Often, we leave it up for authorities or our own private security to deter crime away from our neighborhoods. We can’t disagree that as civilians we should have that trust, and confidence that our authorities are looking out for us. Yet, it would be ignorant to think that they can see and get to every crime activity under the sun. They are people. And they have many other areas, and properties to get to. No area nor town or city are immune to crime. It happens everywhere. But what can make a difference in your neighborhood is you, us, the people living there. When civilians and authorities work together to deter and prevent crime, we see a neighborhood change for the better. We show others that we care, by being intentional in the little things. When we take care of the little things, the bigger things take care of themselves. What does that look like practically? Here are a few things we can do that can deter crime and can help our private and police officers.
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.
According to a crime report from the Dallas Public Safety website for 2020, showed that motor related theft was the highest type of robbery in the state of Texas. At 153,369 offenses reported with purse – snatching related offenses being the lowest. This is an easy one. But it is one we often forget to do. Leaving things in your car is an invitation to getting your car broken into. The less valuables you and your neighbor keep, the less opportunities you give to criminal activity.
But it Is not enough to just look out after your own car. The way crime prevention works, is you and your neighbor look out after each other. The same way a private officer is looking after your property. He watches his surroundings for anything out of the normal, from doors to belongings being left out in the open. He makes sure to report it.
For those who live in a multi-family property, you and your neighbor share the parking lot or garage. As you are walking out of your car, keep an eye out. If you see the car next you with a laptop or money out in the open, anything you perceive as valuable, let the security officer know unless you know your neighbor’s car, let them know. It takes no more than a phone call to report it, and it can make a difference in someone’s day.
Lock, take, hide. It may sound simple but lock your doors, take your stuff, hide what you can’t take. This includes GPS units.
Be aware of your surroundings.
When we are going out and about in the city, we naturally are more aware of what is going on around us, but once we get home, we walk into our homes on auto – pilot mode. We already briefly covered what I’m about to say, but we will mention it again. The best way to deter crime is by being aware, and report anything suspicious or out of the ordinary. The second highest reported offense in the state of Texas is car parts theft. According to the 2020 Texas Crime Report, 82,695 car parts theft offenses were reported. Getting to know your area, your neighbors, will help you know when someone unfamiliar and suspicious is inside your community. An off-duty police officer or private security won’t be able to be there every-time something happens. But you and your neighbor are there! Working along side your officer by reporting any activity, watching out for your neighbors can not only help deter crime, but increase your quality of life.
Don’t be afraid to report what you observe:
We all have felt that inner conflict in deciding whether or not it is worth reporting the disturbance you are encountering. A good rule of thumb is if you must question whether or not you should call, you should call. This is why we have private security companies like Heartland, they come to deal with all non-emergency situations. You are actually helping them narrow down the areas around your neighborhood that need to be patrolled and watched more, which helps deter crime. What should you report? Domestic violence disturbances, loud noises, garages left open, bikes unattended, car valuables left out in the open, anything that can open the door to crime, you should call.
Getting to know your officer and increasing awareness
If you live in an area where you have private security patrolling your property, being intentional to getting to know your officer, will help create good communication between you and the officer or officers. Something we offer in Heartland for our residential properties we serves are crime watch meetings. These meetings have two goals, give crime deterring tools that residents can use like the ones mentioned, and create a good relationship with our officers. It is a perfect time to ask questions, gain knowledge, and get familiar with those who patrol their property.
If you are not in an area of residence that private security or off duty officer are available, we encourage you to follow what we’ve shared in this blog and encourage your neighbors as you lead the way. Where we see a lack of something or a problem, we can take initiative by leading the way.