Spokane's crime rate is 208% higher than the national average, and the majority of these crimes are property crimes. Are you taking the necessary steps to protect your home? Many break-ins happen either when people are home or when they are on an extended trip. Keep your family safer, even when you are not home, by following these important tips.
Before You Move In
- After you close and get the keys to your new home at closing, walk through the house and grounds to look for security breaches.
Check the windows to ensure the screens are in place.
- Look for an old security system.
- Make sure the basement is not easily accessible through basement doors or bulkheads.
- Change the locks on the doors. You never know how many people have keys because the previous homeowners passed them out to neighbors, friends, and relatives.
- Make sure all locks work properly and are not sticking, including any locks on windows.
Meet Your Neighbors
Introduce yourselves to your neighbors. Get to know them – they'll let you know if they see suspicious activity at your home. They'll also let you know about crime rates in the neighborhood or the next few streets over. Property crime rates typically vary by location in Spokane and there are no specific patterns within specific locations, but this information can tell if there are any recent crime sprees in the area. Don't think that just because you live in a 'good' neighborhood, you have any less risk of being a victim of a crime.
Know Your Surroundings
This is especially important if you have moved into a neighborhood that you are completely unfamiliar with. Travel the roads around the neighborhood, learn how to get to the schools, stores, police station, fire station and other important places. Find out the average response time for emergency personnel – both police and EMS.
Complete Any Maintenance
Whether you just moved into your home or you have been in the home for some time, be sure you keep the maintenance up on the house. If maintenance lacks, criminals could find ways to break in, especially if the areas around doors and garage doors are disrepair.
Make sure all of the outside lights are working – these are integral to good home security. Inside, smoke detectors, window locks, carbon monoxide detectors and lights in rooms should all be working. The last thing you want to do is to enter a darkened room if someone breaks into your house. Spokane streets are not always well lit, particularly in the outer areas of the city.
As for the outside, eliminate high shrubs and other high foliage near the house. Criminals can hide in the shrubs. Cut them low or replace them with something else that doesn't make such a good hiding place. If there are shrubs in dark corners of the yard, remove or trim those as well.
Find a Hiding Place for Your Valuables
If you have a safe, put the safe in a place that is harder to find. It's also a good idea to get a “fake” safe that you leave in a more conspicuous location, such as the home office or bedroom. You should also keep some valuables separate from others, in the event that thieves do find your “real” safe. If you don't have a safe, hide valuables in a place where no one would think to look. One woman never used her dishwasher and hid her guns and other valuables in the dishwasher. Be sure that you are purchasing the right type of safe for the value of the contents, and one that has a good fire and burglar rating. Talk to a safe expert if you are unsure as to what to purchase.
Don't Post When You are Going Out of Town on Social Media
It is really surprising how many people actually post the dates they are going out of town or on vacation on social media. Keep in mind that most times 'friends of friends' can see your posts, and thousands of others can usually view your profile. Many people love to share their adventures and post images of their vacations, conferences, or other events they travel for. Don't give anyone pre-warning of dates you are leaving, always post that you have a house sitter, and it is recommended not to provide any information until you are on your trip.