Though the following tips seem basic, people often become the victims of crime because they ignore the tenets of common sense. Our thanks to community policing officer A.J. Klein and neighborhood Crime Watch coordinators for giving us some things to think about when it comes to protecting our families and our property against crime.



Get to know your neighbors. Your best eyes and ears are those people who live around you. Get to know them, get to know their patterns and let them get to know your patterns. Recognize vehicles that belong outside the house and what should or shouldn’t be there during the day or in the evening. — A.J. Klein, Dallas Police Department



We really try to promote people getting together for social activities, like National Night Out or the annual Easter egg hunt. Or just walk in the neighborhood. It makes a tremendous difference. If you know somebody, you take a little more care about what’s going on. — Judy Hall, Casa Linda Neighborhood Association



When you’re out of town, make sure somebody’s picking up your mail. Or call the Dallas police department; they will come by and do a security check [while you’re out of town]. — Sheryl Bartlett, Greenland Hills Neighborhood Association



If you notice somebody who’s suspicious or you just have a funny feeling about him or her, call 911. Your gut instinct is usually a good sign something is wrong. — Sheryl Bartlett (Officer Klein backs this up: “Don’t ever hesitate to call 911 if something is suspicious to you,” he says.)



The whole thing is communication, everybody knowing what’s going on and being encouraged to report things that are unusual. Make it a habit to call your Crime Watch information alert [telephone] number every week. — Norton Rosenthal, Forest Hills Neighborhood Association



As far as your house is concerned, even if you’re just going to 7-Eleven, lock the house up. Don’t ever leave the house unlocked at any time. — A.J. Klein



Keep garages and storage sheds locked and closed. Keep blinds and drapes closed when you’re not at home. — Norton Rosenthal



Keep alleyways clean and clear of clutter. Do neighborhood alley cleanups so that the police officers can get down the alley. — Sheryl Bartlett



Have additional lighting around your house. — Sheryl Bartlett



If you didn’t buy it with the car, don’t leave it in the car. That goes for cell phones, briefcases, and laptops. Take it in the house if it’s valuable. — A.J. Klein



If you can, park your vehicle in a garage. If you can’t, park it in a place that is well illuminated. Make sure you lock your car every time you get in and out of it. If it’s locked, criminals are more likely to move to the next vehicle. — A.J. Klein



If you’re going to go for a walk at night, take your dog or someone else with you. There is strength in numbers. — A.J. Klein



Finally, the Dallas Police Department will come to your house and do a free home security survey, providing recommendations for making it safer. The process takes about 15-30 minutes, Klein says. Call Dallas Police Community Services at 214-670-4427. For information about crime prevention, visit and click on Online Brochures.


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