Tuesday, November 4, 2008

see the window see the pane

I made the mistake of looking at crime statistics for our neighborhood again, and now I'm all paranoid. I checked them before we decided on making an offer on the house and by precinct they are lower than they are in our current neighborhood for most things, so thats good.  Our apartment currently is on the 2nd floor, which in and of its self keeps us safe from all but the most incredibly dedicated intruder so, even though the stats are higher here, we specifically are quite safe.

Now we're moving to a ground level home on a corner. A good part of any security system is risk assesment. How likley you are to be a target helps determine what sort of protections you should take. We are near a main (yet residential) street, and a few blocks over from an even more major arterial, where a fair amount of the West Seattle crime seems to focus (probably no different than any major arterial in that regard).  We have about a 4 foot exposed foundation which puts all the main windows out of reach without a ladder. One of the doors needs a dead bolt, and that has already been a priority.  But I walk around it and look at the basement and I feel the vulnerabilites of the place to burglary.  The basement has windows at ground level which would be a great place to wriggle in through. Then there is the back yard . . . The one thing I can say for the ugly McMansion next door and its 6foot cinderblock wall is that that wall blocks off the view to our back yard considerably.  It is thus a lot less likely that someone would notice that we have a basement door, completely hidden from view that would make a great place to work unseen at picking a lock. Or, much more likely, smashing a window and just walking in. 

This totally freaks me out. I've already priced polycarbonate panes for the basement windows which are super hard to shatter. It's not too expensive, especially at the smaller sizes we'd need for the basement. I need to look at the casements and see if this would make any sense. If the windows themselves are not well attached then the shatterproof plastic will just make a large distribution of impact force all around, facilitating popping the sash right out. With no chunks of jagged glass lingering in the opening, getting in isn't even dangerous once you've got the window kicked in.  I love having the light down there, but I think it is very risky, so I want to see what we can do to find a decent mitigation of risk.  We need to put curtains on all those windows too so if the place is ever cased people can't see in and get any intel about how hard/dangerous/easy the job may be, nor any incentive based on what they might see- especially if Aimee ends up with any sort of photo work studio down there. 

 The door seriously needs to be addressed. I'm considering replacing it with one with no window.  I really want to get the power on over there so I can get down there with more light and investigate.  I think if anyone is paying attention in those neighborhoods, being a new / still moving in resident is a high risk time. You're not there a lot of the time, and all your stuff is conveniently still in boxes.

 I feel pretty good about our neighborhood, but I feel less good about those around it, and if something were to happen I'd regret too much not having taken more precaution in the first place.

Also: Go vote.


  1. we love bars here in chicago. light comes in, people do not. and you can open the windows to let air in. you can have all kinds of differetn designs put into them too. so obviously i think you need to make a chaseman crest and then have someone incorporate it into the bars for your basement windows. didn't you say Don welds? or only solders? i can't remember.

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