It seems that Chicago’s bloody summer was something of an unusual occurrence. Murder rates have decreased since the 60’s, but Chicago still ranks 55 in America’s list of cities most prone to theft. The top ten belong almost exclusively to Central California, places like Redding, Fresno, Modesto and Bakersfield. The city recorded a drop in murders of 29-percent, and shootings have dropped by 25-percent. Mayor Rahm Emanuel credits this to “All of the four P’s –policing, parenting, prevention and penalties” but adds that “I don’t think anybody can rest on their laurels.”
The past few years for Chicago have been a long and slow climb toward recovery. The city continues to work on its high crime rates with legislation aimed at penalizing illegal gun ownership and other crimes, but if you live in a dangerous city, you should take steps to secure your home and your belongings.
Barring your Windows
Barring your windows can seem like a good option for many households. You can find security fittings for windows at less than $500, but these fittings may lower the value of your property. It’s true that security bars will deter thieves because of the difficulty to open them, but in a fire you will be unable to use a window for escape. Still, you can choose from a variety of fixtures that can match the aesthetic of your house, so shop around before you make your final decision.
Valuable metals are prone to damage if not stored properly. Chicago is known to be a bit reckless, so store valuables in secure, climate controlled self storage from Uncle Bob’s. Your local storage facility might also be an excellent choice to store valuables. Storage units can hold artwork, antiques, and other larger pieces you may not wish to display in your home. The benefits are twofold, climate controlled storage rooms keep your belongings pristine, and you clear clutter from your home.
According to BankRate, window shopping is the first step toward theft. The best defense against curious eyes is to reduce the visibility of the inside of your home. Draw blinds or use white sheer curtains that obscure the layout of the inside of your home. Refrain from displaying expensive pieces in places that are easy to spot from the street, and trim the bushes around your yard to reduce the chance of someone using them as cover to get a closer look.
Set up a Motion Camera
You can use your laptop and your WiFi connection to set up a camera in your home. For less than $100 you can use some simple software to create a security station. When motion is detected, you can tap into your security feed and watch what’s going on in your home. It may not deter thieves outright, but the video footage can greatly assist in recovery.
Outdoor security lights are another option that work well for driveways in any city. In a study by the Department of Justice, researches looked at Kansas City, New Orleans, Fort Worth and other cities to determine if an increase in lighting would lead to a decrease in crime. They found that criminal will adapt to the increased lighting, possibly displacing their activity to another neighborhood, but that increased lighting indirectly benefits the neighborhoods that utilize it.
Be sure to go over safety procedures with your family, and call each other frequently to make sure you are safe. You don’t need an expensive security system if you can make a few simple changes to your home.