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Rethink Home Safety

by David Lewis ,OMNVA Chair

As I write this, all is quiet–the monsoons have ended without Permanente Creek flooding; the earthquakes have all been little and the City hasn’t sold Eagle Park to developers for a high-rise apartment building project.  The omens have been good–the hummingbirds have returned; no ravens have been sighted in our neighborhood; we don’t have a flock of vultures circling over Mountain View, and Google has been very generous to the City.  We can only hope things stay this way–but see the following article on home safety–let’s try to keep things quiet and safe in our neighborhood.
At the last OMNVA board meeting, two residents voiced concerns about car thefts, house robberies, credit card information theft, and suspicious people in neighborhoods.  Many felt that lack of information, our trustful nature, and even our laziness contribute to robberies and thefts in our homes and community.

The Mountain View Police Department offers the best local source on crime prevention.  It has helpful brochures online at http://tinyurl.com/6czmprs.  You can contact Community Relations Manager Liz Wylie, 903-6357 or elizabeth.wylie@mountainview.gov, about concerns.  Another good source, www.crimereports.com, has recent crime reports for any period of time up to the last six months and a Google map.  You can also set up an emailed “crime alert” for occurrences near your home (or business).  According to Liz, crime has not increased much in our neighborhood, and, in 2010, was at one of its lowest levels.  While theft, auto and residential burglaries are crimes we might experience, many are preventable.  Auto burglars look for items in cars while residential burglars look for unlocked windows and doors.  So, lock car doors, keep car windows rolled up, and never leave valuables or anything in sight.  Never leave your nav system in the car.
Recommendations for your home include: have good deadbolts on exterior doors; lock windows when out; install a peephole in your front door; mark your valuables with your CA driver’s license number preceded by CA; have a list of crucial phone numbers by the phone; keep lists of serial numbers for electronics in case they are stolen.  When on vacation–take only essential credit cards with you; ask a neighbor to check on your house; have mail and newspapers collected; use light and radio timers so your home looks occupied; lock windows, exterior doors, and sliding glass doors;  Never leave house keys outside.  Of equal importance is knowing your neighbors and neighborhood.  Have a block party; talk to one another; let your neighbors know when you’ll be out of town and who is watching your home; keep an eye out for each other.  Be aware of strangers in the area with no apparent purpose.  Call the police department’s non-emergency number, 903-6395, if you notice anything suspicious.  If possible, start a neighborhood watch program or take part in an existing one.  Finally, become aware of credit card and identity theft.  Be careful of the information that you give online and on the phone.  Check credit card statements often and report questionable purchases.  Have all important information, including that on your computer, on a USB key or other portable storage.  Never put personal checks in your mailbox as crooks can steal your mail, “wash” the ink off the check and re-write it to themselves.  Take checks, you want to mail, to a USPS mail box or the post office.  Use ballpoint pens to write checks – even if the ink is washed off, the bank will likely notice the imprint from the ball point and realize the check is fraudulent.

Mountain View is still remarkably crime-free, and to keep it that way we need to use common sense and security measures to protect our homes, neighborhoods, and community.  Crime prevention involves not just the police department, but each of us.
At the last OMNVA board meeting, two residents voiced concerns about car thefts, house robberies, credit card information theft, and suspicious people in neighborhoods.  Many felt that lack of information, our trustful nature, and even our laziness contribute to robberies and thefts in our homes and community.
The Mountain View Police Department offers the best local source on crime prevention.  It has helpful brochures online at http://tinyurl.com/6czmprs.  You can contact Community Relations Manager Liz Wylie, 903-6357 or elizabeth.wylie@mountainview.gov, about concerns.  Another good source, www.crimereports.com, has recent crime reports for any period of time up to the last six months and a Google map.  You can also set up an emailed “crime alert” for occurrences near your home (or business).  According to Liz, crime has not increased much in our neighborhood, and, in 2010, was at one of its lowest levels.  While theft, auto and residential burglaries are crimes we might experience, many are preventable.  Auto burglars look for items in cars while residential burglars look for unlocked windows and doors.  So, lock car doors, keep car windows rolled up, and never leave valuables or anything in sight.  Never leave your nav system in the car.
Recommendations for your home include: have good deadbolts on exterior doors; lock windows when out; install a peephole in your front door; mark your valuables with your CA driver’s license number preceded by CA; have a list of crucial phone numbers by the phone; keep lists of serial numbers for electronics in case they are stolen.  When on vacation–take only essential credit cards with you; ask a neighbor to check on your house; have mail and newspapers collected; use light and radio timers so your home looks occupied; lock windows, exterior doors, and sliding glass doors;  Never leave house keys outside.  Of equal importance is knowing your neighbors and neighborhood.  Have a block party; talk to one another; let your neighbors know when you’ll be out of town and who is watching your home; keep an eye out for each other.  Be aware of strangers in the area with no apparent purpose.  Call the police department’s non-emergency number, 903-6395, if you notice anything suspicious.  If possible, start a neighborhood watch program or take part in an existing one.  Finally, become aware of credit card and identity theft.  Be careful of the information that you give online and on the phone.  Check credit card statements often and report questionable purchases.  Have all important information, including that on your computer, on a USB key or other portable storage.  Never put personal checks in your mailbox as crooks can steal your mail, “wash” the ink off the check and re-write it to themselves.  Take checks, you want to mail, to a USPS mail box or the post office.  Use ballpoint pens to write checks – even if the ink is washed off, the bank will likely notice the imprint from the ball point and realize the check is fraudulent.

Mountain View is still remarkably crime-free, and to keep it that way we need to use common sense and security measures to protect our homes, neighborhoods, and community.  Crime prevention involves not just the police department, but each of us.

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