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 St. Louis is filled with older homes, and many deadlocks are outdated.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


Leaving Children Home Alone

November 16, 2016 in alone, Crime Tips, Current News, home, Kids, Neighborhood Ownership Model, Safety & Security Model, safety tips by fpsesafety

The following post is from: Safety & Security

Sometimes it is necessary to leave children home alone, whether you are at work while they are coming home from school, going to the grocery store, or out handling other errands. There are certain steps you can take to ensure that your children are safe even when home alone.


Safety Tips for Parents Leaving Their Children Home Alone
  • Post an emergency phone list somewhere easily visible for your children and leave a phone for the child to use.
  • Practice an emergency plan with your children so they know what to do if there is a fire, if they get hurt, or if there are any other emergencies.
  • Let children know where emergency supplies are, such as flashlights and first aid.
  • Safely store dangerous or hazardous items away from children.
    • Knives
    • Guns
    • Medicines
    • Detergents
    • Scissors
    • Etc.
  • Install safety covers on electrical outlets.
  • Tell your children to not talk about being home alone on social media or on public websites.
  • Set up a schedule for checking up on your children. (Have them send a text each hour, or call at a certain time.)

Safety Tips for Children Home Alone
  • Lock the doors
  • Never open the door to strangers
    • Not even delivery people or service representatives
  • Don’t tell anyone online that you are home alone.
  • Never leave the house without permission
  • Don’t have friends over without permission
  • If you smell smoke or hear the fire alarm go to a neighbor and ask them to call the fire department.
  • Check up with your parents, so they know you are safe.

The most important thing is to simply talk with your children about safety. You know your children best, and you know if they are responsible enough to be left home alone. Teach them some of the basic tips above and set some basic ground rules for when they are home alone. Stay safe!

Dalton Davidson, Safety and Security Intern
FPSE NOM logo


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 Safety Tips for When You Travel

September 23, 2016 in Crime Tips, Current News, fpse, safety tips by fpsesafety

The following post is from: Safety & Security

If you know you will be traveling and there will be no one in your home, there are some steps you can take to keep your house and your belongings safe. By following these steps you can have fun and be carefree on your vacation, or be focused on your business trip knowing that your belongings are safe.

Steps:
  • Alert a trusted neighbor or family member that you will be out of town. Have them pick up mail and newspapers; mail build-up tells others that you are out of town.
  • Check the locks on all of your doors. Replace any that need replacing.
  • Replace the bulbs on all of your porch lights or your motion sensor lights, if you have them. Make sure the lights are working before you leave.
  • Buy a varying interval timer for indoor lights to simulate someone being home. (A standard timer will work as well for short trips.)
  • Alert your local police department of your absence (some departments will do drive-byes to check up on your houses.)
  • Clean up the yard and close the curtains in your house. A dirty or unkept yard will alert potential burglars that you may not be home, and leaving the curtains open lets them see in your house to know where your valuables are.
  • If possible, have someone come by your house once a day to “house sit” and give the impression that someone is still there during the day.

 

For more information on keeping your home safe, visit our page on home burglary prevention.

 

–Dalton Davidson, Safety and Security Intern