I attended a neighborhood watch meeting last. I wanted to present what took place and the things we can do to improve security in our neighborhoods. I will write about vehicle burglaries, home burglaries and drug activity. These are the most common things that occur in my neighborhood.
When starting a neighborhood watch program it is important to have a block captain. This person disseminates the information from the police to the neighborhood. They will need whatever information you can give them to be able to do this.
Vehicle burglaries are quick and hard to find the perpetrator. Since they occur so quickly the car owner has to take more precautions.
What to do?
- Lock doors. I know this sounds obvious, but the majority of burglaries took place when the doors are unlocked. Criminals want an easy score.
- Put anything that looks like it might be of value out of sight. This includes ipods, cd players, phones, any electronic. Do not forget things like make up bags, sunglass cases, small wallet type holders. I know you may think there is nothing of value in there, but you do not want a criminal thinking there is something in there, break your window and you are left to clean up the mess, pay for the window and have to replace your items.
- Do not keep anything in the trunk unless it is ok that it is stolen. Try not to put things of value in the trunk. I know you may have to, but realize there are people that will watch you take your valuables out of your car and put them in the trunk. When you leave they just open the front door pop the trunk and take what you put in there.
Most take place between 6 am and 6 pm. That’s right. During the day. They watch you get in your car, take your kids to school and go to work only to leave your house with no one home for the whole day.
What to do and how to prevent?
- In our city you need a permit to solicit door to door. This was something I did not know. The police officer also said that there were no permits given out in the last 2 years. Great knowledge since we seem to have perpetual solicitors in the summer.
- Someone wandering around the neighborhood with a backpack. Since I live by a high school it is not uncommon to see kids with backpacks. I am supposed to look for “older people” wandering with backpacks. These may include adults that look like they should not be there or kids wandering during odd hours of the day.
- People on yours or others property with odd excuses. Like, I am looking for my dog. In my backyard? I dont think so. People will often wander to the front door just to see if it is unlocked. If so they may try and go inside and have some sort of excuse as to why they did not knock.
- Look for slow moving vehicles. Especially during odd hours of the day.
- Look for vehicles you don’t recognize at other people’s houses. You usually will know what your neighbors are driving.
- Safeguard your exterior. Trim shrubs and trees so they make it unable for someone to access your windows.
- Lock your doors. All of them. All the time. An open door is an invitation for someone to enter anytime they want whether you are home or not.
- Get motion lights. Your neighbors are more likely to look up from what they are doing if a light comes on. So are you.
- Maintain your yard. Mow your lawn before you go on vacation. Bring in your trash cans. Pick up newspapers. These are signs you are not home to an intruder.
- Lock up your tools. An easy quick target for someone.
- Try and keep the neighborhood clean. Just like the broken window theory. Once it looks like no one live there it becomes easier for others to come to the neighborhood and steal.
- Lock and close your garage. An open garage is an open invitation for someone walking by to take something, Anything to get their fix.
- Get a dog. Criminals are less likely to commit a crime at a house with something barking.
- Preparing for a vacation. Tell a neighbor. Close the shades. Shovel the driveway of snow.
- Look for short term traffic. Usually less than 15 minutes.
- At a home. Look for lots of different vehicles during all hours of the day
- The homeowner does not have a job. No job and lots of cars coming and going is a sure sign.
- The same vehicle arrives at the same time every day.
- Sometimes you will see the same car multiple times during the day.
Having a neighborhood watch builds community and keeps you safe. One of the most important things in an emergency is to have good neighbors. Knowing and being aware of your neighbors makes you a good neighbor.
What is your experience with a neighborhood watch?
Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother