1) Lock your doors
Believe it or not, most criminals walk right through the front door. It is the primary entry point. So lock your doors and you community will be safer.
In addition to locking your front door, lock the garage door, car doors, etc. Most criminals are looking for easy opportunities and will pass on by if it is locked.
2) Get an alarm, and USE it
This is common sense, but a relatively low cost alarm is a great way to secure your home. This comes with a huge caveat -- many alarm owners don't actually set their alarm! So get an alarm and set it every night. These days there are phone apps that can really make it easy to arm and disarm. We recommend ring.com for its ease of use, and self installation, but if you have a large house > 2000 sq ft you might want professional assistance to install all the sensors.
3) Connect your Alarm to your HOA (if supported)
Some HOAs allow you to connect your home alarm to your HOA security for central monitoring. If this is available from your HOA security you should do it because the response time versus police should be much faster.
4) Install Cameras and Connect the outside facing ones to HOA security
Get at a minimum two cameras -- doorbell and one more. You can read how we recommend you set them up in our other learning blog post here.
Once you have installed cameras, we recommend using a remote guarding service such as Patrolio on the outside cameras. Through that service you can send suspicious nighttime events directly to HOA security. Basically what happens is your street facing camera sees something suspicious, such as two people walking slowly at 2am. Patrolio reviews the video clip, and will immediately text / call your HOA security to come check it out. This is like a modern, digital neighborhood watch. HOA security can decide to escalate further to Police if necessary. Remember these are outside cameras, with the purpose to deter property crime such as a break-in to a car parked on the street or in your driveway.
Of course we recommend www.patrolio.com because they work with your existing cameras.
More about Patrolio
This has happened to me: 3am camera alarm goes off. I run downstairs with no phone, no weapon, no pepper spray in my underwear. Adrenaline pumping. I was totally caught off guard and unprepared for the drunk man actively trying to get in my house. It changed my perspective about how to be prepared.
Cameras by themselves are not enough! They are just a sensor that detects something. We recommend creating your own response plan, which may include a weapon, your phone, and your spouse/partner. We highly recommend doing a drill just like the fire drills you do at work to test your response and even your family’s response.
We also recommend choosing a remote guarding service that can respond for you so you are not on your own. A service like Patrolio can directly receive the motion alert and actively scare away the trespasser using the siren or two-way audio on the camera. These services are brand new to homes but have been around for businesses for awhile. Check it out at www.patrolio.com