Crime is an unfortunate part of life in New Zealand and no-one wants to be a target. There are a number of ways that you can assess your home environment and neighbourhood to make some improvements to minimise the risks of your area becoming a target.
One of the quickest ways to reduce your chances of being a target for crime is to either strengthen your defences (known as hardening) or remove from sight objects that are frequently targeted. For example placing your car in a locked garage overnight is a safer option than leaving it out on the driveway or street. If you do not have a secure garage, try to park within view of your home or near street lights. You can make your vehicle more secure by fitting a steering wheel lock. Remove temptation by taking out your car stereo if it is removable (often the fascia is) and not leaving valuables in your car overnight.
Adding extra lighting to the exterior of your home, especially motions sensors can be an excellent deterrent for intruders. Providing lighting for garden paths, and alleyways down the side of your home will all help to deter intruders. Having low fences will lessen your privacy but also provide less hiding places for potential burglars.
To improve the security of your home it is a good idea to fit good quality door and window locks. Just make sure the locks are installed professionally and don’t reduce your chances of escaping your home in a fire emergency. Shutters may be a good idea for businesses or homes with shop fronts. An alarm system is also a good idea, even better is one linked up to a security company.
Removing objects from around your home that could be used to gain access to windows is a good idea e.g. wheelie bins. Putting away your gardening equipment and children’s bikes/scooters in a secure garage or shed will minimise the chance of them becoming temptation for thieves.
Once you have worked on securing your own home and property it is time to work on building a stronger neighbourhood. Join or set-up a neighbourhood watch scheme and get to know your neighbours so it will be easier to spot those characters who are not regulars. Would you know if someone was entering your neighbours property? Would you recognise an intruder or just think they were the new tenants? This can be tricky in present times as so many people are transient and do not settle down in one area as often happened in years gone by.
Wouldn’t it be nice though to be able to go away for the weekend knowing that someone in your neighbourhood was watching over your property and may even empty the letterbox for you or bring the empty rubbish bin in so you don’t signal to burglars that you are away!