Safety First

At Genesis Land, we know how important it is for people to feel safe and supported in the neighbourhoods they call home, which is why we work hard, right from the start, to create and nurture a climate of safety in every community we build.

“There are definitely some best practices for encouraging safer communities, and it really begins with the overall community design and layout,” says Brendan McCashin, Vice President of Land Development at Genesis Land.

McCashin explains that, when designing a community, things like lighting, landscaping and even the placement of certain buildings or public spaces can go a long way in both encouraging a sense of security and discouraging criminal activity.

“Designing well-lit areas, ensuring that parks can be seen from front porches and are not tucked away behind fences and trees, and just making sure that areas are visible and well-maintained are all ways to help create a safer community overall,” says McCashin.

Of course, no community is completely immune to such things as property crime or other offenses. But in newer communities, where people tend to take a lot of pride in their homes and make great use of the amenities around them, incidences of crime tend to be lower.

“I think when you design a good community that people want to live in, and it has good parks, pathways and gathering places for people to meet their neighbours and create that sense of belonging, then everyone kind of looks out for each other,” says McCashin. “And looking out for each other is going to help make things safer and deter crime.”

Indeed, when we’re out and about in our neighbourhoods, taking part in neighbourhood activities, helping with neighbourhood upkeep and watching out for one another, we are all working to build a stronger, safer community.

In addition to this collective effort, there are a number of practical, hands-on things we can all do within our own individual households to fortify our sense of security. Here are six more ways to help prevent crime and enhance safety at home and throughout your community:

Light it up. Turn on your porch lights when the sun goes down and use motion-activated lights in other outdoor areas of your property that tend to be cloaked in darkness. A sudden flood of bright light can go a long way in startling a potential intruder and stopping them in their tracks.

Lock it up. Make a habit of locking all of your home’s entry points (including the door between your house and garage) before going out or going to sleep. Don’t forget second- and third-storey windows or sliding doors — what might seem like unlikely entry points to you may be especially enticing to an intruder. Be sure, as well, that all of your locks are working correctly, that your external doors fit properly against their doorframes, and that all external door hinges are non-removable.

Secure your vehicle(s). Whenever possible, park your car in the garage. Be sure the overhead door closes completely after you drive into or out of the garage. If you have to leave your car on the street or in the driveway, remove all valuables from the vehicle (including the garage door opener) and make sure it’s locked, the windows are closed and that your registration and insurance documents are secure.

Invest in a security system. Installing alarms or security cameras in conspicuous places is known to be an effective way of deterring intruders — when potential offenders see that an area is under surveillance, they are far less likely to act. Another perk: alarm systems can also monitor home hazards like smoke, fire, carbon monoxide and leaks, and potentially reduce insurance cost.

Keep your yard tidy. Maintain clear sightlines by trimming back any trees whose branches block your windows and ensuring all bushes or hedges on your property are no taller than three feet — anything taller can serve as a hiding place. Be sure, as well, to put away items like toys, bikes and tools when not in use. Finally, consider using a chain and padlock to secure your patio furniture, barbecue or any other outdoor items that you can’t put away in your garage or shed.

Take precautions when going out of town. If you’re going on vacation, it’s important to make sure your home still looks like there’s someone in it. Consider using smart light switches to maintain normal lighting patterns, cancel all deliveries and arrange for a neighbour or someone else you trust to mow your lawn, shovel snow from your driveway and put the trash and recycling bins out on collection days.

Creating and maintaining safer communities is truly a group effort. By getting to know our neighbours, being active in local initiatives and taking preventive measures at home, we can all make a significant impact on deterring crime and enhancing quality of life for everyone around us.

Check out the Calgary Police Service’s home safety pointers here: