Some general security measures that you can put in place are below. However, please call APD to set an appointment for a survey specific to your home. In order to qualify for the insurance discount:
- You must have a solid core door (not hollow) with a dead bolt.
- If you have a sliding glass door, you must have an additional locking device besides the door lock. All windows must have a secondary locking device.
- If you have a security system ALL windows must have a contact to the system. If you are purchasing a system, be sure that windows are included or you will not get the insurance discount. Even if one window is not contacted. This includes all stories (from the ground up).
Other Safety Suggestions
(Securing the interior of your home)
- Even with a cat hole cut in a door, it makes it easier to break door down.
- Many crooks use kids to get in home to unlock doors.
- If you are purchasing an alarm system, get an audible alarm! Otherwise, you may be confronted by a crook when you get home. You want your neighbors to hear it as well. Get an audible alarm and get the LOUDEST!!
- An alarm permit from APD is required and important so that APD has list of phone numbers in case the alarm system needs to be turned off when you are away. Also, after 5 false alarms in a year, they will know who has bad alarms in the neighborhood.
- You will get a citation if you do not have a permit.
- You will be fined, by APD, after so many false alarms per year. Alarm companies know this and should tell you when you are purchasing their system.
- Someone asked if the battery operated motion detectors are good? Officer Cooper said that a crook can reach in and grab it. He also said that if it's considered an alarm you may need a permit. Danny said that it worked for him.
- Check your sliding glass doors. Most in this neighborhood are on backwards. Intruders can just lift them out and enter your home. You have to have them pulled out and installed correctly.
- Some of them, you can drill a hole through and put a pin in it. However, Mary and Kelly said that their dog can rattle the pin out.
- Put a padlock through the bar on your garage door. Crooks buy garage door openers and drive down street. There are only a few codes. Sometimes even Southwest air flying over will open it.
- When out of town don't call to stop newspaper delivery. You don't know who you just let know that the house will be empty. They may rob your house. Have a trusted neighbor pickup your papers when you're away. Also, if you see neighbors' papers or flyers gathering, please pick them up.
- Use automatic lights switchers.
- Most perpetrators that come in your house are not out to hurt you. If they were, they would catch you on the street.
- Alarms are not priority 1; they are priority 4 right now, due to the extreme amount of false alarms.
- If you see your neighbors alarm has been set off and perpetrators are present, call 911.
- Some alarm systems include a "panic button". These are #1 priority with APD because it means that you are in danger. Another #1 priority is if you have an alarm system where you punch in a specific code that tells APD it is a hostage situation.
- Don't test your system to see if APD will show up. Call APD and tell them you are doing a test.
- Stick with a reputable company.
- Most are monitored out of state. It is better if they do their monitoring in state. There are local security companies.
- In the State of Texas, at night, you can protect your property as you see fit. However, during they day the law isn't the same.
- Keep in mind that if you use a gun it might hit someone not intended for. (Passer by's, etc.)
- If you purchase an alarm system, be sure that you know how to use it!! Be sure that all windows and doors are contacted.
- Tom got an estimate for a security system for his home for $1,200 to set up. However, it still didn't pass the Police Department security requirements.
- If several neighbors are interested in purchasing a system, you can approach a security company and ask for a discount for several people signing at once.
- Sometimes an insurance company will pay for neighborhood watch signs.
- Please call Officer Dale Cooper to do an insurance survey whether you are getting a security system or not. You can at least get the 10% off of your insurance and make sure your home is as safe as can be.
- When it comes to alarm systems, get something that you can live with that is not too complicated but effective.
- Your bushes should be no taller than three (3) feet tall so that a crook cannot hide in them and jump out at you.
- You should have motion sensors on lights outside so you know if someone is in the area. They should be placed over the garage, in the yard and over the door for when you come home.
- Officer Cooper said that the cheapest security you will ever have is light. Crooks are deterred by light. There aren't many night time burglars, but they are the dangerous ones because they know that people are more likely to be home.
- Keep your doors locked when you are home as well.
- If you have a gun and someone follows you by law it's legal to shoot.
- If someone comes in the front you get out back. Get out! DO NOT try to fight an intruder!
- If you see someone suspicious walking near your home, don't pull in your drive, go around the block or call APD. Better to be safe than sorry!
- If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.
- A neighbor asked if a privacy fence or chain linked fence is safer. APD prefers chain linked because it is more visible. If you have a privacy fence, keep the 2x4's on inside so it is more difficult for intruders to climb.
- Officer Cooper said that APD hasn't seen a lot of sheds getting broken into. However, you should padlock it if you do have one.
- GET LIGHTS!! Very important. They are the cheapest and a very efficient security measure. There should also be lights on all corners of your home as well as one above the garage and one shining on the front porch. The light above front door should be motion censored. Ground lights are another way so heighten security on the exterior of your home. They don't put out much light but put out some. Note that if your lights are always on, you may not notice if someone is there. With motion sensors, they are triggered on and you can immediately tell if someone is there. Sensors can be tuned up and down. Go do reputable hardware store (Home Depot, etc) they are typically well informed and can advise. Maybe someone in the neighborhood who is handy can install.
Auto and Garage Theft
- The #1 crime is auto theft. Don't leave things in your car ESPECIALLY your garage door opener. The best thing to do is clean out your garage and park your car in it.
- Don't leave 50 cents or even an empty bag. Do not give anyone a reason to think that there is something valuable in your car.
- Don't leave your garage open even if you are in the back yard. They can steal quickly, very quickly. Aline lost a full tool kit and didn't even know it for a while.
- Don't put boxes from new expensive equipment out front. Crooks drive around to look at what empty boxes are there. Cut them up and put them in a trash bag.
Shopping Crimes (including holiday tips)
- Don't leave Christmas tree in front with gifts showing. They may have kids.
- Don't go shopping at night. Go during the day and in pairs or large groups.
- Park in well lit parking lots if you do go at night.
- Have a security guard go with you to your car. Most stores have one to do that.
- Have your keys in hand before leaving the store. So you do not have to put down your packages to get your keys.
- Put ALL packages in your trunk. Do not let them show in your back seat.
- Have your keys out, if you have automatic locks, wait until you get close to your car before unlocking it.
- If you have an automatic ignition, wait until you are very close to your car before starting it.
- Don't start your car in your garage.
- A neighbor suggested that handicap license plates may be a lure. A crook may be looking for vulnerable people. A removable sticker would be best.
- If you are traveling away from home, unplug garage door opener and put a bar through it.
- Have your purse not look like a "purse".
- Put it in the trunk BEFORE you get to your destination.
- If you live alone, get a big Beware of Dog sign weather you have a dog or not. Also, get dog bowls and put them inside and out.
- Buy large boots from good will put one pair near your back door and one near your front and rotate them.
- Make it look like you have a big dog and/or large man living with you.
- Ptarmigan has the most crime. There was an intruder when a 12 yr old boy was home. Boy ran out the back door when he realized someone was breaking in. The child gave great description and did great job. Officer Cooper said that at the time of the meeting, burglaries on Ptarmigan have slowed or stopped.
- Call 311 for non emergencies that already happened and nobody is in danger.
- Call 911 if someone is in danger or something is currently happening.