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Police reemphasize residential security check program

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Nobody passes the residential security check without some suggestion.

Woodbury Public Safety is reemphasizing a crime prevention program that is activated when the public calls up the police, volunteering to have a police officer visit their home to check all security measures that the resident has in place. 

The editor of the Woodbury Bulletin decided to try out the program, having a crime prevention specialist assess the environment and landscape around the editor’s home, in Woodbury’s Ridgegate neighborhood, and tell its residents how to improve in the realm of crime prevention.

“Criminals are looking for opportunities,” officer Garrett Kissner said on the visit.

He pointed out a lot of positives in the yard and home, including:

  • no debris;
  • pine trees that are trimmed up to 6 feet;
  • bushes trimmed down to no taller than 3 feet;
  • a clearly marked address visible from the street; 
  • lights left on;
  • limited roof access;
  • secure doors;
  • key control;
  • locked windows; 
  • and more.

Visibility is important because neighbors who know my family and me might be more likely to report a suspect’s suspicious behavior near my house, or just call me to see if such behavior seems strange.

“It all boils down to knowing your neighbors,” Kissener said.

One eye opener was Kissener’s mention of the gate at the top of the steps to my second-story back porch. 

Any barrier between a would-be criminal and a house helps in crime prevention.

“It’s all about access control,” Kissener said.

Storage bins are pushed under the porch steps, rather than up against the house, limiting access to our second-story windows.

He gave recommendations about audible alarms, locks on storage sheds, the length of the screws and deadbolts on door handles, the kinds of door frames that make it difficult to break in, what to put in a safe, how to document valuables, the difference between a privacy fence and chain link, and bars on sliding windows and patio doors.

The residential security check program took a hiatus when a crime prevention specialist retired a few years ago, but Kissener and a few others were recently trained to do the work. The rejuvenated program is offered from April through October, and police are looking for others to call and learn something. July was their first month of bringing the program back.

“We have always worked with residents if they had questions as it relates to security of their home, individually, at neighborhood watch and neighborhood meetings,” Public Information Officer Michelle Okada said. “We are highlighting this opportunity to be proactive in crime prevention. We have a team trained to conduct these surveys, they also work with our multihousing (townhome and apartment complex) neighborhoods and hotel/motel business in effort to help with crime prevention efforts through design, landscape, and lighting, et cetera.”

The program is meant to “open people’s eyes and think about something that maybe they haven’t thought of before,” Kissener said. 

A residential security check will not to guarantee the house to be burglary, robbery or theft proof, but following recommendations will reduce the probability of a crime occurring on a well-maintained property, according to public safety.

Crime prevention specialists are equipped to answer general questions about public safety, as well. 

“It opens up to other discussions,” Kissener said. “We don’t have to wait until something happens.”

It took less than an hour to have a residential security check completed, Woodbury Public Safety promptly emailed back a list of recommendations, and my house is more secure than ever. Yours could be more secure, too. Call (651) 714-3600.

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