AMES, Iowa – Protecting their property and possessions is at the forefront of any homeowner’s mind. Maintaining security when living on an acreage adds an additional challenge to that task.
Safety on an acreage is the topic of the article “Security for your Acreage,” featured in July’s issue of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Acreage Living Newsletter. The article is written by Shawn Shouse, agricultural engineering specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
Minimizing risk begins with having a plan, according to Shouse.
“The first thing to do is sit down with everyone who lives on that property and work through a security audit,” Shouse said. “Identify where you might have risks and what can be done to cover them better. For example, there might not be much of value in the garage but there is an expensive collection of something in the house. In that case the priority would be to make sure the house is as secure as possible.”
While making a property completely secure is not possible, the article discusses how things like improved lighting, signage, fencing, gates and locks can all make a property less attractive for thieves or vandals. More active security measures like surveillance cameras, alarms and integrated systems are also an option.
Talking to experts also can help form a security plan. Insurance agents can assist in making sure everything is covered, should it get damaged or stolen.
“Insurance agents can be a big help because they know what kind of information they would need to process a claim and can give pointers to help a homeowner document their belongings,” Shouse said.
A conversation with a local law enforcement officer is also a good idea.
“A sheriff or police officer is going to be very helpful in talking about prevention,” Shouse said. “They love to talk to homeowners before a problem starts and to give them advice to let them know what issues they see and what might be done to correct those issues.”
The article also discusses how neighbors can help improve security. A network of concerned and connected neighbors is a great deterrent and information source.
“Get to know your neighbors and talk with them so they can help in noticing right away if something fishy looks like it’s happening,” Shouse said. “This can be a huge help if someone is going to be gone for a night or weekend, neighbors can drive by and keep an eye on the property. A network of neighbors can be very valuable.”
The July issue of the Acreage Living Newsletter also includes articles on toxicity in raised bed construction materials, managing a high tunnel, Palmer amaranth, nest boxes and brush piles for wildlife, and a schedule of upcoming ISU Extension and Outreach field days.