What is a risk assessment and why is it so important? A risk assessment involves looking at a problem–such as home safety–and finding flaws in your current situation. This is followed up by creating reasonable, actionable solutions to any flaws and implementing them. A risk assessment is a fantastic way to improve your home’s security overall.
1. Taking a Tour of Your Neighborhood
The way your neighborhood is setup has a great deal of influence on whether your home itself is safe. Is your home on a major road? At the end of a culd-e-sac? How are your neighbor’s homes maintained? Is there sufficient lighting? While there’s much about a neighborhood you can’t control, there are some things that you can, such as getting additional street lights added or promoting security awareness. If your neighbors’ houses are easy to break into, your neighborhood may very well get a reputation that it cannot easily shake.
2. Begin by Inspecting the Outside of Your Home
Ask yourself: if I was a thief, how would I enter into my home? This process can be quite illuminating; are there thick bushes by a ground floor window? Is there an easy way to work one’s way around your home without being seen? By walking yourself through this process, you’ll learn to think just like the criminals you’re trying to defeat–and you may notice things that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. Remember that criminals are looking for easy entrance points; if a home is too difficult to enter, they’re likely to just move on to the next target.
3. Finish Up the Inspection Inside
It can be almost impossible to prevent someone from getting into your home–even if you have a security system, they may still make their way in before setting it off. Now you need to ask yourself what the thieves will see and what they would easily be able to take. Are there valuables sitting out? Where do you keep your jewelry and other important possessions? Would the thieves be able to identify your more expensive items quickly before escape? Many potential issues can be sidestepped simply by having a safe in a hidden location. Thieves aren’t going to pour through your entire home; they’re looking for things they can grab quickly and leave.
4. Find Solutions to the Problems You Have Found
Once you have completed your risk assessment, you should find solutions to any of the issues that have come to your attention. If there are large areas of darkness in your yard, it may be time to install exterior lighting. If you have a charging station for your tablet right next to your door, putting it in a more discrete location could avoid problems down the line. Though these may be small changes, when taken together they will make your home more secure.
A risk assessment is generally a continual process; it’s something that you should do on an annual or semi-annual basis. Risk assessments should only take a couple of hours at most and will eventually come quite naturally to you. If you want, you can also involve your family so that they understand why changes are being made around the home and so they can contribute both problems and solutions.