Basic crime prevention follows four simple rules:
- Keep people visible and easily observable. Features such as lighting, landscaping, and fencing create natural barriers making potential wrong-doers more conspicuous.
- Make people feel a sense of safety while simultaneously letting the potential criminal know that others may be watching their behavior.
- Create a sense of ownership by taking pride in your property. Send a message that you protect your property and your belongings. The majority of criminals look for easy targets. Well-maintained properties do not convey themselves as easy targets.
- Properly secure yourself and your property. Lock your car when you leave it, even if it is just for a brief moment. Don't leave your windows and doors open when you go to bed at night or leave your house unlocked when you leave for work.
Get to know your neighbors. The more eyes watching your neighborhood, the better! Once you know your neighbors, you learn their routines and vice versa. People who don't belong in the area will stand out and be noticed.
Your entire property should be well lit with a continuous white-colored light. This includes areas such as:
- Car ports
- Trash enclosures
Motion detectors are not recommended because people become desensitized to them. White lights such as metal halide or fluorescent, allow people to see colors and distinguish features. Use a combination of overhead lighting, spot lighting and ground lighting to eliminate shadows and dark areas.
Thorny landscaping (holly, bougainvillea, roses) should be placed under all first story windows. Landscaping should not be allowed to block lighting fixtures, windows, or pathways. Shrubs, hedges, and bushes should not be allowed to grow above 18 inches and canopies of trees should not be allowed to grow below 7 feet. Trees should be pruned so that light can pass through the foliage to increase visibility. Strategically locate hedges to define property lines so people who are misusing the space are easily observed. Choose lacey-style trees and plantings rather than dense varieties to improve visibility. Plant vines along barren walls to prevent graffiti and other vandalism.
Wrought iron style fencing, picket fencing or landscaping help define property boundaries and eliminate potential offenders from loitering and other illegitimate behaviors. Fence posts should have decorative elements and finials to eliminate opportunities to climb, lurk and loiter.
Common or shared mailboxes should be placed in high-traffic, supervised areas. Houses with separate mailboxes should have mail drops that fall directly into the home or a locked box. To help prevent identity theft, no outgoing mail should be left at the mailbox.
Windows along all of the sides of the house are strongly encouraged. It increases visibility and awareness. Open your doors and windows to keep a clear view of the streets around your house.
Note: Although there are many suggestions for residential areas, the issues remain clear - take care of what you have so that others will feel your sense of ownership and commit their crime elsewhere.
Implementing these safety recommendations will make your business "crime unfriendly." Remember, most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Do not allow your business to be an easy target!
- Encourage every employee to make eye contact with and verbally acknowledge every customer who enters the business. Let the potential criminal know they have been seen and are being watched.
- Ensure your address is clearly posted on the front of your business (and on the rooftop in 4-inch wide strokes).
- A fish-eye viewer should be installed on the door where deliveries are made and in all interior office doors. All office doors should be solid core material with dead bolt locking mechanisms. Ensure the viewer is installed at a height of approximately 5 to 5-1/2 feet.
- Have a minimum of two employees on duty at the same time during all hours of operation.
- Install an alarm system with panic buttons at the cashier counter, interior office areas, at drive-through windows, and in the walk-in freezer and large storage rooms.
- Post "No Loitering" signs on the property.
- Relocate cash registers and display shelves so the cashier has a clear view of the door (do not place the register area next to the door) and the entire store. The cashier should also have a clear view of the parking area to observe any activity that is occurring outside the store.
- Remove all advertisements, furniture, and other items from the windows because they block visibility into and out of your business. Make the criminal as visible and vulnerable as possible.
- Remove all exterior payphones from your business.
- Train your employees. Post various "what to do in case of" scenarios so they know what to do and how to stay safe. Teach them to observe the suspects':
- Direction of travel. Teach them not to touch anything the suspect may have touched, including the cash drawer.
- Lighting is an important factor to consider when crime-proofing your business
- Weapon description