At the meeting, guest speakers Jason Stefaniak, Ass’t Police Chief, Mishawaka Police Department, and Jason Koski, Detective, St. Joseph County Police, who oversees the Neighborhood Watch programs, shared information with Board members and residents to help keep us safe and aware and answered our many questions. Here are some takeaways from their presentation that will help us keep our property and our lives safer:
- Turn your lights on. Don’t have a dark home inside or out. They feel that this is one of the most important deterrents to crime.
- Lock your doors—car, house including your storm door, and your shed. Close garage doors.
- Do not leave valuables in your cars and regularly check to be sure the doors are locked.
- Remember that you have garage door openers in your car and if your doors are unlocked, anyone gaining access to your car, also gains access to your home.
- If you must have glass in your front door, have it on the opposite side of the handle.
- Get to know your neighbors. We are an important component in fighting crime. Report what you see!
- Trim your bushes or other landscape materials or even remove them if they would allow someone to hide behind them.
- When going on vacation, notify a Board member or a trusted neighbor to let them know that you will be gone and ask that they keep watch over your home and pick up any packages that you may receive.
- Dogs can be a deterrent.
- Security cameras are helpful. Position them on the peak so that there is good coverage and not just focused down on your driveway.
- "Ring" doorbells are recommended.
- Document what you have in your house so that if your home is broken into and items stolen, you will have some idea of what was taken.
The biggest takeaway was CALL 911. We were assured we would never be bothering them by making that call and if we see something suspicious or feel unsafe or see a crime being committed—PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL 911.
As soon as high school is out for the summer, incidents of crime rise. Today, windows are not being smashed to gain access to cars, door handles are checked—more a crime of opportunity. And, more crimes happen during the day rather than at night.
We appreciate Chief Stefaniak and Detective Koski for taking the time to speak with us and provide this invaluable information. Let’s do what they say!