We all want to feel safe and secure at our homes. Unfortunately, in the new year 62% of all crimes will occur at or near your home. You may not realize this, but you are more than likely to be the victim of THEFT, BURGLARY, TRESPASSING, and ASSAULT at or near your home (i.e. in your neighborhood) than at any other place. In fact, these crimes will occur at a combined rate of 75 homes out of every 1000 in the new year.
In order to add safety, security, and comfort to you and
your home, there are a few simple things that can deter and prevent crimes that
normally target your residence, and the general area around your residence.
Use a professional monitoring and security service with an alarm and cameras for recording activities inside and outside your home.
Check and Reinforce your locks on your doors and windows. Door and window sensors connected to your security system are a great way to alert you if someone enters your home.
Require delivery services to obtain signatures from an adult at home when delivering online orders, particularly high-priced goods.
Use a locked package dropped box on your porch for online deliveries that can be slid or placed through an opening but requires a key to unlock the box to retrieve the package.
Motion detectors with flood lights or spotlights that automatically turn on around areas of your home that may not normally have good lighting or visibility to the neighborhood to alert when someone is at or near your home.
Use personal protection devices such as mace or a stun gun.
Form relationships with neighbors near your home to work out a plan to look out for one another’s homes and property, particularly when you are away for long periods of time.
Closely monitor and vet the individuals you invite into your home.
Use the buddy system when walking around your neighborhood, particularly in the evening or early morning hours when it is dark.
Learn your neighborhood geography in order to have routes and paths to use in emergency situations.
These are just a few simple examples of ways to protect yourself and your property while at or near your residence. I hope you can find these or other ideas helpful to you in order to maintain a sense of security and peace at a place that we all normally associate these feelings with…your home.
We all feel safer at home than we do when visiting many other
places. Our homes are associated with comfort, security, and familiarity. When
we are out about town, are guard is up because some locations and circumstances
present certain levels of discomfort, insecurity, and unfamiliarity. Our minds
naturally go to a level of fear or anxiety around strangers and strange places while
away from home. We even simulate events in our minds of how we would react in
emergencies or crimes in these circumstances. How would I react if someone
approaches me and demands my wallet? What would I do if a stranger approaches
my child in an unusual way for fear that person may try to snatch them away? Is
my car parked in a safe location? Is there someone around me that may try to
take my purse and run?
These are all anxieties we have thought about and felt when
in certain situations and locations away from home.
However, the chances of you being a victim of a crime are higher
while at or near your home, opposed to any other location.
In fact, according to
the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2018 National Criminal Victimization Survey,
62% of all recorded crimes occur at or near your home. This is not to say you
should fear being at home – just that
you should be more vigilant about protecting yourself and your property at home
from those that would intentionally victimize you.
So, then you ask yourself, “what crime will I more likely be
a victim of?”
By the numbers ,the top crime that is likely to occur at your
Theft – this crime represents 36% of all crimes – and is a generic legal term referring to an individual that intentionally takes your personal property or belongings without your consent or permission in order to make it their personal property.
In other word’s…this crime occurs when a
casual acquaintance takes jewelry while visiting your home or a neighbor taking
a package from your porch after its delivered from Amazon, among other
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics
2018 National Criminal Victimization Survey, theft is the number one crime
that will occur at or near your home at a rate of 58 out of every 1000
But that’s not the only crime that will occur to you while at your home.
There are 7 other crimes that are most likely to occur at or near your residence. In order of the ones most likely to occur to least likely to occur… they are:
Burglary/Trespassing– occurringat a rate of 21.1 for every 1000 homes – involves an individual unlawfully entering your home by force or by circumventing security in order to steal your personal property; trespassing is when an individual enters your property or home without consent with intentions of wrongdoing.
Think of this crime when an individual enters your home through an unlocked window or breaks open a door lock to go into a back door. An individual that enters your property without permission and breaks something of yours can be considered trespassing.
Simple Assault – occurring at a rate of 4.6 per 1000 homes – is the intentional threat or threatening act of physical harm by an offender, that does not result in physical harm or injury but places the victim in fear of harm.
For example, a person confronts you in your
yard angered about how you were driving in your neighborhood and balled up
their fist and swung it at your face in efforts to hit you but misses you.
Aggravated Assault – occurring at a rate of 1.4 per 1000 homes – is an intentional threat or threatening act of physical harm that does not result in physical harm or injury places the victim in fear of harm or injury with the use of a deadly weapon such as a knife or gun.
For example, the person in your
yard angered by your driving in the neighborhood takes out his knife and lunges
at your face trying to strike you with the knife.
Motor Vehicle Theft – occurring at a rate of 2.3 per 1000 homes – is when a person takes or steals your vehicle without your permission by an individual that is not authorized to drive or use your vehicle.
Robbery – occurring at a rate of 1.1 per 1000 homes – is when an individual takes your property without your permission with the use of force or a threat of force.
For example, a person breaks into your home
and holds you at gunpoint directing you to give them your money and jewelry.
Rape/Sexual Assault – occurs at the rate of 1 out of every 1000 homes. Rape is when sexual intercourse occurs through force without consent, and sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact through touching or feeling. Sexual assault can be unwanted groping by an individual without consents in a sexually motivated way, like at a party at your home an acquaintance grabs your inner thigh and leans in to try to kiss you in an unwanted, non-consensual way.
Personal theft/Larceny – which only occurs at a rate of 0.1 out of every 1000 homes – and is the taking of personal property without permission when the offender does not have direct contact with the victim.
For example, a person takes a drill from your garage without your permission in order to sell it later for money without having direct contact with you.
A recent shocking home-invasion homicide, in a
normally quiet and safe neighborhood, was solved with the aid of a potentially
new element of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). This may
have sparked an evolution in CPTED at the home and in neighborhoods.
Prevention Through Environmental Design
CPTED is a unique approach to preventing crime by
designing specific features of physical structures and the surrounding
environment for the purpose of deterring, reducing and eliminating an offender’s
ability and motivation to engage in illegal acts. This philosophy is aimed at reducing the prevalence
and fear of crime, thereby increasing citizens’ overall life satisfaction. This
approach relies upon four main principles:
Developing a defined territorialityof structures and areas separating public and private, legal and illegal,
individuals and activities which is aided by a collective sense of community.
Utilizing physical features, structures,
actions and people to maximize natural surveillance visibility
where individuals have a sense of being seen and watched.
Incorporating public and private restrictions
and barriers for the natural access control of all forms
The image and aesthetic care of physical
structures through regular maintenance to give the impression
that areas and structures are constantly attended to.
Use of CPTED and CCTV in Residential Areas
The use of closed circuit television (CCTV) is often used in business, commercial or public spheres in order to deter or prevent crime; and even aid law enforcement in apprehending criminals.
CPTED has also expanded into the development of residential communities and neighborhoods, though it is not a relatively new occurrence. CPTED strategies can be seen in the development of street patterns, street lighting and sidewalks to enhance natural access and control. Even family homes and other residences are built with CPTED in mind with the highly visible and well-lit doors for natural surveillance, landscaping for natural access controls and front porches for designating territoriality.
In many cases, CCTV is incorporated into the CPTED strategy in order to enhance and bolster natural surveillance or access control features.
However, there is a newer phenomenon that may
change the way in which CPTED is utilized in residences and neighborhoods.
This recent home-invasion homicide was a unique
case in the use of CCTV-like technology at residential homes; in that video footage
from three neighbors of the victim aided police in a quick arrest and
resolution to this crime. But it was the specific video feature used at these
homes which is of great interest.
The use of Doorbell
Cameras, which have become popular through the evolution of security
systems, is a modern version of CCTV. This is the same technology that helped
police solve this recent home invasion homicide.
A traditional example of the use of CCTV’s in
CPTED involves the use of security guards monitoring entrances through live camera
footage as part of natural surveillance. Another popular example aids in the natural access
control when potential criminal offenders are deterred by working cameras
posted at designated areas. These concepts can now be translated to the residential
homes in new ways:
Doorbell camera motion detection features
can send users instant alerts and recordings of individuals entering their
property and approaching the home.
Any approved user of these cameras can
view live footage of their property through their cell phones anytime they
choose, from any physical location.
Microphone features in the doorbell cameras
allows users’ cell phones to serve as an outdoor speaker system giving them the
ability to talk to would-be visitors, whether the user is at home or not.
Camera footage can be saved on a
cloud drive for future viewing, sharing or examination.
As a result of these features, this unique and relatively
newer form of CCTV can potentially enhance aspects of CPTED in residences and
neighborhoods. Specifically, natural access control, natural surveillance and
territoriality can be bolstered as described below.
The doorbell camera enhances natural access
control through the speaker features. Users can speak to potential offenders to
alert them that they are not welcome and need to leave the premises once they
are instantly detected on the property. This form of CPTED can also be enhanced
with an illumination feature of the doorbell camera, by which the camera lens
lights up on the doorbell once motion is detected. This automatic illumination
of the device can serve to deter activity on the property, and possible nefarious
The element of natural surveillance is present with
the use of the motion detection features allowing instantaneous alerts of
individuals on users’ property, along with the live viewing of activity on the
property through cell phones. The use of doorbell cameras can enhance natural
surveillance in the community by allowing users to also view their neighbors’
property within the detection range of the camera. In addition, natural
surveillance is enhanced in the overall community each time a user’s neighbor
adds this security feature to allow more viewing capability of more homes in
In a more creative sense, these doorbell cameras
are sophisticated enough to reinforce territoriality when users set their
motion detection features at specific distances, heights and angles in order to
detect motion as individuals immediately enter their private domains. For
example, users can set their motion detection to begin alerting at their curb,
the edge of their driveway or property lines. So, once individuals enter this
motion detection zone, users can immediately begin speaking to these persons as
a warning to trespassing thus separating private and public areas. Theoretically,
multiple residents in a neighborhood and community can build a sense of territoriality
by proxy through sharing their video footage on social media and discussing
instances and trends of unusual, mischievous and even offending behaviors. This
would help create a virtual network of closely-knit communities which can
further work to reinforce their private property and structures, and to reduce
Mental and Emotional Health
The use of CCTV’s has been shown to reduce the
public’s fear of crime knowing that constant visibility is present to both
deter and detect criminal actions. This lower level of fear has been
scientifically shown to improve the emotional stability of the community which
can also encourage more outdoor activity. As strange as it sounds, CCTV’s can improve
the mental and physical health of the residents of the community. Theoretically
speaking, the more doorbell cameras that are used throughout neighborhoods and
communities; the more a sense of security can be felt which can also lead to
the same types of crime fear reduction and increased emotional and physical
As the popularity of these doorbell cameras,
along with public knowledge and awareness of them, continues to increase; so too
will the ability to deter, prevent and detect crimes in homes and neighborhoods
which could reinforce positive emotional and physical health. This could also lead
to an evolution in CPTED design, in that builders and architects of residential
homes and neighborhoods could begin to include preinstalled doorbell cameras based
on their understanding of the overall implications of the doorbell camera’s use
So, to ask the question again…
it time to ring in a new form of CPTED through doorbell cameras?