Dallas Police Department Tips

The crime reports for Bryan Place consistently indicate that the two primary crimes in our area include theft of personal items taken from parked vehicles (burglary motor vehicle – BMV) and open garage doors. The following are recent posts from NPO Dang Le of the DPD to help prevent these common crimes.

Burglary Motor Vehicle (BMV)

Thescrimes represent about half of all crime reported in the City of Dallas and Bryan Place. The National Crime Prevention Council and the Dallas Police Department recommend the following tips:

  • Never leave your vehicle unattended with keys in the ignition.
  • Loc your doors and keep the windows closed, even when parked in front of your home.
  • Park in busy and well‐lit areas.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain view.
  • Never leave your vehicle registration or other personal documents in your parked vehicle.
  • Equip your vehicle with an alarm system or other anti‐theft device.

Garage Doors

A very common access point for home burglaries is an open garage door (including garage doors that are accessed using a stolen garage door opener). Thieves drive around looking for open garage doors from which y can help themselves to the contents. Always keep your garage door closed, even if you are only away from the garage for a few minutes. The following are a few of the measures that can be taken to protect your garage and backyard shed:

  • Mark all property, including lawnmowers, generators, bikes, saws, leaf blowers, etc. with your driver’s license number and state abbreviation (for more information on DPD Operation ID see the Resource Package from the Dallas Crime Watch.
  • Do not leave the garage remote attached to the visor in your vehicle. Either lock the remote in a secure place or invest in a remote you can attach to your key ring.
  • Homeowners who often forget to shut their garage door should consider purchasing an “open garage door indicator” that alerts them when the garage door is open.
  • Lock garage windows and use blinds to conceal items inside.
  • Secure items such as lawnmowers, generators and bicycles to fixed objects using a good chain/cable and pad lock.
  • Install motion sensor lights on sheds and garages.
  • Keep bushes/trees around garage and sheds pruned to prevent easy hiding places.

As always, please call 911 with any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. You do not have to give out your personal information or visit with a police officer in person. These thieves are looking for the easiest opportunities available – let’s make it as difficult as possible on the bad guys and send a message that Bryan Place is not an easy target

Danny Oberst

Published on May 1, 2015

Tips to Improve Your Home’s Security

Home burglaries, even if you are not there, can have a major impact on you and your family’s sense of safety and well‐being. There is nothing more personal than having one’s home and privacy invaded by an unwelcome intruder. While it is difficult to protect your home from professional thieves, most home burglaries are done by amateurs. These thieves are more easily thwarted if you employ some of these simple security precautions.

Home Security Systems

As homeowners, we all have to make a decision on whether or not to purchase a home security system. Does the peace‐of‐mind and added safety offset the cost and inconvenience of installing a home security system and if so, what should be included in that system?

My wife and I recently moved to the Bryan Place community and determining the appropriate home security system was one of many important decisions we had to make. Hopefully, what we learned in this process will help other Bryan Place homeowners get a head start in evaluating the many options available in the marketplace.

There are over 100 home alarm providers on Angie’s List for the DFW area. They range from the small local shop to the large publicly traded company. My informal walking survey showed the following most prevalent systems in our neighborhood: ADT, Itec, Smith Thomps, AT&T and Hawk Security Services. It is a good idea to check the rating of any company you are considering on Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau to help limit your search before making that first call with a salesman.

Typical System Features

Basic

  • Outside sign and window stickers
  • Door and window contact monitors
  • Glass‐breakage monitors
  • Motion detectors
  • Smart phone monitoring of system with email notifications

Advanced

  • Heat/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
  • Video cameras
  • Remote lock/lighting/thermostat control and monitoring

Every provider will have different product packages and pricing but most have basic systems that will include contact monitors for doors/windows, motion detectors and glass breakage monitors for a fairly reasonable price. You may also consider more advanced features such as video cameras and other high‐tech options such as locking/unlocking your home, adjusting your home thermostat or home lights from your smart phone.

