With the holiday season upon us there’s no better time for us to review our residential security set up. Before we go into residential security tips, I thought it would be helpful if we distinguish the two types of threats that we are facing when it comes to protecting our homes from criminals. We are mainly dealing with Opportunity & Targeted Burglars.
Opportunity Burglars don’t put a lot of time and effort into planning their crimes. They simply see an opportunity (i.e. a nice bicycle unattended) and take it. According to the latest Crime Report on Tunisia, “most burglaries are crimes of opportunity, a well-secured home is often enough for the criminals to move on toward softer targets.” Since most burglaries are crimes of opportunity, the equation is simple: eliminate the opportunity and you’ll greatly reduce the threat.
On the other hand, Targeted Burglars will put in the work to make sure they pick the right target. They will case, study, plan, and team up with others before proceeding with the crime. Remember, for a crime to take place three things have to come in line: desire, ability and opportunity. We already discussed the importance of removing the opportunity, but how can we address the other two factors?
The ability factor is well beyond or grasp, but we can do a lot to make sure our homes are not that desirable for criminals. The main thing to remember is that when it comes to home break-ins, criminals are lazy and will always take the path of least resistance. Of course we don’t want to turn our homes into fortresses but we do want to make them as secure as possible. I believe we can find creative and vibrant ways to address our security concerns while at the same time creating joyful environments. The end result should be that from the outside, criminals see a well-secured and lively home, while inside the people feel protected and free to enjoy themselves.
Practical Exercise: Take 5 minutes to look at your home from the outside and see for yourself if you are providing any opportunities for criminals.
Another important point to highlight from the Crime Report is that while burglaries occur with regularity, they do not exclusively focus on the expatriate community. That being said it should be noted that criminals are aware of the ‘expat travel cycle’. They know that most expats travel in December and during the summer. These time periods present the best opportunities for them to strike. The best advise to keep in mind is that criminals are looking for the easiest and most predictable target; make sure your home does not fit into this category.
4-Residential Security Tips
- Security check: Conduct a security/safety check of your house at least 5 days before going on vacation. Make sure you note and correct any serious security challenges such as broken locks and windows.
- No clues you’re away: Think about the day-to-day activities and how your home will look when you’re away for 15 to 20 days.
- Reach out to your neighbors: See how you can team up with them as part of your overall neighborhood security.
- Lighting and landscaping: Remember that a person is less likely to commit a crime if they think someone will see them do it.