As Spring approaches and people start using their yard tools again they become more accessible and attractive to thieves. Garden sheds, outbuildings and garages are a popular target as they are likely to contain expensive items such as lawn mowers, hedge cutters, bikes and power tools.
As the weather starts to become warmer, people can become more complacent and it is important to stay on top of your home and outbuilding security, to help prevent you from being a victim of burglary. As I’ve said before, “Society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it!”
My department has partnered with a private online network called Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a FREE private social networking website for your neighborhood. Nextdoor makes it easy to connect with your neighbors and build stronger, safer, happier places to call home. Below is an invite to Nextdoor! We invite you to become part of a movement to take our neighborhoods and communities back!
Below are suggestions from Lt. Dana Elliott with our Community Policing Unit to help you stay safe this Spring!
While working in the yard and spring-cleaning, residents are reminded to ensure their doors are locked. In fact, even when you are in your residence, it is a good idea to lock your doors behind you. Too many of us leave valuables like purses, wallets and car keys within easy reach just inside the front door. Locking your doors prevents a thief from stepping inside long enough to grab your purse and disappear.
Another common scenario is one where a suspect will distract a homeowner with a false report of a suspicious person or damage in the back yard. When the homeowner goes to the back of the property, a second suspect enters the house to steal keys, wallets or other belongings. In this situation, remember to lock your front door or have another household member remain at the front door.
When warmer weather arrives, some residents may leave windows or doors open in order to cool the house. Recognize that these may be common points of entry for would-be thieves. Don’t leave your house open while you are away and take steps to minimize your vulnerability while you are at home. Always store bicycles, sports equipment and tools behind locked doors at the end of day. Try to view your own house and property the way a thief might see it; identify vulnerabilities and take steps to make things more secure. This could include some motion lights, low shrubbery, etc.
Remember that various Social Media, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are a great way to stay in touch with friends and share ideas with a large community of people, but think twice about how you report your status. Telling the whole Social Media community that you are away on vacation may not be a good idea. Messages can be forwarded and shared with people you don’t know. To someone who is looking for an opportunity to commit a crime, you have just extended an invitation that says your house and property are unguarded. Remember to step back once in awhile and view your house, property and Facebook status the way a criminal might view it.
Even though an online service makes things easier than keeping an inventory on paper, it can still be frustrating to have to photograph all of your possessions and attach those photos one by one to your inventory. To simplify things, Know Your Stuff also has a free app for iPhone and Android phones. Using the app, you can modify or add to your online inventory—and easily add photos directly from your phone.
Every one of us has a role to play in neighborhood and community safety. Take crime prevention seriously by safeguarding your property and employing good personal safety strategies. Always report any activity that seems suspicious. Anyone who sees a crime in progress should call 9-1-1.