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Police Department Provides Important Safety Information for the Holidays

Dec 17, 2015 02:54PM ● Published by Kevin

The Southlake Police Department wants to help residents make it harder for burglars to commit home break-ins and to remind residents to use caution when having packages delivered to their doorstep especially during the holiday season.

"We urge residents to take some proactive steps to ensure that they are not a victim of package or mail theft during the holiday season," said police chief James Brandon. "Some steps residents can take include having packages delivered to work, having a neighbor receive the packages, or requiring a signature upon delivery."

Police are currently working a case of mail theft in Southlake, according to a report put out on 
MySouthlakeNews. The theft occurred on Nov. 14 in the 2100 block of Cheyenne Park Lane.

The homeowner stated that several packages were taken from his front porch. Southlake Police are releasing three images taken from the resident’s home video surveillance system in the hopes that anyone who recognizes this individual will contact police (click here to view them).

Preventing Mail Theft

Packages that are left unattended make for easy targets for criminals. Package thefts commonly occur during normal working hours (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.) when many people are not home. To avoid being a victim, here are some tips to prevent packages from being stolen from your front porch, according to the story on MySouthlakeNews:

  • If possible, and allowed by your employer, have packages delivered to your workplace.
  • If having packages delivered to work is not an option, have packages delivered to a place where they can be received in person, such as a trusted neighbor who stays at home during the day or perhaps a retired relative.
  • Request that the shipper require a signature confirmation or hold your package at their pick up facility until you are available to pick it up in person.
  • If purchasing from a large retail store, request that the package be shipped to there nearest store for pick up at your earliest convenience.
  • Provide delivery instructions to the shipper so that packages can be left in a safe location, such as behind your gate, side of the garage, etc. The goal is to have the package out of sight from the street and sidewalk.
  • It is always a good idea to sign up for delivery alerts from the shipper (i.e. email confirmations, etc.). That way you know when your package has been delivered.
    If you see any suspicious behavior please call the police non-emergency number at (817) 743-4522.
In addition, most burglaries occur during the day when you may be at work. Be sure to always lock your home up tight.

Last year, MySouthlakeNews released an advisory with tips from the police department on preventing home burglaries.

Home Safety Tips

  • Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
  • Push button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt lock on all your outside doors.
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
  • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.

Don’t Tempt a Thief

  • Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight
  • Always lock your garden sheds and garages.
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”

Locks — Get the Best Available

  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation.
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.

Targeting the Outside

  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.

Windows

  • Most windows can be pinned for security.
  • Drill a 3/16″ hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame – place a nail in the hole to secure the window.

Alarms

  • 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.
  • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you.
  • 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 sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.

What to Do If Your Home Is Broken Into

If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:

  • Do not enter – the perpetrator may still be inside.
  • Leave the residence and use your cell phone to call the police.
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.

Other precautions you should take

  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
  • Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.
  • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Mark your valuables with your driver’s license number with an engraver you can borrow from your precinct. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
  • Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.
  • Consider installing a burglar alarm system.

And last but not least, you can contact the Southlake Police Department to request a “House Watch” for your home while you’re on vacation. You may request that an officer from the Southlake Police Department come to your house to do a “Home Security” check.  

Contact the department's community initiatives coordinator Valerie Snyder at 817-748-8173. If you have further questions about home safety simply contact your designated district sergeant for your area. The house watch form and information about the District Sergeants program can be found on the website at cityofsouthlake.com, click on “Our Government,” then click on the Police Department link.

"As always, if you see anyone suspicious in your neighborhood, please call the police department at 817-743-4522, or 911 in an emergency," Brandon said.

Information provided by MySouthlakeNews.com and the City of Southlake's Police Department.

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