These high‐tech features are not cheap and can substantially increase your installation cost and monthly bill.

You can expect a basic system to range from $200 ‐ $800 for equipment installation and monthly fees of $18 ‐ $50 depending on the size of your home and desired level of protection. We found these fees to be surprisingly different from company to company and many offer limited promotions, so shop around.

When an alarm is triggered, the security company will try to contact the homeowner via phone and email before calling the police to investigate. All homes with an alarm system require a permit from the police at a cost of $50 per year. As you can imagine, the police are very sensitive about excessive false alarms and they allow three free false alarms per twelve month period. Subsequent false alarms are charged $50 per occurrence for the next three false alarms with the fees escalating very quickly from there if false alarms continue.

Click here to read more about home safety.

Published on January 22, 2015

Safe Holiday Tips

Remember to be especially vigilant during this holiday season. Here are some things to be aware of in the coming weeks:

  • Cut up those big TV and computer boxes so as not to alert thieves that you have great new “stuff.”
  • If you are not going to be at home, ask a neighbor to watch for package deliveries so they don’t remain unattended too long on the stoop.
  • When shopping, lock you packages in the trunk if possible so they are not visible from outside the car.
  • If you are carrying a lot of packages, ask the mall security guard to walk you to the car.
  • Don’t post your travel plans on social media. That’s an invitation for a break‐in.

Published on December 6, 2014

Pause (Paws!) to Keep Pets Safe

Every year thousands of pets around the country are given as gifts during the holiday season. If you are thinking about joining the tradition, please “paws” to prepare your home before bringing a furry friend home for the holidays.

Puppies and kittens are naturally curious and can turn unexpected household items – not to mention shiny, dangling ornaments – into toys. To keep your new pet and your family safe, follow this safety check list:

  • Keep electrified cords away from puppies and kittens so they don’t chew on them. Cover the cord with a heavy plastic sleeve, or ask your pet store for a bitter‐tasting product to put on the cord.
  • Halogen lamps should never be used in play areas. Halogen bulbs reach very high temperatures and, if knocked over during play, could easily start a fire.
  • Playful pets can knock radios, curling irons and other items into the water. All appliances near sinks or bathtubs  should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground‐fault circuit interrupters.
  • Do not allow pets to curl up for a nap behind a decorated tree or warm computer equipment. They need to learn to stay away from all electrical connections.
  • Avoid tinsel on your tree, which is toxic.
  • Ribbons can cause choking, particularly the thin, curling ribbon types.  Don’t put ribbons around your pet’s neck, since the ribbon can catch on objects and result in hanging.
  • A bowl of lemon peels at the base of the tree can dissuade cats or kittens from climbing and tipping over Christmas trees.  Anchoring the tree to a small hook in the ceiling can also help.
  • Some holiday plants are also toxic including holly, which can be fatal.  Mistletoe can cause heart problems and sap from poinsettias can blister your pet’s mouth. Artificial options or other non-toxic plants are safer choices.

Published on December 6, 2014

Safety in the Home – Space Heater Use

As Temperatures drop this winter, many will look to supplemental heating sources for their homes. Space heaters are a good option for those wanting to warm a small area. However, space heaters are responsible for 32 percent of house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. If you are planning to use a space heater in your home this winter, use these tips to keep you, your family and your property safe.

  • Materials – Make sure you purchase a heater that is cool to the touch and has guards over the coils just in case little ?ingers get too close.
  • Placement – While it can be tempting to place a small heater on a shelf so it is not in the way of pets and children, the safest place for a heater is on a level nonflammable floor. Also, remember that space heaters and bathrooms are not a good combination, unless the heater is designed for bathroom use. Moisture can damage the heater.The most important rule about space heater placement is the three‐foot rule. Whether you are using the heater in the bedroom, living room or kitchen, space heaters should always be kept three feet away from ?lammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.
  • Cords – You should never use an extension cord when plugging in a space heater as it can cause overheating. Also, make sure the cords aren’t in a high traffic area so they don’t become a tripping hazard.
  • Use – Never leave a heater unattended while in use. If you are leaving your home or going to bed, make sure to unplug the heater.

