Re: security in cohousing
From: Bitner/Stevenson (
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 19:50:12 -0600 (MDT)
I'm sorry, but that seems like quite a bit of overkill to me. There is a 
huge difference between how much crime there is in urban areas and how much
people perceive there to be. This is evidenced by the fact that every time
there is a crime in a rural or suburban area, you have people who are saying
things like,"We used to leave our doors unlocked at night-now we don't feel
safe anymore!"I've got news for them, and for people who think that you can
be safe, if only you have enough "security systems". Life is a very
dangerous business, and we are all inches away from death at any time; we
just choose not to be aware of it. There is no such thing as safe.

What you can do is make your space less of a target for crime, by doing the
things we already discussed here. The idea is not to keep people out of your
house who have already decided to break in, but to make them think that
breaking in would be a bad idea. Community is one way to do that.

I'm not saying you don't need common sense things like lights, etc. But I
think complicated alarm sysrems are more often an annoyance than a help.
When was the last time you saw a car alarm do anything but piss people off?
An alarm that wakes the neighbors is not going to promote good relations
when your teenager sneaks in the bedroom window.

Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

>From: Joe Gotobed <jgotobed [at] LPL.Arizona.EDU>
>To: Multiple recipients of list <cohousing-l [at]>
>Subject: Re: security in cohousing
>Date: Sat, Jul 31, 1999, 4:28 PM

> Security for me has always started with safety - security issues.
> I'd like to have a firealarm in each house and the common house that
> blasted a horn throughout the neighborhood.
> But I'd also like a completely wired home alarm system which
> is more generally described as an aperture sensor system. Each
> window/door has a sensor. (C0Ho included) . In it's alarm mode
> it would of course alert when any were opened. But in energy
> saving mode it would alert if the doors/windows opened while
> AC or heaters were running. Add to that motion sensors which
> could provide automated lighting (another energy saving issue)
> And of course the motion sensors could work in alarm mode
> as well. (Imagine you have a non-operating window that had
> no sensor, but the burglars broke it to get in.)
> Now replace the door locks with keyless entry and you've got
> the alarm enabled/disabled automatically when you come & go. Of
> course the doors have keyholes in 'em too for when the durn
> thing fails :-). (you can pass out one-time key-code to service
> folks so you don't need to hang around for the chiminy sweep).
> Given a neighborhood network (e.g. telephone PBX can do this)
> I'd set my alarm to accept alerts (fire included) from any of
> my neighbors *and* the common house. And when I was gone and
> turned it on then is would ring at the comon house any anybody
> else wh'd set theirs to accept alerts from their neighbors.
> Cost.... well yes as much as $1k per household. But if you decide
> to retro-fit later it could cost 50% more for wireless...

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