– Ben Martens

Home Safety

At our last homeowner’s association, a Woodinville police offer was a guest speaker. She talked about the types of calls that came from our area (there aren’t many), and the size of the Woodinville police force (only 1 or 2 officers on patrol at any given time.) At the end of the talk, she offered to come by our houses and talk about security. Most people seemed to ignore this line, but I got her card and a few days later, we set up a meeting.

When she got to the door, she said, “I’ve been in this house before.” “I hope it was for something good!” “Oh yes, the original owners were the neighborhood watch captains.” Phew!

She walked around inside and outside and gave me some tips. Overall she said we were doing really well. Obviously I’m not going into detail about what she suggested we improve, but here are some general things she talked about that she sees:

  • Don’t put big bushes in front of your windows. This gives burglers a place to hide while they peek in. Keep them trimmed down below the bottom of the windows and the bottom of the bush should be 1-2 feet off the ground.
  • Make sure all your windows are locked or have dowels in the track to avoid them being forced open.
  • Where can someone hide outside your front door? You want to be safe if you step outside at night.
  • Which entries are the least visible from the street and your neighbor’s houses? Those are the most enticing.
  • What electronics can you see if you look in from the windows?
  • What kinds of friends do your kids have? Kids talk and if you have cool stuff in your house and an easy way to break in, word is going to get around.

I’ve made it a point to get to know as many of my neighbors as possible so hopefully they’ll notice if anything odd is going on. While there’s not any special history of burglaries in this area, there’s no reason not to take some simple precautions. A lot of this is common sense, but the trick is to make your house harder to break into than your neighbors’.