Published on December 6, 2014

New Crime Information from Dallas Police Department

If you are accustomed to scanning the Dallas crime statistics for neighborhood information, you have noticed that for the last couple of months no information was available. That is because the Dallas Police Department
was updating its crime records and database and was updating its software.

The site is now up and running and offers information through a number of analyses and reports, including the City Council’s Weekly Crime Briefing and an interactive crime map. The Weekly Crime Briefing is city‐wide.

The interactive map, however, allows you to filter the information by date and the Bryan Place Neighborhood Association location specifically. Individual crime reports can be located at this site as well. This information  can be found here.

Bryan Place continues to be a pretty safe place to live. Continue to look out for each other. Unfortunately all petty crime cannot be eliminated entirely. So remember to keep your garage door down and locked and don’t
leave any items visible through your car windows. Open garages and valuables in your car offer temptations too attractive for criminals to pass up.

Be alert and be safe!

Published on November 10, 2014

Travel Safety Tips

From the National Crime Prevention Council & McGruff the Crime Dog

Many of you are familiar with the image of McGruff the Crime Dog. This month’s crime prevention tips come to you from the National Crime Prevention Council, the home of McGruff.

For a safe and happy trip, observe the following travel tips:

  • Pack the least possible amount, and be sure your luggage stays under your control (or that of authorized personnel) at all times.
  • Carry only the credit cards and ATM cards you absolutely need. Do not carry large amounts of money.
  • Make sure your home is secure – all deadbolts locked, lights left on timers, and deliveries cancelled or being collected by a trusted neighbor who has your travel schedule.
  • Make sure everyone in your party, adults, teens and children, has the name, address, and phone number of the place you are staying and carries that information at all times.
  • Never leave your room key out somewhere where it could be picked up by a stranger, such as at restaurant or pool.
  • Don’t leave rooms unlocked in your lodgings. Insist that everyone carry his or her keys when outside the room.
  • When traveling, lock your vehicle at all times, especially at gas stations, rest areas, or other public facilities.

Published on September 8, 2014

McGuff Mobile alerts you to crimes in the Neighborhood

McGuff has gone mobile! Have there been burglaries near your home? Do you know if there are any sex offenders on your street? Now there’s an app for that! Download the McGuff Mobile smartphone app and enroll for free membership.

Once enrolled, you’ll be able to view an interactive map displaying crimes and sex offenders in your neighborhood. You will be able to receive alerts and information via email or mobile device for as many addresses as you like, and you can even get information where you are standing – even as you are reading this.

After signing up, you can receive law enforcement emergency alerts, crime alerts, crime prevention tips, severe weather alerts, hazardous material alerts, and much more from trusted sources. The app also includes a virtual neighborhood watch where you can share photos and information about suspicious activity with neighbors, police, and even Homeland Security.

The McGuff Mobile app is available for iPhone and Android for free on the iTunes App Store or Android Market.

I was fearful of walking around my campus at night. After downloading the McGruff Mobile app, I feel more aware in my surroundings.
~ Max, a fulltime college student

Published on September 8, 2014

West Nile Virus – What You Need to Know

What are the symptoms?

Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any signs of illness. Twenty percent of people who become infected will have mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.

The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile neuroinvasive disease) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors,
convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Only about one out of 150 (0.6%) people infected with West Nile virus will develop this more severe form of the disease.

The incubation period of West Nile virus in humans is three to 14 days. Symptoms of mild disease may last a few days. Symptoms of severe disease may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent. Rarely, death can occur.

How can I reduce my risk of getting West Nile virus?

Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid becoming infected with the West Nile virus. Protect yourself from the West Nile virus with these four tips:

  1. Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow the instructions on the label.
  2. Regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
  3. Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  4. Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.

Abstracted from CDC Bulletin

No reported cases in our neighborhood to date. Whew!!!!!!

Published on August 4, 2014