Police remind residents that safety begins at home
The season of making lists and checking them twice is here, both for shoppers with good intentions and for criminals with bad intentions, says Police Lt. Adana Barber.
“This is a time of year when we start thinking of others,” she said. “At the same time, there are those who are thinking of taking from others.” Recent incidents of robberies and home invasions in other parts of the Dallas area have police departments like Murphy’s on high alert, warning residents of the dangers associated with lax personal protection strategies.
“Unfortunately, we live in a time when some people think nothing of barging into a home with the intent of committing a burglary, even when the occupants are home,” she said. “There are few things more terrifying than a home invasion.”
To counter the possibility of falling victim to a frightening and potentially dangerous invasion, police advise residents to make sure all entrances to homes, including the garage, are securely closed and locked, even when home.
“Gone are the days of feeling so secure within your home, that the doors remain unlocked,” she said. “It may never happen, but being prepared and wary will pay off.” Additionally, installing secondary locks on windows and doors, such as chains and dead bolts, can offer additional security from an unexpected entry.
“And, of course, it’s never a good idea to place gift-wrapped presents in full view from the exterior,” she added. “Holiday lights also offer a measure of safety, allowing residents to see their yards and their neighbors’ yards better.”
Opening doors at any hour to strangers is highly discouraged. “If you can determine their business without opening your door, do so,” she said. “If there is an emergency, whether real or not, offer to call 9-1-1 for them without letting them in. That will often be enough to get them to move along.” Even so, a call to the police department’s non-emergency number to report suspicious activity would be a prudent step to take.
When leaving home for an extended period, residents are urged to have someone watch the home. Placing a hold on newspaper and mail delivery and signing up for a vacation watch with the police department can ensure peace of mind while traveling.
“The Christmas season is everyone’s favorite time of the year,” she said. “Taking a few common sense precautions can make it a safe and pleasant experience.”
To place a vacation watch on a home, please visit http://murphytx.org/304/House-Watch-Form. The non-emergency phone number for the Murphy Police Department is 972-468-4200.