West Creek Estates
Plano, Texas 75025
West Creek Estates Crime Watch Meeting
May 31, 2009
Presiding: Roxanne & Russell Fuentes, Area coordinators
Minutes taken by: Roxanne Fuentes & Kanna Madero
In attendance: Roxanne & Russell Fuentes, Kanna Madero, CC, David Iwanski, Cathy Blanton (via speaker phone), Chris Kelly
Objective: Hold quarterly Crime Watch meetings.
Overview of meeting: discuss updates from area coordinator meeting, plan patrols and neighborhood events
Patrols: Cathy Blanton & David Iwanski suggested the block captains and residents walk the neighborhood several nights a week to create a presence and increase resident visibility. The walks would be a great reminder to the neighbors to get to know and to keep an eye out. Roxanne & Russell Fuentes mentioned the CAPPS program through the Plano Police Department as one source to help patrol the streets. It was agreed that the block captains would patrol between 7:00pm and 9:00pm depending on their schedule. This ongoing activity will be mentioned in the next email to our residents.
Items from the area coordinators meeting: Due to budget cuts, the Plano Police Department will shift their school liaison officers to street patrols. Other officers from special projects will also be moving to patrols and no officers will be terminated. An email warning the residents of a possible increase in petty crimes as schools let out will also be sent.
CW Neighborhood Events:
a. Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
b. Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
c. Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
d. Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
(NNO info. Taken from NNO website)
Roxanne spoke of possibly having a K-9 unit or squad car for exhibition and our B sector police representative (Mrs. Tammy Snyder) visit.
Home Assessment: Cathy Blanton recommended the block captains have their own homes assessed as she had done. Ms. Snyder was able to pin point additional critical areas of the Blanton home. The assessment is free.
Crime Prevention Meeting
Monday, February 23 2009
Davis Library, Plano, TX
Key Note Speaker: Tammy Snider
Crime Prevention Unit, Plano Police Department
Topic: Protecting Your Property
Tammy said that garage burglaries are down in Plano. She introduced a program called CAPP’s (Citizens Assisting Plano Police), who work with Plano Police to patrol their neighborhoods. If they see a garage door open, they leave a note for the resident to inform them of the security risk.
The Plano Police Department Crime Prevention Unit offers free home security assessments to residents. Simply call 972-941-2431 to make an appointment. They last usually 1-2 hours and are offered seven days a week. An officer will come to your home and show you the weak points of your home and low cost things that you can do to help deter criminals from breaking into your home.
The first item Tammy showed us was the standard strike place that comes with your door. These do little to deter break-ins. Instead replace them with security strike plates and install them directly into the frame using four inch screws. She said even swat teams with a ram rod have trouble getting past these. Why do builders use standard strike plates? Because they cost about .59 cents versus the $11 security strike plate. Also, your deadbolt should have a minimum throw of 1 inch, preferably 2 inches. The officer at your free home assessment will even measure your door for the security strike plate. For certain doors that won’t fit the security strike plate for both holes; there is one available that fits only over the deadbolt. You can get security strike plate’s at most home improvement or hardware stores.
Your door that leads from the garage into your home should be considered an exterior door. Most people have the false sense of security that it is a safe door because there is a garage door on the outside. She said that the garage door is merely a weather door and can easily be overcome by a knowledgeable criminal. Your door should be a solid core door with a deadbolt and viewer installed. This is your last line of defense if a criminal were in your garage. You need the solid core door as a barrier and the viewer to be able to see what is going on if need be. If not, you could open your door only to come face to face with a criminal. Viewers are inexpensive (starting at around $5), readily available (at any hardware store) and very simple to install, requiring only minimal skill with a drill. Make sure not to install them too high which would inhibit ease of viewing from some family members.
