There are many ways homeowners can make their property safer, says the executive director of the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre.
TerryLee Ropchan was a speaker at the Red Deer Home Show last weekend, where she discussed some practical ideas to make homes less attractive to criminal activity.
“We’re looking to increase people’s knowledge about things they can do, that are pretty simple by nature, that have an impact on protecting their property,” said Ropchan.
Ropchan made a number of suggestions, including creating a clear sight line in the front yard, having high quality lighting and ensuring the property is well cared for.
“People being able to see for themselves the things that they can do (to prevent crime), gives a little power back to the people,” she said.
“We know there are people out in our neighbourhoods, flicking door handles, looking for opportunities. Let’s try our best to remove those opportunities and work together as neighbours.
“Know each other, look out for each other and phone things in.”
There are a few things people should consider when purchasing a home, Ropchan added.
“Get a feel for the neighbourhood to start with, and from there, start looking at the property,” said Ropchan.
“Go and talk to two or three neighbours before you put in a bid on a house and say, ‘I’m looking at moving into the neighbourhood. Do you guys know each other?’
“If you’re buying in a mature neighbourhood, check to see if the whole front yard is covered by a big tree. We need to increase our sight line to and from the home. Also look at lighting and other basic items.
“Then you can know right away if this is a neighbourhood you want to live in.”
Ropchan said it’s important homeowners make it appear like they are home, even if they are away.
She suggests asking a neighbour to shovel the sidewalk in front of the home, or mow the lawn in the summer. She also recommends not posting vacation plans on social media, because a potential criminal could see the post.