Crime Prevention Tips
Rule #1
If you are a victim of any crime, call 911 immediately and report it!
The following tips to help prevent a home burglary were taken from various sources.  If you follow these proactive tips, you should lower the likelihood that you will be a victim of a home burglar.
**Call 911 if you see anyone suspicious in our neighborhood**
1.  Make your home look occupied  
2.  Make your home difficult to break in
3.  Purchase and arm a burglar alarm system.  Arm the alarm system, day and night.  If an alarm is sounding, most burglars know that they have 3-5 minutes to get out of the home before police arrive.  Don’t give them an opportunity to stay longer.  More importantly don’t give a burglar an opportunity to still be in your home when you return.
4.  Have adequate exterior lighting.  A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards and other vulnerable areas.
5.  Keep gates locked at all times.  Use a heavy-duty lock and don’t give out the combination.  Make sure all gate hinges are on the inside.  The vast majority of Bent Tree West home burglaries have occurred when the burglar accessed the back yard through a gate or jumped the fence.  Once in the backyard, the burglar kicked in a back door or broke a window.
6.  Make sure your trees and shrubs do not provide cover for potential burglars.
7.  Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed.  Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
8.  Leave Lights on when you go out.  If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
9.  Keep your garage door closed and locked.  There has been a number of garage burglaries in Bent Tree West.  Criminals cruise alleys looking for open garage doors. To a criminal an open garage door is an invitation to steal.  We have even had residents burglared while their garage door was open and they were in the front yard mowing their lawn.  
10.  Don’t allow the delivery of mail, newspapers, or flyers while you are away.  Make sure you tell a neighbor to keep an eye on your house by picking up mail, checking for flyers and newspapers, etc., if you are away.  Newspapers on the front lawn, mail in the mailbox or flyers on the door will often tell a burglar that you are not home.   Some burglars case the neighborhood at night.  Burglars look for items such as these to tell them that the residents are away.
11.  Ensure your garbage bins are returned to their normal storage place after trash pick-up.  Burglars look for anything out of the ordinary. If you normally return your trash bins after pick-up and they are still there Friday night or Saturday morning, a burglar may think you are away.
12.  Arrange for your lawn to be mowed while away.  As mentioned, Burglars case neighborhoods and look for something out of the ordinary. 
13.  Check your locks, doors and windows.  Replace less secure door and window locks with more security friendly locks and longer screws to make it more difficult for a burglar to break-in your home.  Check with a hardware store to find out what is the best options to make your doors and windows more secure.
14.  Change your locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
15.  When moving into a new home, always change your locks.  You never know who the previous owner allowed to have keys.
Added Security for those that want to make the investment.
Purchase video surveillance cameras.  For added security, you can always purchase video surveillance cameras.  Many burglars recognize certain camera systems and know that their image can be easily shared on social media platforms.  Additionally, video images of a burglar or burglar’s vehicle indicating that the burglar was at the scene of a crime is normally what the police need to make an arrest and secure a conviction.

The following tips to help prevent a car burglary or theft were taken from various sources.  If you follow these proactive tips, you should lower the likelihood that your vehicle will be burglarized or stolen.  
1.  Garage vehicles.  If you can, keep your vehicles garaged.  Typically, garaged vehicles are not burglarized or stolen.  
2.  Lock your vehicle, even in your garage.  The Bent Tree West HOA security cameras have caught automobile burglars walking or driving down streets and alleys checking the door handle of each vehicle as they pass. The burglars accessed and burglarized the vehicles that were left unlocked.  According to the Dallas Police Department, doors were unlocked in the vast majority of Dallas vehicle burglaries.
3.  Ensure everything is out of sight.  Use your trunk.  Hide items under your seat.  More importantly remove items from your vehicle when not in use.  Burglars have been known to burglarize a vehicle for a cell phone cord, loose change, or even an empty box.  A cell phone or laptop cord may make a burglar think there is a larger prize (cell phone or laptop itself).   Burglars do not know that a box is empty.  A burglar may smash your car window or damage your lock to try and burglarize something they perceive as having value.    
4.  Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.  If you have to park a vehicle in the street or in your alleyway, ensure the area is well lit.  Burglars are less likely to burglarize a vehicle in an area that is well lit.  There are no guarantees, but well-lit areas tend to encourage burglars to seek another victim.  
5.  Back your truck or SUV into an object (garage door, fence).  If you can, back your truck or SUV very near to your garage door so that the tailgates cannot be easily accessed.  Many thieves are looking for truck tailgates and third row seats in SUVs.  These items are easy for thieves to sell but difficult or impossible to steal if the truck or SUV is parked very close to an immovable object.
6.  Completely Close windows and sunroofs.  Some burglars know how to unlock a vehicle even with a partially open window or sunroof. 
7.  Tips to Avoid your vehicle from being stolen.  Never keep your key fob in a vehicle parked outside.  It is recommended that you do not keep your garage door opener in a vehicle that is parked outside.  You don’t want burglars using the garage door opener to access your home.  There have been occasions in Bent Tree West where a car burglary turned into a home burglary because the garage door opener was left in a vehicle parked in the alley.
8.  Use physical security.  Some vehicles are broken into with the intent of stealing the vehicle itself.  If you have to park your vehicle outside, recommend purchasing a club, column collars or brake pedal locks as an added precaution.  Be sure you use it.  It is useless if not used.  
As a point of caution, Never store a weapon in your vehicle, locked or unlocked.  DPD has told our Crime Leaders that many criminals, especially young ones, start out as vehicle burglars.  When these burglars find a handgun while burglarizing a vehicle, some decide to rob people at gunpoint.  I don't think you want your handgun used in an armed robbery.