Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Need a Little Help on National Night Out

The National Night Out celebration in the DDLP will take place on the Joyner playground from 5:30pm to 8pm on Tuesday August 5 with food, games, giveaways and more being provided by our neighborhood watch group and Target. But we still need some help. If you would be willing to set up a tent canopy or bake a dessert, please contact Mary Speaker (Vernon) at 288-3641. We also need a battery powered PA or Mr. Microphone so that we can address the crowd (again, contact Mary Speaker).

Details about the event will be coming your way via email and flyers during the next few days. Please plan to attend. And bring your extended family and friends to the party!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

June 30 Neighborhood Watch Meeting Notes

The meeting began with an introduction of the block captains. Joan noted that more block captains are needed and invited others to volunteer. Officer Scott Miller was then introduced. He began his discussion, which was mainly on the topic of home security, by pointing out some recent changes that affect our neighborhood because of the annexation of The Cardinal into Greensboro. We are no longer a part of the Eastern Division of the Greensboro Police Department. We are now part of the Central Division, the 140 Zone, and will have a different Community Resource Team (CRT). One of those officers will attend our next meeting.

Turning to the topic of home security, Officer Miller noted that larcenies, along with burglaries, are the main crime problems in our neighborhood. In June, there were two incident reports and both were larcenies. Both were break-ins of cars, called “Larceny – Motor Vehicle” on incident reports. Most larcenies from cars occur from 11PM to 3AM. They are mpsy often
committed by youths from 14 to 19 years of age.The other common larceny, Larceny – All Other, means that no break-in occurred but that property is missing. This is most likely to occur when an invited guest steals something from their host’s residence.

Larcenies from motor vehicles can best be prevented by leaving nothing of value visible in the car. Those items most likely to act as an incentive to the “bad guys,” as Officer Miller calls criminals, are cameras, purses, ipods, laptops, book bags, and briefcases. He recommended taking everything out of your vehicle when you get home from work. He also suggested removing all but the spare tire and tire tools in the trunk. Keeping the vehicle “clean” at all times is the best deterrent to car break-ins. Although one school of thought is to leave a vehicle unlocked to prevent thieves from breaking your car’s window to get inside, Officer Miller said that locking the vehicle is probably the best thing to do. All in all, a bad guy will be more reluctant to break glass on a vehicle, and thus drawing attention to himself, when there is nothing “good” in sight.

Officer Miller then turned to the subject of how to protect our homes from burglaries. Most break-insoccur during the day when the residents are at work. One common approach is for a group of three or four bad guys, on foot or driving, to go by a residence several times to determine whether or not anyone is at home. Then one guy will knock on the front door. If there
is no answer, they will signal their partners who will break in through a window or door in the back of the house. Although burglars prefer going through a window, which is usually less noisy than breaking down a door, several of the burglaries in the DDLP were accomplished by busting through a door. Unfortunately, only about 30- 40% of all break-ins are solved. Most are handled through insurance. Officer Miller did have a number of suggestions about how to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to break into our houses.

Locks, and the doors themselves, are the first place to start when looking to prevent burglaries. One locksmith that Officer Miller has spoken with recommends either heavy duty Sclegg locks or Medico locks, which are the best, and the most
expensive locks. Glass doors present special problems no matter how good a lock is if the glass is 40” or closer to the lock. In that case, double cylinder dead bolt locks are the better choice for security as a key is needed to unlock the door from both the outside and the inside. However, because a key is necessary to unlock the door from the inside, it must be easily accessible to the inhabitants in case of a fire. Flexible glass will deter entry but it doesn’t look as nice as glass so it is not used much in residential buildings.

A metal door is the hardest to break into, but it needs to be 18 or greater gauge metal. Of course if it is attached to a wooden door frame, all the burglar has to do is pry the wood loose around the lock in order to get in. A metal door should be set in a metal door frame. The next best choice is a solid core wood door with a striker plate. As for sliding doors, a charlie bar can be used to make it harder to break in. Because sliding glass doors can be lifted up pretty easily with a prying tool, it is a good idea to put something in the track that will allow the door to slide but will prevent it from being lifted.

