Q: We’ve recently noticed suspicious activity in our neighborhood. How do we go about getting the cops to patrol our neighborhood more?

The demand for increased patrols in our neighborhood is the service most requested by our residents. As we have mentioned before in this column, the demands of our officers to answer 911 calls for service is the biggest obstacle to their spending more time in the neighborhoods. I want to commend you for taking the time to notice the suspicious activity. If all of us become more aware of the activity that goes on and report it to the police department, we will help reduce crime. We do have a form at all the patrol divisions that will inform officers of your concerns. It is called an Extra Patrol Sheet. Please call your patrol division, explain that you would like to request extra patrols and describe the reasons for your request. Officers on all watches will be notified of your request and hopefully will be able to patrol your neighborhood more frequently. While the officers might not be able to stop and park, perhaps they can drive through your neighborhood on the way to a 911 call.

Q: Approximately a year and a half ago, our house was burglarized. We suspect some workers hired by our contractor might have done it. What are some tips to prevent something like this from happening?

Most property crimes (thefts, burglaries, burglary of motor vehicles) are crimes of opportunity. We are stressing to everyone to minimize the opportunity by reinforcing programs such as Take, Lock & Hide, Operation Identification and Help End Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.). We also have a joint effort with the Boy Scouts of America and began the “Be Prepared To Shut Down Crime” campaign last month. This effort is designed to remind people to shut and secure their garage doors. I know in many sections of the city’s Northeast quadrant, there have been quite a few construction projects. These projects create opportunities for criminals. It is much easier for a criminal to blend into an area that has remodeling or renovation. The criminals can observe the patterns of not only residents, but also workers. Look around the next time you are driving or walking by a site. If you were a criminal, how easy would it be for you to blend in with the work crews? How easy would it be to pretend you are working at one address while walking next door to break into the neighbor’s house or shed? Securing your property is probably the best tip we can offer. An alarm system is worth considering. Ask questions such as: What hours should we expect contractors to be working? Do all of the workers’ vehicles have the company logo on them? Where should we expect the work crews to be consistently parked? Will there be any property removed from this location? If it is your house being renovated, consider changing an existing alarm code, account for any/all keys, contemplate the benefits of changing the locks, and don’t divulge your family’s schedule. Talk with your neighbors; look out for one another.

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