Another weak point at your garage door is your emergency release cord, which hangs from your garage door opener. She said criminals will use the big trash cans provided by the City, drag them over to the garage door, climb onto it; push the top of the garage door in and using a long tool grab the cord to release it. From there they are free to climb down and simply lift your garage door! Tammy strongly recommended removing the emergency release cord as you don’t really need it if you had to release the door. You could use any tool with a hook and handle (or even a coat hanger) to accomplish this if you needed to release the door and it would eliminate this security risk. She also said that you should always close your garage door, even if you are working in the yard. There are products that you can program to shut your garage door for you on a preset time. One is called “Garage Butler,” and automatically shuts your garage door and has time increments of 3, 10, 20 minutes up to one hour. Some even program to auto shut at dusk. She recommends 3 minute maximum.
Tammy moved onto security risks at the front door. She said to never open the door to a stranger. There are reports of criminals knocking or ringing the bell of the front door and when the resident opens the door the criminal makes a forced entry. She said don’t ignore the knock or bell, as this is one method they use to determine if the resident is home or not and whether to break in. Then you have a situation where they are breaking in and you are forced to flee or fight. Instead, call out “Who is it?” When children are home, teach them not to ignore the knock or bell either, even if they are alone. Teach them a way that they can make this security statement and pretend they are not alone. A criminal will usually ask a dumb question or just leave because they realize someone is home. There is strength in numbers and criminals don’t want to break into homes when residents are home. Don’t ever open the door for any reason. If you are suspicious, call 911.
She asked the question “What would you do if someone did break in while you were home?” She said many people don’t think about this scenario and are not prepared for their reaction if/when it happens. You are either going to fight or flee. She said everyone should consider what they would intend to do. The Crime Prevention officers speak about this subject with residents at the free home assessment. She said she knows what she would do. She would fight! She is trained to do this. She said that if you choose to fight, and if you are in that situation, then do what you choose to do and if you do it, mean it! When she asks the resident if they have a weapon, many of them think of guns but she said residents need to realize that they have “weapons” all over the house. Even an ink pen can be a weapon.
She spoke about securing various types of doors/windows:
Glass Entry Doors – Install door stopper locks which are made of hardened steel and replace the old chains. These are available at Home Depot.
Windows – Install secondary or auxiliary pin to each window (even second floor). For windows that you want to be able to vent install thumbscrew locks (3 inches up)
You can’t stop crime but you want to make it as difficult as possible for them and they will move somewhere else.
Your Crime Watch Committee is your best crime fighting tool! Get to know your neighbors. You know what belongs in your neighborhood better than any others. Always trust your gut. When you see suspicious activity, call it into the Police (911). 911 is immediate and happening now and needs immediate attention. It will allow Police to get there in time to stop whatever is happening.
Register Your Vehicle – Program called “HEAT” or Help End Auto Theft. It is a reflective decal that is put in two spots on your vehicle. If the police see this decal anytime between 1AM – 5AM, they will pull it over. Statistics show that most law abiding citizens, with the exception of emergency personnel (fire, police, ambulance, etc) are not usually out driving around at this time of the morning. Most times, the police find that the occupants are up to no good.
Vehicles – Don’t carry anything of a personal nature which reveals your identity information. You should only have registration and insurance which are required by law. If you can carry your insurance card with you instead do that instead of leaving in your car. “BMV” or Burglarized Motor Vehicle is the #1 crime in Plano, so protect your identity and your valuables. If you have a lock on your glove box, always keep it locked. Don’t leave purses, wallets or anything in the car, even for a minute. Lock your car, take your keys and don’t leave valuables in your car.
On a side note: Don’t carry your social security card with you on a regular basis. Only take it with you if you need it.
Fences/Gates – lock your fences/gates by inserting a lock or pin into the little holes on the inside. If you are installing a new fence, put the cross rails on the inside. Don’t give intruders a ladder over. It might deter criminals because they would have to carry everything over the fence, which is effort and time consuming. If you have a pool, keep your gate locked to keep yourself safe from liability in the event of an accidental drowning.
