Crimes rates may influence where renters choose to live

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Feb 16, 2010 10:33:00 AM

According to a national Apartments.com survey, 96% of respondents said neighborhood crime rate influences where they choose to live.  In fact, most renters are willing to pay more for additional safety features and to live in an area where they feel safe.

Top 5 Safety Features Renters Would Pay More For:

  1. In-unit security alarm system
  2. 24/7 building security patrol guards and a doorman
  3. Security cameras on the community property
  4. Mandatory background screening for all residents
  5. Cylinder deadbolt locks on windows and doors

Via Apartments.com

Unfortunately, there's not a magic formula to guarantee your personal safety or ensure that your home won't be burglarized at some point.  However, there are some things you can do to decrease your chances of becoming a victim of crime.

1. Stay Informed

A number of online resources are available to help you stay informed about what's going on in your community.  Some of my favorites include SpotCrime and EveryBlock

One advantage of SpotCrime is that it provides crime maps for cities around the world.  Not only do these maps tell you the location of the crime and what type of crime occurred, but when available, it also uses Google maps with Street View to provide you with a photograph of the exact location. 

Although limited to select US cities, EveryBlock provides a great deal more information than SpotCrime.  Not only do they have crime maps, but you can also find information on filmings, foreclosures, street closures, restaurant inspections, building permits, and property transfers. 

Visit the US Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Website to search for sex offenders by zip code.  From there, you will be provided with the name, home address, picture, date and location of the individual's conviction and a description of the crime.   

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Get to know your neighbors and be aware of what's going on around you. 

3. Don't Buzz People In, Hold the Door Open for Strangers, or Prop Open Common Doors

Locked doors and security systems are there for a reason and that's to keep you safe.  Every time you hold the door for someone you don't know or prop a door open, you may be putting yourself as well as other residents in danger.

4. Look for Safety Features When Choosing an Apartment

Upper-level apartments are less likely to experience break ins than ground level units.  Make sure all doors and windows have functional locks.  Main entrances should have peep holes.  If you have a sliding glass door, be sure to put a guard at the bottom to help prevent break ins.  Make sure you know who else has master keys to the apartment.  Security cameras, background checks of tenants, security officers that patrol the property and doormen or security gates are all added security measures.

Tags: safety tips, Community

L.A.'s business improvement districts help reduce crime with private security

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Feb 9, 2010 10:17:00 AM

In August 2009, I posted a story titled Security Patrols Help Reduce Panhandling describing how Securitas Mobile helped reduce panhandling in a Special Service Area (SSA), Six Corners, on Chicago's Northwest side. SSA's are designated areas of Chicago that fund expanded services and programs, not currently provided through the city, through a localized property tax levy.  Projects may include security services, area marketing and advertising assistance, promotional activities such as parades and festivals, or any variety of small scale capital improvements. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, a similar program referred to as Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) exists in L.A. where business and property owners in common areas have joined forces to keep their neighborhoods safe and clean.  Over the past twenty years, local law enforcement in L.A. has lacked the resources to keep up with increases in crime and dilapidated streets.  As a result, more than two dozen of these BIDS now employ private security in their area.  Rand Corporation conducted a study on Los Angeles BIDS, focusing on a 12-year period from 1994 to 2005.  According to an article titled L.A.'s business improvement districts help reduce crime, study finds, results from the study include:

  • No evidence exists suggesting that private security in the BIDS simply displaced crime to other neighboring areas.
  • In their examination of the city's 30 improvement districts, researchers found that violent crime dropped on average an extra 8% compared to the drop throughout the city during that period. For example, the study found that improvement districts saw an average drop in crime of 7% compared to 5.7% in areas without them.
  • Areas that spent the most on security were generally the most successful. The Hollywood Entertainment and Fashion District improvement districts each spent more than $1 million a year on public safety and security, while at least three others spent more than $300,000.

