Thursday, July 3, 2014

Staying Safe in the Community

Warmer weather tends to lead to more crime.. it is important to keep certain home safety tips in mind.

**Excerpts from Durham Police Department Neighborhood Safety Meetings**

1) If you feel a suspicious activity is worth posting on [the Parkwood] google group, then please call 911. Criminals will test your responses to their actions, and if no police come out, they know that you won't do anything to protect yourself and your property.

2) If someone knocks on your door. ALWAYS answer the door. You do not have to physically open the door to answer it. If you are home alone and feeling intimidated, you can call out another individual's name--e.g., "Hey, John, there's someone at the door!" Never let people believe that your house is unoccupied when it is not.

3) Always ask for IDs from solicitors. Additionally, homeowners can put up “No Solicitation” signs on their own property and can call the police if someone refuses to leave.

4) Get to know the individuals who patrol your community. Safety meetings with the Durham Police Department and the “Common Grounds” group are great places to meet your patrolling officers.

5) Keep an eye out for "house tags". Strange spray paint or chalk markings on your property might be indicative of a future attempt to break in a house which appears unoccupied or inadequately secured. ANY SORT of strange tags should be handled by immediately calling the police (911).

6) Carefully manage your own property/valuables. A purse on a car seat or a car with the keys in it can be an obvious invitation to criminals.

7) Canvas your own house. Take the time to walk around your property and think like a burglar. Can you break into your own house? A break-in typically happens in 2 seconds.

8) If you suspect that your house has been broken into do not enter the house. Go to a safe place
(neighbor's house, etc.) and call the police. Entering the house could put you into danger.

9) If you are going on vacation, you may request a "directed patrol" from the police by calling the
substation.

10) Keep potential burglars guessing with safety measures. An impressive barking dog speaker with a motion detector which works through walls can be purchased for ~$79. A security bar can be
purchased for ~$20 at Lowe's. These bars have one end under the doorknob and one end on the floor to make breaking down a door a lengthy and difficult process. Have blinds on your windows--don't let people see what you own! If money is an issue, the dollar store even has alarms that will make loud warning sounds if someone opens the door.

11) It is extremely important to engrave your property with something to identify it (the police strongly suggest using your driver's license number). Put this engraving somewhere the burglars won't look, otherwise they might tamper with it.

12) Write down the serial numbers of your valuables and send the list to yourself in an email so that you can always access it.

While this is a lengthy list to remember, the most important step is easy to recall:
If you feel a suspicious activity is worth posting on [the parkwood] google group, then please call 911!

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