End Victimhood: Be Proactively Defensive

Keeping Crime at Bay: Steps to Take While the Police Department Rebuilds
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Following a brazen assault in March on a pedestrian near Chabot Road and Claremont Avenue, nearby residents mobilized to "make our neighborhood less easy of a target." (The Rockridge News, March 2013, page 4.) Steps taken included revitalizing their Neighborhood Watch program and signing up with nextdoor.com for closer communication. Neighbors also noted what they had learned and added their lessons to existing Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and police department lists of protective steps, developing the following tips for safety and crime avoidance actions.
Get to know your neighbors. Form a Neighborhood Watch group at http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/PSP/index.htm see "Get Involved." Join nextdoor.com to stay connected.
Report every crime! Filing a report online at www.oaklandpolice.com is quick, easy and alerts OPD to trends and problem areas.
Record the serial numbers of your electronics. Store them at www.reportit.leadsonline.com which may enable law enforcement to locate stolen goods at pawn shops and on eBay. At a minimum, write the serial numbers down or snap pix and save the document as a draft in your e-mail box (where you will be able to retrieve it even if your computer is stolen).
Avoid using your cell phone on the street. Expensive electronics are targeted in most street robberies. Activating your phone's tracking device can help OPD locate the thief.
Cross the street if you feel uncomfortable.  Be aware of your surroundings and listen to that voice in your head. Walk in the empty street if the sidewalk or nearby yard is poorly lit.
Avoid walking alone at night. Walk close to others. When leaving BART at night, ask the station agent to call a BART Police officer to accompany you to your car.
Consider a personal keychain siren or pepper spray. Using pepper spray for self-defense is legal in CA. See amazon.com
Make use of your car alarm's panic button. Walk to and from your car with a finger on the button. Keep your keys next to your bed at night and activate your car alarm if you hear trouble around your home.
Never leave anything visible in your car. Thieves can't tell what's valuable until after they've broken in to find out.
Light up dark streets, driveways and yards.  Swap out existing exterior lights with automatic dawn-to-dusk or motion fixtures. See www.amazon.com
Keep doors and windows visible to neighbors.  Regularly trim overgrown shrubs and trees that could provide cover.
Install a simple home alarm with a loud siren. New wireless models are affordable, easy to install and do not require a monthly contact. Exterior sirens alert neighbors who may see the intruder. See www.simplisafe.com.
Install video recording cameras. Most criminals are repeat offenders. Video footage can help OPD identify known criminals These systems are increasingly affordable. See costco.com or rockridgencpc.com
Keep your shades drawn on lower level rooms. Burglars like to know what's inside before they break in. Is there good stuff? A guard dog? Keep them guessing.
Stash your stuff. Many home burglaries happen in a flash. Small valuables such as laptops, ipods, jewelry, cash and credit cards are easy to grab for a thief in a hurry. Hide them before you leave home.
Reinforce glass panes in vulnerable windows and doors. Add clear Remlor film or Lexan inserts which resist multiple blows.
Install exterior security gates, especially over older doors. Burglars commonly kick in old or historic doors whose weak frames can make deadbolts vulnerable. Metal security gates are nearly impossible to kick in and also make it safer to speak to unfamiliar visitors.
Never open your door to someone you don't know. Talk through the door and ask service people to show an ID through the window. Safety matters more than politeness. Report suspicious visitors immediately - it may be a criminal casing your home.
Avoid having packages left at your front door. Post a sign advising UPS to return another day or arrange to have parcels left with a neighbor.
Post a "No Solicitors" sign at your front door. Suspicious visitors will have no excuses for loitering outside your home.
If you see something ...Say something. Report suspicious persons or activities to the OPD non-emergency number at 510/777-3333 from home or 510/777-3211 from your cell (add this number to your call list now).