Tips to Keeping Safe

We have some ways to help prevent you and your neighbors from being a target of crime.  Just because the police may have caught suspects, that doesn’t mean we can put down our guard.  Here are simple steps to preventing and keeping your belongings safe:

Preventing Crime in the Neighborhood:

1. Keeping your eyes and ears open

Always be on the lookout, whether you’re walking the dog or driving through the neighborhood, or going for your afternoon jog.  Make mental notes of cars parked in driveways and on the street.  If you see anything out the ordinary, call 911.  It’s better to be safe, then sorry. If you see someone drive through the neighborhood more than once in short amount of time, and looks out-of-place or on a cell phone, call 911.  Make sure to have enough information about the vehicle, color, type, what the ethnicity of the person driving, etc. to give to the police.

2. Suspicious Individuals

If you see someone you’ve never seen before and is on the phone, looking out-of-place or looking around, call 911. Most likely a burglary is happening and that person is on the lookout.

3. You lucky people who stay-at-home

If you work from home or are a stay-at-home parent, try and get out a couple of times a day, preferably between the hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and be on the lookout. Those times, during the week are the height of when burglaries happen. Protect your house, when your gone with an alarm system, lock all doors and windows, and don’t go out the same time every day.

4. When in Doubt

If you feel at all unsafe, call 911.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

5. An extra 5 minutes to your day

Take a few minutes out of your day and drive the neighborhood, the whole thing, even looking down the alleys for suspicious individuals.

6. Clean your Alleys!

Please clean your alleys!  You, as homeowners, are responsible for your section of alley.  Just because trash has moved to the front, doesn’t mean we can let our alleys go to hell. It’s much easier for a burglar to hide in an overgrown alley.  The police will NOT patrol the alleys when they’re overgrown.


Preventing Burglaries to your Home:

1. New Toys

If you just bought a brand new flat screen TV or a brand new computer, don’t announce it to the world by putting the box on the curb for trash pickup.  That’s an open invitation for burglars.  Keep the box, or keep it until trash day, break the box down and turn it inside out.

2. Alleys & Gates

If you have a gate to the alley, keep it locked at all times.  That is the #1 way burglars get onto your property.

3. Alarm Systems

Get an alarm system, and USE it, always.  Have the system monitored by an alarm company and by the city of Dallas for a mere $50 a year. Make sure your alarm can be heard from outside.  Most alarm companies, only install alarms to go off inside the house, you have to ask for a loud speaker to be placed in an eave of your house to be heard outside.  An alarm doesn’t do any good, if no one on the outside can hear it.

4. Striker Plates

If you have an older house, get Striker plates for your entry doors.  A Striker plate is a metal plate that is installed over your existing door jam, which will prevent any burglar from kicking the door in.  It’s an extra bit of reinforcement.  If you’re a member of the neighborhood association, you will receive 10% off Striker plates at the Lakewood Ace Hardware. Make sure to show your key tag!

5. Dogs

If you have a dog, doesn’t matter small, large, only licks and humps guests, it doesn’t matter, burglars don’t want to hassle with dogs.  If you don’t have a dog, we’re not telling you should run out and get a dog, but make your house look like you have one.  Keep a leash on a hook on the front porch, dog toys out in the yard, water bowls at the front or back doors.

For those of you who do have pets, but take your pets to be boarded when you’re out of town, you may want to think about an easier and less costly option, of dog walkers/pet sitters.  We have John & Sherrie Narusis of who live on Coronado, you’ve probably seen them walking lots of dogs!  They are great!  They will take your dog(s) for 30-minute or more walks, however many times you want them to (generally 2-3 times a day), they’ll sit for sometime in your house with your pets, and they will even close blinds, turn on lights if you ask them to.  It makes it look you’re home, when you’re not.  Each visit is $10 and you’re helping a fellow neighbor business!  You can reach both John and Sherrie at aardvarkps@aol.com.

6. Serial Numbers

If you have any valuables, i.e. computers, TVs, anything with a serial number, make sure to write down all the serial numbers and put them in a safe place.  There was a house on Coronado that was broken into recently that $8K worth of guitars stolen.  He luckily had written down the serial #’s and found all the guitars at local pawn shops.  His house was broken in at 10:15 a.m. and the items were sold to the pawn shops by 10:45 a.m. the same morning. Another valuable tip is to take pictures of all your belongings and write the serial numbers on the back of the pictures.

7. Police Audit

You can contact the police have them come to your house and have them “audit” your house.  They’ll tell you what a burglar is looking for and ways to prevent burglaries.  They’ll also engrave any of your belongings with the serial numbers, directly on the item.

8. Lunch Break

Try and come home during your lunch break at odd times and park in the driveway.  Anyone casing the neighborhood will see that pattern and stay away from your house.  When you leave in the mornings or going back to work after lunch, change something in your house, whether it be leaving a radio on (very loud) or leaving the dog in the backyard, in the house to roam free or even closing the curtains in the morning when you leave for the office and coming home at lunch to open them.  Hide your belongings, don’t leave your computer in plain sight if someone walking by can see it. If burglars can see it, they have more incentive to take it.

9. Timers

Get timers for your lights inside and out, to go off at random times during the day and night. Instead of just doing this when you’re on vacation, do it when you’re in town, at work, or even when you’re at home. Less chance of you forgetting.  Make your house look like it’s well-lived in all the time.  A dark house (with no porch light) is an easy target. A porch light that’s always on, also looks like you’re away.
Also, remember if you’re lights are on timers, not set them to go off at the same time. Nothing says you’re not home, like when your house looks like a Roman Candle in an instant!
For Example:
Living Room
Lamp #1: Set to go off at 6 a.m. – 8 a.m., 11 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Lamp #2: Set to go off at 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Bedroom
Lamp #3: Set to go off at 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Bedroom #2
Lamp #4: Set to go off at 4:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Porch Light:
Get a timer that turns on at sunset and turns off at sunrise

Preventing burglaries and break-ins to your vehicles:

1. Cars parked overnight

Make sure to park your vehicle(s) in the driveway, as close to the house as possible.  You are less likely to be broken into, if someone has to go out of their way to get the vehicle.  Most of the break-ins happen to vehicles parked on the street.

2. Take your belongings

Don’t leave anything in your vehicles, especially in plain sight!  We can’t stress that enough.  Don’t leave brackets on the dash for radar detectors or GPS units.  The burglars will think you’ve hidden the valuables in the car, and will trash your car in trying to find it.  Replacing a shattered window is not cheap, replacing both a window and stolen goods, makes for a very expensive day.

3. Truck tail gates

If you own a truck, be aware, the new theft is tail gates.  Park your truck backwards in the driveway, lock the tailgate and make sure your gate to your alley is locked.  Tail gates can be sold easily at any chop shop for thousands of dollars.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the police or any board member of Lakewood Hills.

And remember, if you don’t call 911 for something suspicious and think someone else will do it, most likely you’re wrong.