Police give some basic advice on protecting your property

Protecting your home and automobile from burglaries takes constant vigilance and a large dose of precautions, especially as summer vacation time approaches. That advice came from Miami-Dade Police Officer Javier Aluart during a May 14 Crime Watch meeting in The Falls area.

His remarks were emphasized when a post-Memorial Day report listed two cars with rims and tires stolen from a SW 84th Avenue address on May 26 at 3:30 a.m.

His basic advice on property protections:
• Before absence, alert your district police station to place a “watch” order on your home; ask a neighbor to collect mail and newspaper (or order temporary holds); alert neighbors to be “nosy” about anything unusual.
• Don’t hide valuables in bedrooms, bathrooms, or closets; choose the kitchen or living room, less likely to be accessed by quick back door home entries.
• Thieves casing neighborhoods look for patterns — switch regular driveway car parking to increase their suspicion that someone is at home.
• Cut shrubbery to fence height; neighbors may see someone you can’t.
• Vehicle burglaries (usually at night) mean locking all doors with nothing (loose change, sunglasses) left in sight.
• Keep car registration in a purse or wallet, not in the glove compartment.
• Install locks on wheel covers to hinder tire theft; to increase difficulty, double the lock sets with different keys.
• Illuminate front and backyards with exterior flood lights, pointed to driveways. Other precautions and anti-theft suggestions:
• Never open doors to unknown persons. Don’t be fooled by well-dressed people who “look like they belong” in your neighborhood.
• Buy a $5 digital camera memory card to take pictures inside and outside your home, including vehicles from all angles.
• For each property item of high value, record description and serial number. (Do not expect to get something back if you can’t prove it is yours.)
• Consider purchase of a hand engraver to initial items for police identification.
• Ride along some night in a squad car to observe how police protect neighborhoods, and what they look for (to inquire, call 305-279-6969).
• Log onto crimemapping.com; click “Crime Incident Mapping” and type home address to sign up for crime alerts.

For a free home security survey by a MDPD officer, call 305-270-3531. The survey takes about 45 minutes for an inside/outside inspection to review property safeguards.
Other preventative measures include joining or organizing a Crime Watch group in your neighborhood, dividing it into block-by-block grids to create a telephone network of nearby residents who monitor next-door homes. For details, contact Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami- Dade County, 1515 NW 79 Ave.; call 305- 470-1670 or visit www.citizenscrimewatch.com.

Lastly, consider enrollment in the Citizen’s Police Academy, a 14-week evening program for citizens who want to experience policing up close and understand procedures. The CPA is held at the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Headquarters Building, 9105 NW 25 St. in Doral, one night each week from 6:30 to 10 p.m. For information, visit mdpd.com or call 305-279-6929.

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