There are also some simple things we can do to make our homes more secure. Officer Miller asked us to take a look at our yards and see if we are inadvertently providing hiding places for criminals. Foliage, shrubs, and vines are nice ways to increase our privacy, but they also make it difficult for our neighbors to see someone breaking into our house. We will have to strike a balance between privacy and security. He suggested we trim tree branches back to eight or nine feet off the ground and keep bushes two feet or lower. Prickly scrubs around the house are a good deterrent.

At night, a pitch black yard can make it harder for your neighbors, or you, to see suspicious behavior. Here again a balance will have to be struck. You want enough light so your neighbors can see into your yard, but not enough to blind them. One solution is to get Duke Power to put a light on a six foot pole in your back yard. If you opt for motion detecting lights, don’t get complacent. Don’t assume they were set off by a raccoon, always check outside when they come on. If you just don’t want to add to the “problem” of “light pollution,” you can simply leave the lights off until you hear something unusual. That’s the time to turn the lights on and investigate.

If you decide to put up a “Beware of Dog” sign, don’t forget to put a huge dog house and a big water bowl in the yard to further improve the deterrent factor. As for the fence that keeps the dog in your yard, it can also make it more difficult for neighbors to see suspicious activity. Fences also make it more difficult to get to know your neighbors. Chain link fences are a practical solution to this dilemma.

Another possible deterrent is an alarm system. However, although they may deter some thieves, they can also be ineffective and costly. False alarms can be caused by birds, wind, hail, and people. 95-98% of all the alarms that the police respond to are false alarms. Your first three false alarms are free, but each false alarm after that will cost you $50 if it is answered by the police. Officer Miller believes that the best deterrent to crime is your neighbors,which is why he supports neighborhood watch groups.

We can prevent crime if we pay attention to what is going on in our neighborhood. Communicate with our neighbors. Call the police when something doesn’t look right and give them as much detailed information as you can. “You are the eyes and ears of your neighborhood” and the best deterrent to crime. If you are willing to get more involved, join the Neighborhood Watch. You should be prepared to answer a lot of questions when you call the police to report suspicious activity, and also be willing to stand up in court as a witness if necessary.

After Officer Miller’s presentation, there was enough time for him to answer questions from the audience. A Wilshire resident had heard gunshots coming from the direction of the Brookfield Woods apartments and wanted to know how she could find out what had happened there. Officer Miller told her to call the Maple Street substation, 574-4035, ask for Kathy Coleman, give her the date and time of the gunshots, and Ms. Coleman would be able to tell her whether any officers responded. Nine times out of ten nothing is found and no report is written up. Another resident wanted to know if he could shoot an intruder in his home. He then joked that he had heard that three shots was self defense, but four shots was murder. Officer Miller was understandably reluctant to offer an opinion on this subject. He did say that force could be used if you were in fear for your life and other less drastic means of protection were unavailable. But, he warned, you had better be able to articulate why you did what you did. And of course, the weapon should be registered.

Following the Q & A, Mary Speaker (Vernon) gave an update on plans for our participation in National Night Out. She is spearheading a group that is planning a block party on that night. They have invited members of both the police and fire departments to join us. Details to come.

Note: I'm sorry I didn't get these notes published sooner, but there are just so many other things to do in the summer : )

Friday, July 25, 2008

Calling All Block Captains

There will be a quick meeting of all block captains Monday July 28 at 6:30pm at the Lawndale Swim & Tennis Clubhouse. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss National Night Out and how to get the word out, especially for those that aren't on the blog, and get an idea of how many people plan to attend & who's going to bring what. Mary Speaker has been heading up this project and will let us know what is planned so far and what needs to be done between now and August 5th.

Also on the agenda is our representation at the required monthly meetings with the Central Division Advisory Board of the GPD. There are 11 meetings per year (no meeting in August because of National Night Out). Since we already have more than 11 block captains, we should be able to divide up and have people volunteer to attend one meeting a year with plenty of alternates to fill in when someone can't make a meeting. So bring your calendars!

