We all want Secure homes & Safe neighborhoods. This is why in less than safe areas you will find home prices are lower than in more sought after safer areas.
This article will cover some ways for you to check to see if the area you want to move into is as safe as you would like it. It will also show you some ways you can work with your neighbors in the surrounding community to make positive changes. You and your neighbors can easily work together to have secure homes and build safer neighborhoods.
How Safe is The Neighborhood?
In St. Cloud the Police Department can tell you what calls have been handled in a given area around the home address you are thinking of buying. This is a good call to make, but even in good neighborhoods there are police calls, so don’t panic. Knock on doors. This is useful in a few ways.
The neighbors who do not have their homes on the market will likely give an honest report of what the neighborhood is like. They may have information on the home you are thinking of buying. Also, meeting the neighbors, before you buy the house and move in, may be a good idea. The good news is if you are buying a home in St. Cloud, there are many great neighborhoods, and it is perhaps the most affordable city of it’s size in Minnesota.
Security in the home involves a lot more these days than it did 20 years ago, heck even in the last 10 things have drastically changed. Now people have cameras on their home to let them know when someone is at the door and the ring is even built into the doorbell. This seems like a great system and when properly locked down it is. However as with most things there is also the flip side to these handy little doorbells.
According to industry experts there are tools circulating on hacker forums that have compromised the smart cameras in the Ring. Several of the stories are very disconcerting. The video in the link also has a good warning for holiday home security and watching your mail too.
Cyber Security in the Home
Please know that any piece of technology you bring into your home can be hacked. There were reports of schools turning on the camera in laptops students took home to see the home environment almost 10 years ago. There is a simple old school hack back for this called duck tape, just a small piece right over the camera stops this problem, but I digress.
Take the time to look over the proper security protocols for any and all new electronic devices. It is important and at this time of year you might have a lot of new ones coming into your home. Please look over and research the newest smart TV’s and check out the links I have provided. There are some good groups to get more familiar with Cyber security and multiple great places to ask questions about home security.
Safe Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology is great and more affordable every year. You can adjust the heat or cooling, turn on and off lighting, cameras and your sound system from a smart phone or laptop remotely. Set your own complex unique passwords to minimize hacking
If you have concerns about cyber security, there are still some great devices to improve security, such as the remote control security outlets I found at the St. Cloud Menards store. Three outlets and a key fob remote will allow you to turn on lights before entering the house, or without going downstairs, or getting out of your car.
Windows and Doors and Facebook!
Windows and doors are self explanatory when discussing secure homes. Keep them locked. When gone keep blinds closed. Put a light or 2 on a timer and have your neighbor check in on the home. Also exchange contact information with your neighbors so you can talk to each other as needed.
Doors and windows might be easy but many people miss the fact that Facebook can be a huge security breach. Facebook can and will, if not careful, leave you vulnerable no matter how safe your neighborhood. People will post their trip plans, their holiday plans and so much more. Posting and happily posting and not look at the fact that their settings allow everyone to see when they will not be home.
An empty home with Fido at the dog sitters is the perfect time for a break in. Be safe and share the fun after you get back. Also be sure to check your settings to see if friends of friends can see your plans and your pictures. Something as innocent as a post in front of the wrong person can destroy secure homes and safe neighborhoods in an instant. Best plan for sharing pictures of your trip, your holiday etc is after you are safely back home.
Starting a Neighborhood Watch in St Cloud
St. Cloud Mn has made it very easy for residents who want to start their own Neighborhood Watch. Here are the basics:
- Identify other concerned citizens in your area.
- Appoint or elect a watch captain for each block size area to be included your Neighborhood Watch.
- Call John Justin, Crime Prevention Specialist, at (320) 345-4182 to set up a time for him to conduct a start-up meeting. Make sure that you have several times available that will work for your participants in order to make it easier to coordinate this meeting.
- Placement of Neighborhood Watch signs will occur after the 2nd meeting (please note that the start up meeting does not count)
- Print out the complete list of Neighborhood Crime Watch criteria for reference and instruction.
Starting a Neighborhood Watch in Greater Central MN
If you are out of the St Cloud MN area and wish to start a local Neighborhood Watch program there are other wonderful resources for you. The best resource for starting a Neighborhood Watch program is your local police department. Contact them through their non-emergency number, and ask for assistance, they will be happy to help. Also check out the National Crime Prevention Council information and be sure to check out USAonWatch.org
Secure Homes & Safe Neighborhoods
Working with your neighbors and building a neighborhood watch group in conjunction with local law enforcement you can create a safe home and neighborhood for you and your family.
A big “Thank you” to Kathy J. of St Cloud MN for contacting me via ActiveRain with this idea for a blog post on Secure homes & Safe neighborhoods and starting a neighborhood watch. Also John Justin, Crime Prevention Specialist, will be retiring soon so if you call please thank him for his years of service to the people of St Cloud.
If you are relocating to central Minnesota check out all the wonderful reasons to love St Cloud. It is a beautiful area full of things to do and lots of great houses. I would welcome the opportunity to help you find your perfect place here. Browse my website for more information about buying or selling a home, or property in the Central Minnesota real estate market.
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