Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, who serves local neighborhoods such as the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest, is reminding residents to safeguard their homes during the summer.
Rosen's office recommends taking a series of simple, proactive steps to improve safety and help reduce the risk of physical harm to people and property, financial loss and disruption to daily life. According to crime data reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 26,031 burglaries in Harris County in 2020.
The constable's office also offers free home safety inspections to Precinct 1 residents. They are conducted by state-certified crime prevention specialists, and the service includes inspecting residences, identifying potential vulnerabilities and advising residents on ways to make their homes more secure. To schedule a free home inspection, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"There is no such thing as 'too safe' when it comes to your and your family's personal safety," Rosen said. "Please encourage all your friends and neighbors in the communities we serve to utilize the resources our office provides to keep our neighborhoods safe."
To help thwart crime on your property, Rosen recommends taking the following steps and considerations:
- Remember that before they break in, burglars and other perpetrators scope out properties and residents that look like easy targets.
- Hiding places are attractive to evil doers. Keep hedges and tree limbs cut. Overgrown bushes or tree limbs offer burglars convenient hiding places and make your property a more ideal target. Look from the street to see what burglars see. Are cars packed in the driveway? Is the garage door left open? Is your fence easily scaled?
- Leave the exterior lights to your residences on during nighttime hours to communicate someone is home. Consider adding sensors and timers on interior lights to improve the perception that people are in the home when you are away.
- Add lighting to dark porches and other spaces where criminals can hide undetected, even in daytime. Stay alert as you enter places where someone could hide from view. Have your phone ready to call 911 and resist the urge to talk on the phone or check email and social media as you enter your home. It can wait.
- Properly secure your residence to greatly reduce your chances of being a victim. Address loose and faulty locks on windows and doors and teach the whole family the importance of locking doors behind them, even when people are home.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle, even for a moment. Thieves, who often work in teams, cruise neighborhoods in search of opportunities for a quick hit-and-getaway.
- If you can afford it, install a security alarm and keep it armed. Make sure the security company sign is clearly visible in the front yard to make your property a less desirable target.
- Book a free home safety inspection from your community law enforcement agency, if they offer it.
Rosen said small changes can lead to greater protection for your home and family and may also lead to some financial savings. In addition to preventing loss claims and expense for deductibles or replacement of stolen and damaged items, most insurance companies know a properly secured residence could reduce the possibility of a filed claim.
Some companies offer a discount for a properly secured residence, Rosen said, so an inspection from the constable's office may help make your case for a customer discount.