Neighborhood Watch/Neighborhood Watch Patrol
Neighborhood Watch is neighbors being aware of the normal routines of their neighbors and street, observing anything that seems suspicious, noting details and reporting to the police department. Neighborhoods participating display signage stating that one is entering a Neighborhood Watch area. This program should be registered with the police department. One of the best resources neighbors have is getting to know their neighbors. The Know 5 Neighbors program is one of the best ways to do this. You take five cards, fill in your contact information and give them to the two neighbors on each side of you and the three across from you. If everyone does this, it provides an interconnected neighborhood with neighbors knowing how to contact each other and emergency contacts. A resource officer can arrange to come to our neighborhood to give a short training class.
Neighborhood Watch Patrol is a scheduled drive through the neighborhood for about 30 minutes by two volunteers in a vehicle equipped with a flashing amber light, signage on the vehicle, and a spotlight. Volunteers should have their cell phone, a cell phone charger with them as well. The HOA will provide amber light, spotlight, magnetic signs, log book, binoculars and case to store equipment. Volunteers will be donating use of their vehicle and gas and are to maintain safe driving standards while on Patrol. Volunteers are NOT to carry weapons of any sort and are NOT to confront anyone who seems suspicious. They are to observe, note details and report to the police department. La Sonata HOA will not be held liable if Volunteers violate any part of the weapons, confrontation or safe driving protocols noted here. Volunteers for this program should clear a background check done by the Patrol Coordinator in the public records system. Volunteers must attend a 1 hour training offered by the Oklahoma City Police Department. Dates will be listed on the HOA Website calendar. This program should be registered with the police department. This program should have a majority approval from a poll put up on social media- no quorum, just a majority affirmative from those that respond to the poll.*** NOTE: This poll is separate from voting as an Owner, this is ONLY to see how many residents- owner or tenant- are in favor of setting up a Neighborhood Watch Patrol.*** It is suggested that once per year HOA holds a celebratory meal for only the volunteers to thank them for their time and service (invite MSgt. Skalla!).
Tips To Make Your Home Safer:
Lighting: Bright lighting around your home will make it less vulnerable to thieves. White LED lighting is recommended because it shows the true colors of clothing, features, etc. Make sure your lights are on at night!
Storm Doors: These provide another barrier between you and someone trying to break in. Theives like easy, make it as difficult as possible.
Signs and outside displays: A sign from an alarm monitoring company, visible security cameras- working/monitored or not- Beware of Dog signs all of these things give an appearance that your home is guarded, monitored and not a soft target! Put a lock on your gate- even if you do not use it a quick glance gives the appearance that they cannot just walk in and climbing the fence is work! Many of our homes came with security systems, often these will still work to make noise even if they are not monitored. Try yours and test it, if it works, then use it! Not having it monitored usually just means that emergency vehicles will not automatically be dispatched. If you do have a monitored system, be sure to get your yearly Alarm Permit from the City- it is $17.00 per year. Park in your garage, or if you cannot, LOCK YOUR CAR! Do not leave valuables in the car or visible.
Do Not Live In Fear!: Don't panic! Take a breath, identify what disturbed you, identify where it is coming from. Call 911! Do not worry that it might not be anything, because it might be SOMETHING! Their job is to check out anything suspicious or that generates fear.
Request a Police Report: Any time you make a call and an officer comes out, ask for their NAME and BADGE NUMBER and for an INCIDENT REPORT NUMBER. If they do not find anything, they will often just note a disposition in the log, but not make an actual report. This will not generate increased patrols in our area.
Have a Plan: Grab your phone and, if you choose, your weapon. Identify a room as far from the point of entry as possible, get yourself and your family members in that room, barricade the door- remember, make it as difficult as possible! Call 911, report as much detail as possible. Yell out to those breaking in, get loud! Your goal is to report to police to get them dispatched and stay safe until they arrive. IF you have no other options, DEFEND yourself and your family with all your might. Yell, poke eyes, kick knees, knee to the groin, anything to get them on the ground to immobilize them. Getting them on the ground gives you the upper hand. Weapons are not advocated, but if you have one and have no choice, use it to defend yourself. The average Emergency response time is approximately 7 minutes, so if you are in immediate danger, do not hesitate!
Tips for Creating a Safer Neighborhood
Know Your Neighbors: Get to know your neighbors! You are each other's best resource! Watching out of your neighbor while they are watching out of you is often one of the first indicators that something is not right. We are usually inside our house, or at work, or activities. Your neighbors may see things that you do not.
Attend HOA Events: Attending HOA events is an excellent opportunity to get to know others in the neighborhood and will allow the neighborhood to connect so that information can be shared. At these events you can get to know the Board of Directors members, become familiar with Neighbors that are part of the Neighborhood Watch Patrol and make new friends while having fun!
Join a Neighborhood Group: La Sonata has a Facebook Group and a Nextdoor app group. Information is frequently shared in these groups.
Lighting: Report any streetlights that are out. Reports can be made by phone, by email or through the website at www.okc.gov/residents/action-center . There is also an app you can download.See Something, Say Something: Report suspicious activity. Report it to the police and to the neighborhood groups. Take the time to note details. Details can be important, especially if someone behaving suspiciously leaves the area before the police arrives.