This bulletin was put out recently by the Dallas Police Department. There are some good neighbor safety tips here:
Some neighborhoods experience less crime than others, but no neighborhood is crime free. Even quiet, historically safe communities are apt to face a crime threat at some point. Criminals WANT easy targets. Here are five simple tips to reduce or prevent crime in your neighborhood.
1. Get to know your neighbors.
First things first, you need to meet your neighbors. Do Your “Five,” which means get to know your neighbors on either side of you and the three across the street at the very least. Get their contact info and work together to help each other keep garage doors closed, flyers off of doors or newspapers, lawns neat and tidy, cars locked, lights working, and help each watch while neighbors are on vacation. For an extrovert, walking over to a neighbor’s home to say hello may feel like a no-brainer. For more reserved personalities, this tried-and-true method usually isn’t comfortable. That’s ok. Do whatever works for you, but please find a way to connect with those around you. Start paying attention to who lives where and what cars are common to the neighborhood. Recommend NextDoor.com to your new neighbors. As many of you obviously know, Nextdoor has a strict address verification process so you can be sure your neighbors are legitimately your neighbors. It might seem silly, but if you haven’t met your neighbors, today is the day!
2. Invite law enforcement into your community.
After you get to know your neighbors, it’s time to get plugged in. Arrange a neighborhood meeting and talk about concerns and issues. If you reside within the city limits of Dallas, your neighborhood has a Neighborhood Police Officer (N.P.O.) assigned to it. Your N.P.O. will be more than happy to meet with the group, offer crime prevention tips and tell you what crimes have been occurring in the area. They can also suggest ways for residents in your neighborhood to work together to protect one another. Your neighborhood or apartment community may have a consistent crime watch meeting already taking place. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to fighting crime
3. Be aware of your surroundings.
Anything that seems even slightly “out of place” or is occurring at an unusual time of day or night could be criminal activity. The following are some obvious things to watch for: a stranger entering your neighbor’s house when it is unoccupied, a scream heard anywhere might mean robbery or assault, offers of merchandise at ridiculously low prices may mean stolen property, anyone peering into parked vehicles may be looking for a vehicle to steal or for valuables left in the vehicle, etc. While these things are common, there are some not so common things that you should be aware of such as someone carrying unboxed and unwrapped property at an unusual hour or in an unusual way, someone going door-to-door in your neighborhood. Watch for a while. If after a few houses are visited, one or more persons tries a door to see if it is locked, looks into windows, or goes into a back or side yard, it could be a burglar. Dial 911 immediately; don’t wait for the person to leave.
4. Invest in a home alarm system.
An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There are a wide variety of alarm systems on the market. If you have a home alarm system, use it! Activate your alarm system – Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them. Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or lawn sign indicating that the home has an alarm system. Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
5. Keep your neighborhood clean.
In addition to being an eyesore, litter can be harmful to children, animals, and the environment. What’s more, research shows a strong link between litter and instances of crime. You can make your neighborhood a cleaner and safer place by organizing a neighborhood cleanup. Publicize the cleanup by distributing flyers to inform everyone about the date, time and other specific information, and have announcements made at local churches, organizations, youth groups and club meetings to recruit volunteers. Send out a press release to local media outlets to gain additional exposure. To make the most of the cleanup, divide your neighborhood into sections, determine the size of volunteer crews for each area and assign a captain for each crew. Make sure you have the proper cleanup equipment, such as rakes, shovels, and heavy gloves.