Commissioner Stuart – September 2017
As we celebrate the start of a new school year, the start of football season and the beginning a great fall, I wanted to take a moment to provide some home safety tips from our Orlando Police Department. Whenever I talk to residents or attend meetings, crime prevention is always the most popular topic. As a lifelong resident of Orlando, there is nothing that makes me more heartsick, and let me be honest- angry- than when we have a crime spike of any kind in our neighborhoods. While I am grateful that our violent crime rate is low, I know any type of crime is frustrating and disheartening. I know we all think we have heard it all, but reviewing their advice is always a good idea.
- Lock all of your home’s entryways 24/7, even when you are home. Most unlawful entry is through doorways and more than half occur during daylight hours. More than 2 million burglaries occur every year- one every 13 seconds.
- Deadbolt all exterior entrances. Every exterior entryway into your home needs a deadbolt with a full 1″ throwbolt. Treat doors leading from the garage to house as exterior doors, install deadbolts. Exterior doors should be solid, 1 – 3/4″ hardwood with secure frames.
- Please don’t hide your key. Never hide keys under a mat, in planters, or taped above a door jamb…burglars know these places. Only leave keys with trusted neighbors and family.
- Glass can shatter your security. A sliding glass door is lifted into position when installed and can be easily lifted out without some precautions in place. Adjust screws in the door track to limit clearance. Place a wooden dowel or broom handle in the door’s track. Retrofit ground floor windows with locking hardware.
- Maintain the appearance of occupancy. Use automatic timers to turn on different lights at different times when you are out of town. Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers or put on hold until you return.
- Intruders fear the spotlight. Use motion-activated light fixtures when possible. Exterior lighting around a home’s perimeter creates a psychological barrier. Light porches and other entrances with at least a 40-watt bulb. Trim overgrown bushes, tree limbs, or landscaping to the height of porches or windows.
- Help the police help you! Report suspicious activity, always. House numbers should be at least 4″ – 6″ high, reflective and visible from the street. Numbers should be illuminated at night. Call the police. Don’t worry about false alarms. Be safe, not sorry.
- Burglars prefer cash. Criminals want cash and items easily fenced for cash like small electronic equipment, computers, cameras, jewelry, and guns. Leaving empty equipment boxes on the curb is a strong temptation for criminals to inquire within. Hide your valuables or keep them under lock and key. Engrave your valuables with “This Property Stolen From…” and include your driver’s license number. Marked property is difficult to fence and easier to recover.
- Gone in 60 seconds. Research by the National Crime Prevention Institute shows that burglars generally will work no longer than 60 seconds to obtain entry.
- Join Neighborhood Watch! Neighbors watching out for each other are the most effective method of crime prevention. For more information on how to join, visit cityoforlando.net/police.
Our City’s annual National Night Out event, which helps promote Neighborhood Watch is taking place in the fall again this year, rather than the summer. So goodbye to stifling heat and a high probability of showers and hello to National Night Out on the evening of Tuesday, October 3rd! This night is a great evening where neighbors can come together for large or small gatherings, on their block or in their neighborhood, where they get a chance to fellowship with neighbors and their local first responders in order to build a cohesive network that can help prevent crime in our community.
If you have never been to or hosted a National Night Out event on your street or in your neighborhood, there is no better time to start. With everything going on in our world, now more than ever, we can be the torch bearers for how police/ community relations can and should be.
One last fact, did you know the Orlando Police Department offers free residential security surveys for our citizens? Under this program, an officer will come out to your property and instruct you on how you can better safeguard your home. To schedule your free security survey, call 407.246.2369.
As always, thanks for your support of our great City! Be safe out there and I look forward to seeing you around town this month.