Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crime and Security

The CCPCA Board maintains liaison with the Alexandria Police Department (APD). Sargent Jeff Stovall, who is new to this liaison job, will attend our Board meetings. In the past the liaison officer has provided reports of crime inside of the defined borders of the Clover and College Park subdivisions. I recommend that those who want to keep informed of crimes look beyond the borders of our subdivisions. Your tweens will ask to go to the 7/11 and your teens will go to Starbucks, the Hoffman Center or Old Town. A good way to keep informed is to sign up on www.crimereports.com. You can enter your address and define a radius, like one mile, from your home. You will be sent email reports of crime in your defined area of interest and when you click on the web site, you will see a graphic presentation of reported crimes for the City area. When you view the graphic presentation of crimes for the City, you will see how our neighborhood is much safer than other parts of the City. You should not depend on this web site being perfectly accurate and specific incidents may not be clearly explained.

When considering the crimes that we primarily suffer within the neighborhood, mostly thefts from vehicles and a few burglaries, these are both crimes of opportunity and planned crimes. Thefts of opportunity result from leaving your car unlocked or an unsecured bike on your lawn. Please realize that the bad guys are not dumb. In fact, some criminals are actually brilliant. It’s just that they focus all of their thinking energy on how to get something (your valuables) for nothing. We frequently put out information to encourage you to lock your cars and remove items of value out of view. As we approach the holiday travel season, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your home security. In addition to having excellent physical security in the form of dead bolt locks, you need to make plans to have your home look occupied even if you’re out of town. Timers are essential. They are much better than leaving a few lights on 24 hours/day. Have a neighbor pick up packages and papers. Park your cars just like you do when you’re home. If you park your cars on the street, but then back your cars, into the driveway to keep them safe while you’re gone, you are giving a clear signal that you’re out of town. The bad guys are driving or walking around well before the holidays to get an eye on what is normal. When they spot an unoccupied house, they might have a week to figure out how to break into the back of your home. Taking the appropriate precautions is how you reduce the chance that you’ll be a victim of a planned burglary.