We live in a safe, active neighborhood – Read the below to help us keep it that way!
Criminals WANT Easy Targets, Easy Access, Lack of Enforcement, Lack of Concerned Citizens.
Criminals LOVE Messy Neighborhoods because it tells them the neighbors don't talk or care, which gives them easy targets and easy access, as well as signs of no enforcement or concerned citizens. It makes it clear that neighbors aren't talking to neighbors or watching out for each other. It also makes windows and doors easier to access as bushes and trees provide cover for the criminals to hide in while trying to get into a window or door.
Criminals TALK so if the neighborhood becomes know as an easy target then crime will increase and all will be affected.
The Best Things to do to protect your home and car and neighborhood:
– Do Your “Five”: which means get to know your neighbors on either side of you and the 3 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 on vacation. If a neighbor is on vacation offer to park a car in their driveway, turn on lights and check on their house. Talk. For example – Let a trustworthy neighbor know that your kids are home alone until you get home from work OR Let your neighbors know if you are having work done at your home, so if something happens at your house that they don't know of then they can be quick to respond. Let them know that you are there if they should need you.
– Keep Phone Numbers and Emails of Neighbors on hand in times of need.
– LIGHTS – Install motion lights outside on areas of your house that are not well lit at night. Criminals love unlit corners. Make sure you get a neighbor or a timer to turn your lights off and on when you are out of town or get lights with motion sensors. If these have failed you try internet searching for “toggle timer switch” which is screwed right into a switch plate and has a timer.
– Be ready for a crisis. Have a plan.
– Be Responsible – Call 311 or 911 when you see a potential issue or something that just doesn't seem right. Make the call, don't assume someone else will. Make sure you get an incident number in case you need it later. Also let your Block Captain or Milwood Neighborhood Assoc. know of the incident so they can let the neighborhood know or monitor the issue.
– ALWAYS let solicitors know that you are home!! Just call through the door that you are not going to open the door because of “X,Y,Z. Have a nice day.” or if it is dark turn on a porch/outside light. Many criminals work neighborhoods by posing as solicitors first and either case the homes for targeting later or try to break-in as soon as they knock and decide that NO ONE is HOME. Once again the easy target. They most likely will leave looking for an easy target as most are not in the business of being violent but if they break-in and find you the surprise might cause them to react violently. Please also have a phone on hand if you decide to open the door. It is illegal to solicit between the hours of 9pm and 6am. Please for your neighbors' safety do go to the door and check that it is not a person in need. If so call 911 for them immediately and then call a neighbor – maybe even before you open the door depending on your idea of the situation.
– LOCK and EMPTY Your Car at all times! Don't leave ANYTHING visible. It only takes a second to break a car window and it doesn't require much skill or make much noise. So don't leave items in sight to entice criminals to want to break YOUR window. Don't leave GARAGE REMOTES in view.
– If you have children that stay home alone until you get off work: 1. Make sure they know to address solicitors through the door and have a phone on hand 2. Let your neighbors know and let your kids know which neighbors might be home during the day so they can run to in an emergency 3. Leave easy access to “Your Five” Phone List 4. Post fake cameras in clear sight near your front door.
– If you see a stranger in the neighborhood, be friendly & acknowledge them with a nice hello. Interviews with career criminals show that criminals leave a location where they feel they have been acknowledged because they might be identified later.
– Keep your street and home neat and tidy. Trim bushes and trees away from windows and doors so criminals can't hide in them. Pick up trash, handle graffiti, help neighbors who need a hand. Show criminals we care!
– Don't forget many of our cars have a PANIC button on them. This comes in handy when you are not feeling comfortable with a solicitor or situation or to have at your bedside in case of an emergency.
– Learn to use the resources of Code Enforcement to maintain the look and feel of your neighborhood. Criminals will recognize that it is not a good place to operate.
– Do NOT Walk or Jog in the STREET.
Fortifying Your HOME:
– Most of Milwood homes' front doors have builder grade, small screws that make kicking in your door relatively easy for criminals. It is a simple fix to go pay a few dollars at the hardware store to get appropriately long screws (aim for 3-44 inch) to replace that will strengthen the throwplate against door kick-in's. Also wonderful if you can get a larger strike plate that extends 8-10 in.
– Make sure your garage door and door into your garage are fortified with deadbolts and padlocks. When you go on vacation, lock or unplug it your garage door.
– Check that locks on windows work and install better locks if windows can be easily moved off the tracks. Also secure all Sliding Doors with lock or pin /bar/dowel.
– If you get a home or car alarm, make sure it makes noise. You want the criminals to know that it is working so they flee. Also quiz the alarm company on how soon they can have a cop to your door.
– Austin Police Dept. (APD) is happy to come to your home and do a Safety Audit/Security Check on your home and make any suggestions to improve your security. It takes about 45 minutes. If you don't already have a discount on your homeowners insurance from having an alarm – getting this check done might also save you 10-15% on your homeowners insurance. Call your insurance and ask.
– Cameras (fake or working) are also a strong deterrent to criminals, as well as security signs.
– Record serial numbers of electronics and keep an inventory of all valuables including jewelry, china, electronics, etc. The inventory (pictures, written list, etc.) should be kept in a fire-safe box somewhere away from your home. Engrave property that doesn’t have a serial number.
– Hide all valuables in your home or car. Someone should not be able to look into a window and see your valuables when you are not home. Store purses, laptops and cell phones out of sight.
– When out of town cancel all deliveries such as the newspaper, and have a neighbor check for handbills on the door. Arrange to have your lawn cared for if you are going to be away, and let only those who need to know when you are going out of town.
– Don’t hide keys under doormats or flowerpots or in similar places.
Let's all please look out for each other so our neighborhood doesn't become know as an easy target!
Share this page with a neighbor or all your neighbors!
We are always looking for volunteers to act as block captains for their street. If you are interested in being a block captain or want to learn more, please click here. It's easy, painless, and an important part of keeping the neighborhood safe. It's also a great excuse to meet all your neighbors!
Below are some additional great resources to download:
Welcome to the Neighborhood
What YOU can do to help create a safe neighborhood
Neighborhood Safety Tips – ALERT and Do Your Five
Do Your Five Form
Avoid Car Theft
What Is Neighborhood Watch
Resources for Block Captains: (Click here to inquire about becoming a Block Captain)
Block Captain Form for the City of Austin
Welcome to the Neighborhood Watch
Neighborhood Watch Manual 2015
Block Alert Flyer
Auto Break-in Alert Flyer
Watch Party Invite