Aug 26 2013

Public Safety Committee Discusses Steps to Secure Homes

At its Thursday, August 29, 5:30 p.m. meeting in the Council Chambers, the Public Safety Committee will discuss potential steps Piedmonters can take to make their homes more secure. The following is the draft proposal.

Securing Homes in Piedmont

In response to increases in home burglaries and other crimes, the Piedmont Police Department and the Piedmont Public Safety Committee would like to offer the following steps that residents should consider:

1. Do not hesitate to contact the Police Department when you observe suspicious activity. The Police can be reached by calling 420-3000 or 911 if the matter is urgent.

2. Get to know your neighbors so you can mutually watch out for each other’s homes especially if they see activity at your home while you are away at work or on vacation.

3. Work with your neighbors to help organize Neighborhood Watch meetings where the Police Department can discuss various measures that can be taken and respond to concerns specific to the neighborhood. The Fire Department is also available to provide information on disaster preparedness. Meetings can be arranged by contacting the Police Department Secretary at 420-3020.

4. Make sure that your home is kept locked even during the day. Locks should be in good working order with a preference for dead bolt locks and reinforced latches.

5. Do not leave first level windows open. Ladders which could allow someone to enter upstairs windows should be stored out of sight and preferably in a locked place.

6. Compile an inventory of valuable property such as laptops, televisions, smart phones, jewelry,  credit cards etc.  Store the inventory in a safe location. If possible, also mark the items with your driver’s license number to facilitate their identification by law enforcement. An etching tool is available for loan through the Police Department.

7. Secure expensive jewelry in a safe deposit box, a floor mounted safe, or an unobtrusive place within the home.

8. Trim landscaping to ensure that the exterior of the home, particularly entrances and windows, are visible from the street.

9. Consider the installation of motion activated exterior lighting particularly for front and back entrances and driveways. This provides an element of safety from tripping as well as alerting residents to the presence of unwanted visitors. (Please consider possible lighting impacts on your neighbors.)

10. Consider leaving a radio or television on when not at home.

11. Barking dogs are also a deterrent. An alternative is to purchase an alarm system that simulates the barking of a dog as people approach the house when you are out. Various products can be found by simple internet searches.

12. If you go on vacation, ask your neighbors to watch for newspapers, mail, or package deliveries on your porch. Ensure that recycling containers are taken out on schedule. Ask someone to park in your driveway and use automated timers in the living and bedroom areas to make it appear someone is there. The Police Department will also perform vacation checks on your home if requested.

13. Consider the installation of a home alarm system. These systems can sound at the home or can be monitored by an alarm company for a monthly fee. Most systems provide a warning when a door or window is opened. Others use motion detection or more advanced technologies.

Ask the alarm company for signs which you can place on or near doors and windows so that potential thieves know you have such a system. Ensure that any alarm company you are considering is licensed by the State and ask for references.

14. Consider the installation of a video surveillance system. The scope and complexity of such a system can vary depending on the type chosen, the level of coverage, the availability of electricity, internet connectivity, and other factors. Costs can range from as little as $150 per camera up to several thousand dollars. Recommended coverage would include approaches to the residence, particularly driveways, as well as at least some coverage inside the residence.

As with alarms, a State licensed supplier is recommended as well as references. Residents with such systems are encouraged (but not required) to advise the Police Department as this will help them to more effectively follow up in the event of a crime at or near your home.

While there can be no guarantee that your home will not be victimized, the above measures will make your home less attractive to criminals and are strongly encouraged.


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