Home security tips were the focus of the meeting led by Mills who is Gulfport Police Department’s licensed Florida crime prevention practitioner. This training and certification provides officers with the skills necessary to deliver comprehensive crime prevention programs to Florida’s residential population and commercial industry.
Mills described the concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED, which states a clean yard, good lighting, and having yard and windows unblocked makes your home less of a target. Not having large bushes in front of your windows, mowing your yard so you look home, keeping hanging tree branches above six feet, and displaying house number conspicuously to make your home easier to find for police were key points Mills described.
“The same goes for your car. Car break-ins are greatly deterred if locked and there are no valuables in plain view,” said Mills. He also mentioned a security system sign as a good deterrent, even if you don’t have a system, and that a dog is always great for making a burglar move onto the next home.
Officer Mills also talked about protecting your home while away.
“Don’t post on Facebook while on vacation. Criminals watch for this,” said Mills. He added that police in Gulfport and other communities will do a house check when you are out of town if requested.
“We will drive by and check your house at least every other day,” said Mills. Other advice he had for home protection while vacationing was making the home look lived in by having a car parked there or having timers on lighting.
The officer also spoke about home security systems. While police cannot endorse specific products because of liability concerns, he noted that wireless systems are the wave of the future.
“They are less maintenance, easier to install, and renters can take the system with them if they move,” said Mills. He mentioned that you can get a great wireless system for $500 to $700, but you should do your research before buying one.
“Pick two or three you like and narrow it down to which one will work for you,” he said.