From fresh fruits and vegetables to walks with the dog on a lovely summer evening – ah, yes, July is here in full bloom! Also in it’s peak season is the crime of opportunity.
The Hilltop is a wonderful place to call home but that doesn’t mean that it is immune to crime. From garage break-ins to home burglaries to drug deals on the street corners, crime is a problem. What do we do about that? Fight back!
The following are safety tips that are tried and true. You may have read them before, but it is always good to have a refresher course.
•Always lock your car, remove anything of value from it, and remove the garage remote and car registration.
•Always leave on a porch light. If the bulb burned out and you can’t replace it, call Camp Chase Blockwatch for help! It costs pennies a year to keep on a porch light and it does not draw criminals to your home, it helps to chase them away as well lit areas deter crime.
•Keep all shrubs and bushes trimmed down so that no one can hide behind them.
•Buy a simple alarm system for the garage.
•Keep all screen doors locked when out back or in the side yard.
•Close all windows and lock them when leaving your home.
•Close all shades and curtains at night so that people cannot see into your home.
•Write down all serial numbers and pertinent information from valuables and electronics. Also, take digital photos of them for easy identification.
•Don’t leave items outside.
•Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Is your neighbor on vacation so they shouldn’t have movers at their home? Should there be loiterers in your alley?
•Drive to and from work different ways; vary your routine.
•Be willing to report crime and to ask to speak with the responding officer. They may need to verify location or descriptions of the suspicious people/activities.
•Make sure that your garage door is closed before driving away or walking into your home.
•Always call 645-4545 for suspicious activity and 911 for a crime in progress, an injury, or a fire.
The best way to deter crime is to join your blockwatch and look out for each other and be connected in your community. Take a chance and talk to your new neighbor; make them feel welcome in the area! Join a local organization and volunteer time to help out on the Hilltop. You will be involved in what goes on and help others in the meantime.
Don’t forget to pick up trash and to care about the appearance of your home and neighborhood. Nothing says “rip me off and welcome criminals” more than trash, graffiti, and empty homes. Are there foreclosed homes next to you? Mow the lawn and try to keep it picked up so that it doesn’t bring down the appearance of your block.
Friends of the Hilltop, Friends of Westgate Park and Westgate Neighbor’s Association are just a few of the groups on the Hilltop that work towards beautification through graffiti removal, cleanups, and plantings. Also, the Boggs family, of the Odgen Avenue Blockwatch, do a fantastic job of working within their neighborhood to keep crime at bay by cleaning up and hosting block parties.
Don’t let fear and apathy take over our neighborhood – step out and be proactive in keeping our community a wonderful place to live!
Lisa Grazier is coordinator of the Camp Chase Blockwatch.