Above and Beyond Tips for Home Protection. How Good is Your Deadbolt?

April 21, 2017 in break ins, burglary, crime, Crime Tips, deadbolt, safety tips, security by fpsesafety

The following post is from: Safety & Security

There are many factors that can make your home a better target for burglary than other homes. For example, your house is at greater risk if:

  • It sits on a corner lot (more visible to a browsing burglar and a natural place to stop and ask for directions)
  • It is located close to a major highway exit (less than 1 mile)
  • It is located on a through street, which gives a burglar a quicker escape (dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs are safer)
  • It borders a wooded area or playground (provides concealed access for burglars)
  • It is in a wealthier neighborhood
  • It features no signs of young children living there (burglars avoid as someone may be home)
  • It was recently purchased (burglars know you haven’t yet developed close familiarity with neighbors)

 

What can you do to prevent yourself from being a target or stop a criminal if they try to get in? You probably know some of the more common tips, such as:

  • Install a burglar alarm and/or put up an alarm system sign.
  • Don’t let mail and newspapers build up.
  • Set lights on timers to give the appearance someone is home.
  • Have motion activated exterior lights.
  • Adopt a dog that will make noise if they hear someone attempting to get in.

 

But there are actually easy ways to make your house considerably more secure. One especially important way to prevent break ins is actually pretty simple. Have a good deadlock. 65% of break ins occur by forcing a door open. 12% occur because the criminal finds your “hidden” key.

“I have a deadlock, so I’m safe.” Not necessarily. St. Louis is filled with older homes, and many deadlocks are outdated. Do you know the grade of your deadlock? You should always go for Grade 1 deadbolts, they are the most effective. Shorter deadbolts makes it easier to break your door. For example, look at this older deadbolt compared to a newer Grade 1 model:

deadbolt

“I have a new deadbolt, so I’m safe.” Once again, not necessarily. A deadbolt is only as effective as the nails you use. How long are the nails that connect your deadbolt to your door frame? Many come with short 1/2 – 1 inch nails. With nails that short, it is easy to break the frame of your door. You should replace all of your nails with ones at least 3 inches long. These longer nails will go into the studs of your house and make it extremely hard to break down your door. Look at this example:

nail

Simple things like having better deadbolts and nails, locking up when you leave, not leaving an accessible “hidden” key, and working together with your neighbors to keep an eye on your block are effective ways of protecting your home. Remember, not all locks are built the same. Don’t let this be you:

door

Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern

Thank you to “The Family Handyman” for providing information and photos on deadbolt improvement.  Visit their website to learn how to install new deadbolts/nails yourself.

Information on houses being targets was taken from a research study, “Knowing Your Odds: Home Burglary and the Odds Ratio,” by S. Hakim, G. Renger and Y. Shachamurove, City College of New York and University of Pennsylvania, Sept. 2000


Safety Tips for Going Out to the Bars

November 4, 2016 in bars, crime, Crime Tips, Current News, Forest Park Southeast, safety tips, The Grove by fpsesafety

The following post is from: Safety & Security

Forest Park Southeast is home to The Grove, a booming business and entertainment district in St. Louis City. Going out at night and supporting local businesses is great, but you should always keep your safety in mind! Here are some tips for going out at night.

  1. Go out in a group – When friends go out together it is easier to keep an eye on each other and help one another if someone in the group might be in trouble. If going out alone or meeting someone you don’t know well, make sure someone knows where you are going, when you’ll be back, and how to reach you.
  2. Keep your phone charged – You don’t know when your phone might be necessary. Keep it charged in case you need to call the police or a friend.
  3. Keep valuables out of sight – Don’t carry anything on you that can’t be replaced. Also, only carry as much money as you’ll need.
  4. Drink less – It’s fun to cut loose on a Friday night, but you should never drink so much that your safety is compromised. Make sure you are able to get home.
  5. Check out the reputation of the place you are going to – Nothing is worse than going somewhere new and it makes you feel uneasy. A good way to avoid this is to check out the Google or Yelp reviews of the establishment. If you end up going and feel uncomfortable, leave.
  6. Have a designated driver – driving impaired is illegal and you could seriously hurt yourself, the people in your car, and bystanders. Sometimes bars will give the designated driver free sodas, so ask the bartender.
  7. Alert the staff if someone is bothering you – sometimes people you don’t know might get aggressive when drinking. If someone isn’t taking the hint to leave you alone, tell a member of the staff; it is safer than confronting them yourself. If they attempt to follow you if you leave, call 9-1-1.
  8. Don’t accept opened drinks from people – it’s nice of someone to buy you a drink, but whether they are an acquaintance or a stranger, don’t accept. Accept only if the drink is unopened or given to you directly by the bartender.
  9. Keep an eye on your drink – The use of inhibiting drugs isn’t just a stranger phenomenon; sometimes people you think are your friend can have agendas you don’t know about. Always watch your drink and if you start to not feel well or feel more inebriated than expected, immediately seek help from someone on the staff. Visit this website to learn more about date-rape drugs.

