Preparedness tips for household emergencies and neighborhood disasters.
— By Jess Wade, HOA Board Member, Editorial
It’s late at night. You are shocked when you observe two sinister figures entering your back yard. Would you consider this a household emergency?
“Why, YES, I would!”
“Are there any among us who would not?”
Statistically, Town Creek is a relatively safe neighborhood. However, homeowners should not take this for granted. Any given residence may be targeted.
Here are some action steps upon observing imminent criminal activity or suspicion of:
- Hide or flee. If possible, run out of the house to a pre-designated safe place. Or, quietly move your family to the safest room in your house.
- Call 911
- For TC Crime Watch (CW) members, after reporting to 911, immediately call the CW officer on duty. If officer does not answer, leave an urgent message; providing reason for your call, explain you have called 911, and calmly and clearly leave your location and contact information. Obviously, stay in hiding until threat is neutralized.
How to minimize the chances your home or car will be targeted:
- Install outdoor perimeter lighting to remove dark or shadowy corners. To save energy, some might be motion sensor lights. A well-lit exterior may be the best deterrent to night-time break-ins.
- Equip your home interior with a wireless monitored security system. Have it installed in a place visible from the outside and use property notification signs to help discourage would-be intruders
- Install an outdoor camera system that includes property notification signs
- If necessary, invest in training your dog to provide early warning of outdoor disturbances
- Keep all doors deadbolt locked and windows secure (install guards to prevent them from being raised more than a few inches) even when you are at home.
- And, speaking of locks, make sure your car doors are locked. ALWAYS. You will also want to remove or hide anything of value.
What do police suggest about preparedness to thwart neighborhood criminal intent:
- Try “casing” your own home, at night AND during the day. Attempt to gain access to your home when the doors and windows are locked and “secure.” What you learn may be surprising. (Make sure you have identification on you in case a neighbor should call 911.)
- Leave a light on (perhaps on a timer) when you leave home after dark, even for a short time. You can buy variable light timers at a local hardware store. Consider leaving a television or radio on as well
- Use common sense. Imagine how your residence looks to a burglar and make adjustments as they occur to you
- For CW members, notify your neighborhood patrol if you are going out of town so officers can patrol your residence as frequently as possible
- Consider joining Town Creek’s Volunteers In Patrol (VIP) https://dallaspolice.net/communitys/volunteerprogram, or the National Dog-walker Watch and be an extra pair of eyes in the neighborhood. Go to https://natw.org/dog-walker-watch/
- Be vigilant. If you suspect suspicious activity around your home, your neighbors’ homes, or in the neighborhood, report it to 911. And remember, if our CW officer is on patrol, he or she may be available to immediately check it out right after you make the call.
What about a gun for home protection?
It’s a subject not often discussed. If you are a gun owner, do you worry about needing to use the gun under threat? I hope you agree that the fact you have it requires you and other adults in your home to be well-prepared to shoot in self-defense. And that each of you be trained in gun safety and be a practiced shooter. To research and understand current Texas law on home defense is a good idea. See Texas Penal Code 9.31-33 at https://statelaws.findlaw.com/texas-law/texas-self-defense-laws.html
CAUTION: You will want to have a genuine comfort level with the reality of one day needing to shoot if you cannot run or hide. Shooting another person is, after all, a last resort. For gun owners and family members in our neighborhood, I encourage everyone to review all aspects of responsible gun ownership.
For you who do not consider a personal defense weapon as part of your emergency preparedness plan, please consider the importance of having a place in your home to safely hide or a rehearsed family plan to flee.
“Preparedness tips for household emergencies and neighborhood disasters” is submitted to the Town Creek Newsletter by HOA member, Jess Wade. Now retired, Jess served for 10 years as Coordinator for the Dallas County Medical Reserve Corps, Public Health Preparedness and Bioterrorism Division of the Dallas County Department of Health & Human Services.