With these simple tips from your Better Business Bureau, you can maximize security and help make your community safer.
Know Your Neighbors
Just knowing who your neighbors are is valuable, but establishing relationships really makes a difference in keeping your neighborhood safe from crime. Seek out members of your community that have kids the same age and find those who share the same interests. Your newfound friends can help keep you in the know about happenings in your area.
Form a watch group in your area and report suspect activity. Alert neighbors and police if you see unfamiliar cars driving slowly or individuals acting suspiciously. Keep a list with names and phone numbers of homeowners on your block handy.
Monitor Door-To-Door Sales
Although many legitimate companies solicit door-to-door, con artists use this technique as well. If a door-to-door sales person knocks on your door, know that you do not have to answer the door or allow the person into your home. If you choose to answer, do not commit to purchase any product or service until you have checked the company out with BBB by visiting bbb.org. Alert your neighbors of companies soliciting your area, and ask them to inform you of any door-to-door salespeople that have frequented their home as well.
Keep An Eye On Your Trash
Many people put their collection bins out the night before pick-up. Or they do so just before leaving for work in the morning. In either case, dumpster divers may have an opportunity to dig through your trash for personally identifiable information. Never put financial or personal information in your trash. If you must, destroy all documents with financial or personal information in a cross shredder. This includes things like bank and credit card statements, stock portfolios, tax returns, ATM and credit/debit card receipts, copies of birth, death, and marriage licenses, vehicle titles, deeds and mortgages, pay stubs and insurance policies. If you see people going through your trash, call your local police. Do your best to collect your bins the same day sanitation crews have collected trash and recycling.
Manage Mail Boxes
Mail theft is one of the primary ways thieves get personal information to perpetrate identity theft. Collect mail as soon as it is delivered, or get a locking mailbox to give you more security. Be on the lookout for bills or financial statements that do not show up - this is a sign of possible identity theft.
Professional home security systems can be a deterrent to criminals. Encourage your neighbors to display signs that their home is covered. If you can’t afford a complete system, consider relatively inexpensive home security products like motion sensor lights, etched window glass film, tethered safes, patio door reinforcement bars, light timers, and entry alarms. If you do become victim to a breach of any kind, alert your neighbors so they can take the proper precautions for their home.
While on vacation, let police, trusted neighbors, or friends and family know when you will be gone and where and how they can reach you. Having someone check on your home, bring in newspapers and mail, and turn lights on and off can help keep your home safe. If you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider a stop order for your newspapers and mail while you’re gone.
By working together with your neighbors, you can create a safe community. Find trusted companies who can help keep your home and your neighborhood safe and secure at bbb.org/ask.