The article states, "The rise of the districts dovetails with Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton's push for community-based policing, based in part on the "broken-windows" theory that pushes for prosecution of small-scale crimes as a way of cutting down on blight in troubled areas...LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, who oversaw the department's Central Division downtown for several years, said the improvement districts act as a 'force multiplier for our officers. There is no doubt in my mind that our success in reducing crime downtown was due in large part to our partnership with the [improvement districts]. Those folks are terrific to work with.'"

Click here for the full article.

Tags: Security Trend Alert, Community

Milwaukee Officers Challenge Each Other to a Healthier Lifestyle

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Feb 3, 2010 11:50:00 AM

Officer Sedric said, "I know I look better, feel better and that my confidence has never been higher."

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Pictured left to right: David Atias, James Shoemaker and Sedric Smith

James Shoemaker, Mobile Officer in Milwaukee, WI has always made fitness a priority in his life.  Now, he's leading two of his colleagues on the journey to a healthier lifestyle.  "I have always liked to work out.  I always hoped that I could motivate others by doing it myself."  Officer Shoemaker has been serious about weight training and running for years.  With some encouragement from Shoemaker, Officer Sedric Smith decided to join a local gym in January 2009.  Shoemaker guided him through a regular weight training and jogging regimen, and Smith quickly dropped 25lbs.  They were a force to be reckoned with.

Officer David Atias was fully aware that two of his fellow officers had begun transforming their lifestyle and as a result, their physical stature.  He decided it was time for him to step up to the plate.  He began biking on a daily basis.  His skill level improved and the 3 officers started riding and informally competing with one another.  In less than 6 months, Officer Atias lost 70lbs.  Today, you can find Atias at the gym running, biking and weight training.

When asked what their goal weights are, these gentlemen simply explain that it's not about the number on the scale, but rather the way they feel.  "Our ultimate goal is to get ripped and to get in the best shape of our lives," said Shoemaker.  But what happens when someone slips up?  They've figured out a way to address that too.  Each participant has their own set of goals which include nutrition.  If someone violates their plan, they must document it on a list that is visible to the entire group.  They understand that the more they cheat, the longer it will take to achieve their goals.  Sedric said that his confidence level has improved and in some ways, he "feels invincible."  He feels as though his job performance has improved too.  The physical demand of the job is no longer so demanding.  Completing tasks is easier and done much quicker.  He feels more energized and alert than before.  Sedric said, "I know I look better, feel better and that my confidence has never been higher."

Tags: Health, Community

Securitas AB will publish Full Year Report on Thursday, February 4, 2010

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Feb 1, 2010 11:42:00 AM

Securitas AB will publish the Full Year Report for January-December 2009 on February 4, at 13.00 p.m. (CET).

13.00 Report release
The report will be sent as a press release from Cision (www.cision.se) and will automatically be published on http://www.securitas.com when released.

14.00 Presentation slides available
For presentation slides, follow the link www.securitas.com/presentations

14.30 The information meeting starts
Securitas CEO Alf Göransson to present the report and answer questions.
Venue: Securitas, Lindhagensplan 70, SE-102 28 Stockholm, Sweden. No pre-registration.

To follow the information meeting via telephone (and participate in Q&A session),
please register via the link: https://eventreg1.conferencing.com/webportal3/reg.html?Acc=457866&Conf=170622
and follow instructions, or call +44 (0)20 7162 0077 or +46 (0) 8 505 201 10.

To follow the web cast of the information meeting, please follow the link www.securitas.com/webcasts

Recorded versions
A recorded version of the web cast will be available at http://www.securitas.com/webcasts after the information meeting and a telephone-recorded version of the information meeting will be available until midnight on February 5 on: +44 (0)20 7031 4064 and +46 (0)8 505 203 33, access code: 856168.

Subscribe to press releases and financial information
To receive press releases and financial reports from Securitas, please follow the link http://www.securitas.com/subscribe and follow the instructions.

Information:
Micaela Sjökvist, Head of Investor Relations
Phone: +46 10 470 30 13. Mobile: +46 (0) 76 116 7443
Gisela Lindstrand, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
Phone: +46 10 470 30 11. Mobile: +46 (0)70 287 86 62

Tags: Announcements