic: 7 rules for kids at home alone
Neighborhood Safety Tips for Children
It is also important for kids to know how to stay safe in their neighborhood at large. Similar rules apply, but kids should also understand that street safety is important, that they should know their address and phone number but never give it to strangers, and that they are part of a community that is keeping an eye on them. One great tip is to have a trusted neighbor who your children can go to in case of an emergency, inclement weather, or other neighborhood safety matter if you are unavailable. This can be a great way to foster neighborhood relationships and have an extra adult looking out for neighborhood children.
- The City of Memphis: Neighborhood watch
- National Neighborhood Watch: Home
- American Red Cross: Kids home alone? Follow these safety steps
Additional Tips and Resources
It is also important to make sure you are in possession of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Although this cannot prevent a crime, it can make the impact less devastating. In addition, to increase the safety of your home, you should have working, active smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. In addition, if you have a security system, it should have a line to the outside for help. Children should be taught to call 911 early but be reminded that it is only for emergencies. With these tips, you can help keep your home safe and enjoyable for your family!
- The National Fire Protection Association has some great resources on smoke alarms: Smoke alarms.
- FEMA discusses creating family plans for an emergency: Create your family emergency communication plan
- Consumer Reports talks about various types of detectors for the home: Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors