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Caution. Free security assessments can deter criminals, police advise

MADISON – The City of Madison has one of the lowest crime rates in North Alabama. However, citizens cannot be naive about the work of both police professionals and cautious residents to reach this comfortable level of safety.

Madison Police Department encourages residents to consider the implementation and completion of a security assessment. “While we are constantly growing and building, Madison remains one of the safest places to live,” Community Relations Officer Teresa Taylor-Duncan said. “The Madison Police Department has implemented a new program providing residential and commercial security assessments as a free service to its citizens.”

The assessment reviews neighborhood crime trends, perimeter security, alarms, landscaping as a deterrent, locks and access to a building, lighting, protection of personal assets, safety habits and procedures to prevent victimization. “Madison Police Department currently has a police officer who is a Certified Security Assessment Specialist trained in educating residents and businesses on how to ‘harden the target’ and avoid complacency in home and commercial security,” Duncan said.

In addition, the Security Assessment Specialist can provide services to houses of worship on how to keep their assets and members safe. “Often, churches take a mindset of ‘it won’t happen to a church,’ and this (outlook) may lead to theft, liability due to failing to control access, and incidents of criminal mischief resulting in damage to church property,” Duncan said.

The Madison police force can show residents the locations of weaknesses and recommend ways to strengthen existing defenses against loss, damage and liability.

The residential assessment usually takes 1.5 hours for the onsite portion. A city employee will deliver a written recommendation report to the homeowner. The report will include crime stats from the area in proximity to the home, along with state recommendations about the steps that the homeowner or tenant can complete to improve the level of security.

“Commercial and house of worship assessments take longer based on the size of the facility, number of employees and type of business,” Duncan said. “We cover access control (internal and external), perimeter safety, cameras and alarms, security of the physical structure, lighting and many other aspects that serve to create a more secure business.”

The Security Assessment is a free service offered to residents, businesses and houses of worship within the jurisdictions of Huntsville and Madison police departments. To schedule an assessment, call 256-772-5658 or email teresa.taylor-duncan@madisonal.gov.

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