With a rising number of disturbing home invasions and burglaries in the Las Vegas Valley, BOSS Security Screens founder James Kerr and BOSS’s safety specialist, Michael Johnston, share simple tips every Las Vegas homeowner can use today to stay safe.
Johnston is a former Henderson Police Department captain with nearly three decades of experience in law enforcement. He is also CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)-certified from the National Institute of Crime Prevention (NCIP).
Here’s what the two security experts have to share.
- Think before you open the door: When the doorbell rings, the instinct is to open it. Burglars or intruders know this, and you’d be surprised at how many people are inviting victimization by simply opening the door, Kerr said. Use door peepholes or camera devices to look before you open; and don’t open if it’s someone you don’t know.
- Identify your access points: Burglars and intruders are on the lookout for the easiest, most concealed entry points. Johnston clarified what is and isn’t an access point. A first-floor sliding glass door or window is an access point, but a second-story window that requires a ladder is not. But if you can access a second story entrance by climbing up onto a balcony, then that can be considered an access point, he said.
- Fortify all access points: It can be a simple as installing better locks on doors. Most locks that come with a home have shorter anchoring screws and may not be the highest quality. Place a wood or metal bar in a sliding glass door. If you can afford it, invest in window and door coverings that make it virtually impossible for someone to enter the home.
“The number one thing is that you don’t want to make it easy to enter the home,” Johnston noted. “The construction and quality I’ve observed with BOSS Security Screens is unmatched. They are able to severely restrict the ability for anyone to make entry into the home.”
- Install lights around your home: Make sure areas around your home are well-lit. Burglars don’t want to be seen, and even an aggressive intruder will pause if seen in a brightly lit area around your home.
- Use the 2-foot, 6-foot rule: Under CPTED design guidelines, shrubs should be kept to a maximum of two feet in height and the canopy of a tree should start at 6 feet or higher so that the home and access points are clearly visible. A home hidden by trees and shrubs is more welcoming to a burglar or intruder.
- Employ a maintenance plan: Just as a car needs maintenance, your security plan does, too. Make sure you stay on top of your landscaping, regularly check if all locks, security bars and window coverings are properly maintained and in working order. And if you do have security cameras develop a schedule for regularly checking their function.
- Get to know your neighbors: A neighborhood watch or simply regularly engaging with your neighbors is always good practice to help keep your home safe. If a neighbor knows you, your schedule and habits, they will likely recognize unusual activity around your home.
- Educate family members on what to do: You don’t want to alarm your children, but talking about what to do if it appears a stranger wants to enter the home is a good idea. Above all, if a child or adult feels something is wrong, call 911. Too often, people wait too long to call for help.
“If you don’t have maintenance, things are overgrown and the cameras go down, it weakens your safety plan,” Johnston added.
“We teach ‘stranger danger’ and have fire drills in school, but we forget to talk about security plans at home. Being proactive, sensible and smart, goes a long way. It’s not about living in fear, but giving yourself the tools and confidence to stand up if you need to,” Kerr added.
- Pull your eyes away from your phone more often: Too often, we walk around glued to our phones, Johnston said, not realizing activity around us. This gives time for people to easily conceal themselves in alcoves, behind pillars, bushes or shrubs. Making a habit of checking your surroundings more often is good practice, the security expert said.