Country Woods Block Watch, spearheaded by Captain Peter Tilbury and BW members Anne Tilbury and Sybil Rowe organized a presentation entitled “Target Hardening” at the Kensington Prairie Community Centre on Friday March 27th for four Grandview Heights Block Watch groups.
Ashley Sousa, South Surrey Crime Prevention Programs Coordinator (Phone: 604.599.7862 E-mail: email@example.com) kicked off the night. She explain how Block Watch functions and what the RCMP is looking for from our community in terms of 911 and the non-emergency number calls. For your reference the non-Emergency number is 604-599-0502
Next there were two presentations by companies who have products that can help to make your home less attractive to the thieves that have targeted homes in this area over the past 12 months.
The first speaker was Frank Fourchalk (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 604-531-0715) of White Rock Lock and Key. He covered a wide range of topics, many of which are covered in great detail on his very comprehensive website which is a must-see if you have any questions on home security.
He described one method in particular that is relevant to many homes because burglars are able to “shoulder” their way through front doors as a result of the built-in weakness of many metal-clad doors and the way deadbolts are installed. Because these doors are usually framed with wood and covered with a thin layer of sheet metal, the door is substantially weakened when a hole is drilled for the deadbolt installation, leaving it vulnerable to thieves. This can be simply and cheaply remedied by the installation of door reinforcers, which can be done by a homeowner (you need to measure back set and door thickness) or by a locksmith.
Here are examples from Home Depot, but they are widely available elsewhere. He also described the correct way a deadbolt should be installed to maximize security, in particular how the screws into your striker plate should be 3” in length. 70% of all break-ins are done through doors.
If you have glass in the vicinity of your door, you can use Lexan, a polycarbonate, on the inside or outside of the window glass to keep burglars from breaking the glass and unlocking your deadbolt from the inside. Bars are not recommended unless you have a way of escaping out through them in case of fire.
Door chains are less than worthless as they don’t work. Bad guys can actually reach inside the door gap and unscrew the plate the chain is attached to!
It’s a good idea to have lights on inside the house on timers, whether you are home or away, and set up your sound system so the speakers are playing talk radio near the front door when you’re out. Vary the light timers to confuse undesirables stalking your home.
There are wireless driveway intruder detectors mounted 4’ high (to avoid false alarms from animals) that will alert you when someone walks up your driveway. Should you observe a suspicious person about to burglarize your home, you can hit the panic button on your monitored alarm system so the alarm company can summon the police, or trigger your car alarm from your car key fob to scare them off.
Either way, the consensus was that anyone who feels threatened should feel free to call the police, at 911 if it’s an emergency or an imminent threat. Fourchalk also recommended (especially for women living alone) buying a large pair of work boots, muddying them up, and placing them outside the front door along with a “Do Not Disturb – Shift Worker” sign!
Of particular interest was the latest generation of glass breakage detectors which are very effective at tripping as burglars attempt entry, rather than using traditional Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRs) which are tripped only after entry is made to your home. They also help limit false alarms. Burglar Stop also has a selection of the latest technology in wireless front door intercom and security camera systems, including units that take pictures of everyone who rings your doorbell, and portable intercoms you can carry with you that enable you to answer the front door from anywhere in the house. You can now activate your home alarm system from a key fob (panic alarm button available) or smart phone, and they stressed how important it was to have an LED light visible as you drive up to your garage door. That way you’ll know whether or not your alarm system has been activated so you can switch it off as you drive in.
Here’s an overview of related intercom technology from the Internet.
Apparently some home insurers offer discounts for Block Watch participants, and I’m told that you may also get a discount as a result of the new postal code we’ve been awarded recently, so check with your insurance company. Our Block Watches do not endorse any particular security companies and this information is presented as resource only.
By Gary Cameron, 5-380 Block Watch Captain
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and are presented here by the GHSA to encourage healthy debate and inform. The GHSA Blog exists as a resource to enable members concerned with the environmental and community stewardship of Grandview Heights to voice perspectives. When directors of the Association contribute to the blog, they do so as private citizens, not as officers representing the Association. The GHSA reserves the right to edit, condense or reject any contribution.
Tracy Holmes of the Peace Arch News covers the event and related issues in her April 10, 2015 article here.