Overall, going out the bars is a safe thing and most people don’t become a victim of a crime. But, no matter where you are going or what you are doing, you should have your safety and the safety of your friends in mind. Remember and share these tips for the next time you go out, and if you have any tips you think we should share please contact us!

 

Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern


Safety Tips for Going Out to the Bars

November 4, 2016 in bars, crime, Crime Tips, Current News, Forest Park Southeast, going out, safety tips, The Grove by fpsesafety

The following post is from: Safety & Security

Forest Park Southeast is home to The Grove, a booming business and entertainment district in St. Louis City. Going out at night and supporting local businesses is great, but you should always keep your safety in mind! Here are some tips for going out at night.

  1. Go out in a group – When friends go out together it is easier to keep an eye on each other and help one another if someone in the group might be in trouble. If going out alone or meeting someone you don’t know well, make sure someone knows where you are going, when you’ll be back, and how to reach you.
  2. Keep your phone charged – You don’t know when your phone might be necessary. Keep it charged in case you need to call the police or a friend.
  3. Keep valuables out of sight – Don’t carry anything on you that can’t be replaced. Also, only carry as much money as you’ll need.
  4. Drink less – It’s fun to cut loose on a Friday night, but you should never drink so much that your safety is compromised. Make sure you are able to get home.
  5. Check out the reputation of the place you are going to – Nothing is worse than going somewhere new and it makes you feel uneasy. A good way to avoid this is to check out the Google or Yelp reviews of the establishment. If you end up going and feel uncomfortable, leave.
  6. Have a designated driver – driving impaired is illegal and you could seriously hurt yourself, the people in your car, and bystanders. Sometimes bars will give the designated driver free sodas, so ask the bartender.
  7. Alert the staff if someone is bothering you – sometimes people you don’t know might get aggressive when drinking. If someone isn’t taking the hint to leave you alone, tell a member of the staff; it is safer than confronting them yourself. If they attempt to follow you if you leave, call 9-1-1.
  8. Don’t accept opened drinks from people – it’s nice of someone to buy you a drink, but whether they are an acquaintance or a stranger, don’t accept. Accept only if the drink is unopened or given to you directly by the bartender.
  9. Keep an eye on your drink – The use of inhibiting drugs isn’t just a stranger phenomenon; sometimes people you think are your friend can have agendas you don’t know about. Always watch your drink and if you start to not feel well or feel more inebriated than expected, immediately seek help from someone on the staff. Visit this website to learn more about date-rape drugs.

Overall, going out the bars is a safe thing and most people don’t become a victim of a crime. But, no matter where you are going or what you are doing, you should have your safety and the safety of your friends in mind. Remember and share these tips for the next time you go out, and if you have any tips you think we should share please contact us!

 

Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern


Home Burglary Prevention Tips

October 30, 2015 in burglary, crime, Crime Tips, Current News, home, prevention by fpsesafety

The following post is from: Safety & Security

Home Burglary Prevention

SPACEBurglary is an ever-present problem in the United States. In 2010, according to the Uniform Crime reports, there were more than 2 million burglaries in the U.S. In over a third of those burglaries there was no force used, in other words the burglars walked into the home without forcing entry. The majority of burglaries are easily preventable if certain safety measures are taken. Most burglars are “lazy” and won’t steal from a house if it seems too difficult. So making your house a hard target is a good way to prevent a burglary.

