Everyone wants to feel safe within their own home.

Recently, police in Jupiter, Fla., warned residents in homeowners associations to be on the lookout for a woman and man posing as landscapers or construction workers attempting to gain access to homeowners’ backyards. The Jupiter Police Department posted on social media that one of the alleged thieves will knock on a resident’s door to cause a distraction while the other one enters through the back and burglarizes the home.

Community associations can be diligent in their efforts to deter possible crimes by keeping residents informed of any criminal activity near or in the community. Associations also can create and share a list of verified contractors so that residents are aware of who to expect to provide maintenance and repair services. In addition, some associations have gates, courtesy patrols, surveillance cameras, and automated license plate readers, although these measures do not guarantee that crimes won’t occur.

Ultimately, homeowners are responsible for their own safety. Community leaders should encourage homeowners to get to know their neighbors and talk with them to find out if they have noticed any suspicious activity or crimes in the area. Associations also could consider creating and distributing a list of residents’ contact information so that neighbors can alert each other of any problems that arise.

Homeowners also can protect their home by following these tips:

  • Install double-cylinder deadbolt locks on outside doors. Install bars or lock pins on sliding doors and windows.
  • Install surveillance cameras or video doorbells, though be sure they adhere to association rules.
  • Lock all doors, windows, gates, and garages no matter how briefly you’ll be out of the house.
  • Leave a television or radio on to create a sense of activity if you’re going to be out of the house for a short time.
  • Leave the front porch light on at night.
  • Install timers to turn your lights or electronic devices on and off throughout the day if you’ll be out of town.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home if you’re going on a trip. Let neighbors and the community know how to reach you in case of an emergency.
  • If you see something, say something. Notify local law enforcement and the association’s board immediately if you notice suspicious activity in your community, regardless of how small.

Keeping crime away is a collective effort. Homeowners can do their part to make their community a safe place to call home.

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