Crime in rural areas is significantly lower than that in urban areas, but taking these steps to protect your investment in your property will give you peace of mind.
Statistics are useful for making decisions, but when it comes to crime on a personal basis, averages don't cut it. When we are the victim, that is all that matters. A major review of FBI crime data shows a distinct difference in crime from urban to rural areas. That is a comforting fact for those of us who live in rural areas.
Crimes reported to the FBI in 2012, the most recent date available at the time of this writing, were segregated as follows:
|Type of Offense||Cities in Metro Areas||Small Cities||Non-Metro Counties|
|Property Crime, such as theft||36.8%||44.1%||19.2%|
In spite of these trends, it is noteworthy that even though crime happens less in rural areas, it is still significant to those affected. There are steps we can take as homeowners in rural areas to reduce our chances of being victims of criminal violence or robbery.
Select a Good Security System
One of the first steps is to install a good home security system. There are numerous options for both self-installed and professionally-installed systems. There may be hardwired sensors on doors, motion detectors or a combination.
Almost three times as many homes without security systems are burglarized. This attests to the fact that intruders are looking for the "easy" mark.
If you choose a monitored system, be sure that it has cellular connections in addition to a hardwired system to send a distress signal to the monitor center. In case of power failure or burglars disabling the phone connection, the signal will still be sent.
There are modern systems that incorporate cameras when motion is detected. This can alert you on your cell phone so you can view and discourage the potential intruder.
Some systems have an option to emit a sound, but not send a signal to the monitoring center. This can alert the homeowner if the door is breached when they are home and not near a doorway. This allows for reaction time for the homeowner to take steps to repel an invader.
The bottom line is that you need to do adequate research and select the system that best meets your needs, budget and personal likes. You may want to invite a sales representative to be on-site to help walk you through the options.
Additional options for rural home security
Looking beyond security systems, there are a number of things that you can do to protect your property. Some of these are:
Avoid having heavy shrubbery around entrance areas where intruders could lurk out of sight.
Place security system signs around the home, even if you don't have a system. This might cause a prowler to look elsewhere for easier pickings.
Use deadbolt locks on all doors.
Install fences where possible around homes. If that’s not possible in the front yard, at least fence the backyard, where intruders might not be easily visible.
If significant acreage is involved, post signs on property limits, access roads, etc.
Never leave keys in vehicles and always lock them. Even if a window is broken, insurance companies will note that you took precautionary steps.
Timing of most burglaries
Believe it or not, the greatest number of burglaries occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. In addition, weekdays have a higher rate of burglaries, and for some strange reason, August has the notoriety of being the worst month for burglary. If you have neighbors within a reasonable proximity, meet with them to establish a rural version of a "neighborhood watch" program. Neighbors who are home during the daytime can be very helpful in observing activity that seems out of the ordinary when others are at work.
More tips for discouraging burglars
Here are some more tips to help discourage burglars from targeting your home:
Leave a TV or radio on to sound like someone is home, or set them on a timer to come on frequently.
If you are away from home and have multiple vehicles, leave one in the driveway.
“Beware of dog” signs may scare off some intruders. Consider owning a dog. Even small dogs’ barking can discourage potential burglars.
Be sure doors are locked. Strangely enough, a significant number of burglaries occur due to unlocked doors.
Install motion detector lights in dark areas.
Tips for Home Security when you are away for an extended period
Intruders look for the telltale signs of a homeowner’s absence, so consider these tips when you leave for an extended period of time:
Multiple newspapers in the driveway or mailbox can tip an intruder off that no one has been home for a while. Contact the mail and newspaper service to pause deliveries while you’re away.
Garbage cans left out on an unscheduled day can signal your absence. Ideally, you should arrange to dispose of any garbage before you leave so your garbage cans can be kept out of view.
No lights on at night. Consider placing some light on a timer.
Overgrown grass or shrubbery. Have a yard service maintain your property if you are away for an extended period.
Let a trusted neighbor know that you will be away and leave notification information with them.
No one wants to be a victim. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to avoid this by being proactive. The tips above could save you a lot of grief and aggravation.