Safe Homes Program

SPACEThe Safe Homes program offers safety and security enhancements to blocks in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

SPACESome of the safety items included are:

  • Dead bolts
  • Window locks
  • Motion Lights
  • Door Guard
  • Front Porch Lights

For information on the Safe Homes program contact Samantha Royston at (314) 747-2332 or via email at roystons@wusm.wustl.edu. Our office is located at 4400 Chouteau Ave, St. Louis MO 63110.


Prevention
  • Lights
    • Use a front porch light to deter potential burglars from “staking out” your home.
    • Use motion sensor lights to make it difficult for burglars to get into your house unnoticed.
    • Consider using variable light timers to make it appear as if someone is home, even when you aren’t. (Variable timers look more natural then standard timers)
    • Keep lights out of easily accessible reach, so burglars cant unscrew the bulbs
    • Trim trees and bushes to prevent an over abundance of shadows for burglars to lurk in
    • Replace burned out light bulbs quickly
  • Time
    • Make breaking into your house a time costly activity; it will dissuade burglars from attempting to get in.
    • Add deadbolts to all outside doors.
    • Place secure locks on all windows and screen doors.
  • Alarm
    • If you can afford it, consider putting in an alarm system that will alert you neighbors that there is an intruder.
    • Some alarm systems will even alert the police directly.
  • Making it hard for the burglar
    • “Stake out” your house the way a burglar would, check for easy access points and places where a potential intruder could hide in your yard.
    • By trimming bushes and tree limbs you give burglars less places to hide and stake out your house.
    • Always remember to lock every access point into your house and garage.
    • Put up a “Neighbor Watching” sign to alert potential burglars that the neighbors are watching and will report suspicious activity to police. These signs are given out by Block Captains, or you can contact Ashley Johnson at (314) 747-2336 at WUMCRC.
  • Work with neighbors and officials
    • Work with your neighbors and Block Captains to help prevent burglaries in your neighborhood.
    • Whenever you are going on vacation, or will otherwise be out of the house for a lengthy period of time, alert trustworthy neighbors and ask if they can watch out for any suspicious activity near and around your house.
      • Alert your Block Captains as well.
      • Many local police departments will drive by your house and check in on it if you alert them that you will be out of town. Call your local police station (nonemergency number) and ask if they could send an officer to check on your house while you’re away.
    • Have a neighbor or friend pick up your mail and newspapers, so that burglars aren’t aware of your absence.
    • Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway/ in front of your house, so that it appears someone is home.
  • Other helpful tips
    • Keep expensive/valuable items out of view from windows/doors
    • Make a list of all of your valuables and take pictures of where they are so that you have a record of what was taken.
    • You may have to purchase additional coverage to insure valuables like jewelry and electronics.
    • Display your house number conspicuously and well lit so that officers and emergency personnel can see it from the road and find your house quickly.
    • Lock up ladders and tools that burglars could use to gain entry into your house.

What to do if your house is burgled
  • DO NOT ENTER THE HOUSE IF YOU SUSPECT THERE IS AN INTRUDER WITHIN, CALL POLICE AND WAIT FOR THEM TO ARRIVE AND CHECK THE HOUSE FIRST
  • Reporting
    1. You can report a burglary to police through the emergency number 911, if the burglar is still on the property or still within the area. If you believe there is any possibility the burglar may return call emergency services.
      • If the burglar is no longer within the area by the time the crime is discovered then call the non-emergency number to report a burglary.
    2. Allow the police to investigate the house in order to gather what evidence they can.
      • It is important to remember that most burglaries are solved through finding the stolen property at a later time, not with fingerprints or any other “CSI evidence.”
      • Because of this it is important to keep a good record of your valuables and take pictures of your more expensive valuables.
    3. Make a list of damaged or stolen property and call your insurance agent to report the burglary and make a claim.
    4. Immediately replace any broken locks or lights, and alert your neighbors to potential burglaries in the future.
    5. If any credit cards or private information was taken that could be used to steal your identity call your card companies, cell phone provider, and other credit sources to alert them of the possible identity theft.

For more in depth information on burglary prevention go to http://www.burglaryprevention.org and http://wumcrc.com/burglars-on-the-job/

For more security and safety tips visit our other pages.

 

-Dalton Davidson, Safety and Security Intern