If you are not a block captain but would like to participate, come to the meeting and sign up. Besides organizing neighborhood participation in National Night Out and the annual neighborhood watch meeting in February, block captains act as the "eyes and ears" of the neighborhood for the police. They make sure their neighbors are kept informed about neighborhood events and suspicious or criminal activities. And yes, they may have to attend a few meetings, although most of our communications are accomplished with email and phone calls.

Contact me if you have any questions: hester@notalawyer.info

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 2008 Neighborhood Party

Thanks to Chris & Jen and Ryan & Robyn for a great Saturday evening party in Chris & Jen's backyard!

What a wonderful turnout!

There was a ton of Food and Drinks this time. Nice work everybody!

I asked Nick to take a 'show of hands' poll at the party of how many people found out about the party via The DDLP Neighborhood Watch Blog.

It seems that mostly everybody got the news from the Blog and subsequent emails.

There are currently 106 email addresses on the Blog email distribution list.
We're working with folks that maintain similar email lists so that we can consolidate them into one list. This will reduce redundancy and provide a single list for email distributions.

I'll update the Blog about info for the August 05 National Night Out neighborhood event, soon.
And, there will be an email sent about it, too.
Thanks, Charlie

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More fluffy high-tech stuff for the blog

Hey Y'all,

I got turned onto Frappr a week or so back.

It seems kinda cool so, I added it to the sidebar on our Blog.
*You may have to stretch out your Internet Browser window to see the whole widget.

Go ahead and have fun and add yourself to the Frappr map, if you want.

Frappr is a little Google widget.

It's a little bit more interactive and informative than the Visitor Map glyph that's just below Frappr.

So, crank up the blog and scroll down a ways and check out Frappr on the left side of the page:

http://ddlp-gso.blogspot.com/

Charlie

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Break-in at Lawndale Swim & Tennis Club

The Lawndale Swim & Tennis Clubhouse was broken into last night. They busted out the snack shack door, and stole approximately $500.00 worth of merchandise. A report is being filed with the police but is not yet available on the P2C website. The thieves did not enter through the new doors. Apparently they entered through the far window on the pool side of the clubhouse which was more than likely locked. Evidence at the scene indicates they may have jumped over the fence on their way out. There is a nice print in the horseshoe pit, and possibly some other prints.

One of our neighbors who lives on Normandy and walks his dogs all over the neighborhood, called the police when he saw a bunch of people hanging around that area. It is probable that they are the same ne'er-do-wells that stole ice cream, drinks, chips, and paper towels, among other things, from the snack bar. The snack bar is run by a college student and it was his merchandise that was stolen. The thieves did leave behind some drink bottles on Joyner's playground. Hopefully the police will be able to pull some prints and match them up. Our thanks go out to our alert Normandy neighbor for calling in suspicious activity to the police. Let's keep it up.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The DDLP July Party 2008

The DDLP July Neighborhood Party 2008 is on - YEA!

Hosted by:
Chris & Jen (3404 Normandy)
and Ryan & Robyn (3405 Normandy).

When:
July 19th from 5-7pm

Where:
Chris and Jen's backyard at 3404 Normandy Rd.
(That's right on the corner by the Lawndale Swim Club)

Food and Drinks:
Juice and such for the little ones will be provided
Adults - BYOB or otherwise drinks

It's a Pot Luck so Please Bring Some Food
We've had great salad and salad-like dishes
We need more MEAT and Potota kinda dishes

I'll put up a voting poll on the Blog and you can anonymously indicate what kinda dish you can bring.

Thanks Chris and Jen, Ryan and Robyn!!!

See y'all there!
Charlie

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Testing new Blog tool: Windows Live Writer

 

I'm just testing a new tool that I'm going to be using to update our Blog.

With no particular relevance to the Blog other than this is Hester's favorite band, here's a video of The Avett Brothers performing, "Talk on Indolence"

I'm working on richer content for the Blog.

Anyways, thanks for the indulgence and enjoy the video,

Charlie