HOME SECURITY: Ozark Police offer free home security evaluations

Published: Jan. 24, 2017 at 10:53 PM CST
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It's called home sweet home for a reason. Homes are a sanctuary that most people think are secure from outside threats.

When it comes to home security, Ozark resident Ramona Sheffield said "I thought I was pretty set."

When Sheffield received a note inside her utility bill offering free security evaluations from the Ozark Police Department, she wasn't going to do it. "All I was thinking about was the inside of the house," she explained. "I was thinking I don't know anything else I could do."

Sheffield changed her mind, though, and Officer Chris Schwartz checked over her home. Schwartz is certified with the national Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design(CPTED) program.

It taught him something he never thought he'd do. "Think like a criminal," he said. "Look at a house or a business as if I were a criminal. How I would want to break into a house?"

Lighting, he explained, is not only key but also an area where most people are lacking, especially on the sides or back of the house.

"There's no windows. No one looking out, at all. So if you're thinking as a criminal coming in here you'd feel pretty comfortable nobody is going to see me at night with all this being dark," Schwartz said.

He also recommends to make sure bushes are trimmed below windows because it will deter criminals by eliminating hiding spots. "That's an easy fix. And the big part of CPTED is it's either no cost or low cost suggestions."

Schwartz also suggests locking gates and sheds, and adding outdoor decorations because it shows the homeowner cares for the property and that likely includes securing it.

By following these suggestions, Sheffield is feeling even safer in her home, she said, "I am not a person that gets scared easily, but I do feel more secure just having him here and having him tell me that there's nothing else I need to do."

Residents and businesses in Ozark can call the Ozark Police Department, (417) 581-7914, to schedule a free security evaluation.

On a related note, the department is reminding people lock their car doors; they've seen a rash of car break-ins recently.