Thursday, October 30, 2014
I was reading a list of safety tips sent out over a local listserve. I don't quite agree with all of the tips and I thought I'd draft my own version. Feel free to critique my tips and add your own in the comments.
1. Know your neighbors and keep a friendly relationship with them. Exchange contact info. Ask your neighbors to look out for your place, and do the same for them.
2. Make sure you have well functioning locks on all doors (make sure to actually lock them).
3.Turn on lights on the rear and front porch/yard (motion detectors work fine).
#I'll add a quick note that I've actually seen a situation in which a landlord basically installed a streetlight on his back porch. This probably will prevent break-ins, but it also won't make you any friends because it means your neighbors can't enjoy their own backyards without being blinded.
4. Be smart and don't put the intact packaging out for that new flatscreen tv/Playstation/ect. that you just got. Cut it up and place the pieces in the recycling bit by bit if you can't fit them all in that first week. Don't be that jerk who puts it into your neighbor's trash.
5. If you get packages delivered at home, try to either be home, or have a easy place that the delivery person can stash the package where it can't easily been seen from the street. If you have a neighbor who is home during the day, you might also see if he/she would be willing to accept the package.
6. Have functioning locks on all windows. Make sure they are locked. Don't leave windows open when you aren't home. Be careful about leaving windows open when you are sleeping because someone might break in assuming nobody is home.
#This happened years ago to someone I knew whose roommate was home sick (the guy left the sleeping girl alone, but found another roommate's pot, smoked it, ate some chips, and pooped on the bed). Bad things can happen if someone breaks in while you are home.
7. Be careful about establishing visible patterns about when and how you leave home each day. Someone could be watching.
8. Consider trimming back bushes/trees that might make it easy for someone to break in (i.e., obscure the view of the house from the street).
9. Pause newspaper and mail deliveries when you leave town, but have a neighbor check anyway because sometimes the stuff still gets delivered.
10. Use timers for lights when you leave town.
1. That street you are walking down, does it have one side that is more brightly lit than the other? If so, take the better lit side (same goes if you can choose between a well lit street and a dim sidestreet). It is generally safer to walk down streets with traffic and business.
2. Watch out for alleys and other places someone might easily pull you into.
3. Don't walk with headphones (especially at night).
4. Be careful about walking with your hood up (especially at night).
5. Take care when using your cell phone for talking or texting (especially at night).
#I once had a roommate (a young black guy from a not so great neighborhood on the southside of Chicago) who got mugged a lot during his short time in DC. He got mugged twice around here, and four times (I believe, might have been three) in Columbia Heights. One of the ones around here was a failed mugging involved teens who threatened to throw a brick at him on I Street, the other was a young guy on a bike under a bridge in NoMa (the Florida Ave entrance) who pointed a gun at him and told him to "Run it." Upon further questioning it became clear that he had been walking with his hood up and headphones in while texting. So, even if you choose to do one of the above, please don't do all three at the same time.
1. Lock your doors.
2. Don't leave stuff of value visible. This might range from cell phones, to chargers, to laptops, to backpacks, six packs, and beyond. I've seen kids break into a car (including breaking every lock on the car with a screwdriver) over a dollar bill rolled up in the dashboard. If it could look good to a crackhead/kid, remove it from your car or put it in the trunk.