Tammy confirmed that if you see suspicious activity call 911. Don’t call the non-emergency line because if you witness suspicious activity, it is probably happening now and 911 is utilized for anything that is happening now. This allows the police a better chance to get where they are needed in time to stop what is happening. If you were to call the non emergency line and go through the prompts, you would still reach the same person as you would be calling 911. If any of them complains to you, she said to let her know because she will get with the manager of the department because this is their job.
Dave Iwanski spoke briefly about the Light the Neighborhood program, an ongoing campaign to help our residents light up their alleys and front of homes. Dave and Chris Kelly will come to your home and help you install lights. They also can install a dusk-to-dawn sensor where you don’t have to even think about turning on or off the light switch. The sensor automatically turns on the light at dusk and turns it off at dawn. The only maintenance you have to do is replace the bulb when it goes out.
There are future projects such as having the City replace dull or dingy street lights and trimming trees around them which inhibit the light.
Tammy Snider said that the #1 psychological deterrent for criminal activity is light. She mentioned that if you are shopping for energy reducing bulbs, look for bulbs that reduce “lower wattage” rather than “lumens,” which doesn’t really reduce the electricity use. She also said the new “CFL” bulbs are not as efficient in winter as in the summer because they take time to warm up.
Karen Hosein spoke about the “Know your Neighbors” form which is available on our website, http://www.westcreekestates.org/crime_watch_flyers.htm. The form is a valuable tool which goes off the premise that you should get to know the three neighbors in front, 3 neighbors behind and the one neighbor on each side of your residence. The form allows you to collect contact information, family names, car plates, etc., so that you are more aware of what goes on in your immediate circle. The more you are aware, the more you can spot suspicious activity that is out of place.
Cathy Blanton spoke briefly about the “Stop the Madness” information that is available on our website, http://www.westcreekestates.org/stop_the_madness.htm. It is specific information that you can follow, given by the City of Plano, on how to post No Solicitation signs to stop random solicitation or handbill drop offs at your door. There are specific steps you must follow in order for your posted sign to be legal and which allow you to report violators to the City of Plano for prosecution and/or fines to the violator.
Tammy Snider said that this is an excellent tool, because there are a high percentage of peddlers/solicitors who are criminals or would-be thieves.
Crime Watch Meeting
Sunday, December 07, 2008 (3:00 - 4:30 pm)
In Attendance: Roxanne Fuentes, Russell Fuentes, David Iwanski, Chris Kelly, CC, Cathy Blanton, Kanna Madero
Minutes to Meeting
Crime Watch operates under two principles:
Know your neighbors; Report suspicious activity
We discussed the importance of completing the gathering of resident contact information (preferably email) for assigned streets. This information shall be passed onto Cathy Blanton, who is maintaining the master list. This is a critical element for our crime watch organization and a foundation for distributing crime watch bulletins and keeping Crime Watch activities to the forefront of our resident’s attention, thereby encouraging resident participation. A deadline was set for January 18 to complete this task.
In conjunction with the above, Dave Iwanski will be putting together another flyer (to be distributed in mailboxes) as another opportunity to solicit contact info for receiving Crime Watch related announcements. This flyer is to be passed out this weekend by the Block Captains.
Roxanne will contact Tammy Snider, our Crime Prevention leader from the Plano Police Department to schedule an educational meeting which is targeted to occur first part of February.
Another discussion was that each Block Captain should schedule a free home assessment with the Crime Prevention Department. A police officer from the Crime Prevention Unit will come to the house and assess any weak points or areas that need attention in order to increase security. In doing this, we set a positive example for our residents and can use our experience to encourage residents to take advantage of this useful service. The Crime Prevention Unit telephone number is 972-941-2431.
Cathy Blanton is going to update the West Creek Estates website to reflect more towards Crime Watch. The website address is www.westcreekestates.org. It is not currently up but she will keep us updated on the progress.
Due to upcoming holidays, we will shoot for an upcoming Block Captain meeting in early February.
Last Update 4/03/15
For questions about this website please contact Cathy Blanton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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