From Lt. Jeff Baxter:
 
Hello PBA Neighbors,
 
As we move into the holiday season, soon would be a good time to get out some holiday security tips. I have provided below, a list of tips for you  to share with our residents. 
Your off duty Atlanta Police Officers, who work your neighborhood security patrol, will continue to remain vigilant especially during the holiday season.
Please also remind residents to call 911 and then the security patrol, before taking the time posting on social media etc.  
 
Here are some good Holiday Safety/Security tips: 

Make sure you home looks lived in
• Notify the security patrol if you go out of town so we can keep an eye out for newspapers, packages, flyers, and other things that can pile up to make a home look unoccupied and like a target for burglars.
• Consider stopping your mail with USPS to prevent an overloaded mailbox and/or mail theft.
• Consider lights and/or radio on a timer when away from home so they switch on/off automatically.  A lot of newer wi-fi outlets have the capability of switching on/off intermittently if set properly.
• Holiday lights on the outside of the home can also give the indications that someone is home.  These, too, can be set on a timer.

Christmas Trees
• Presents wrapped under a Christmas tree visible from a front window can help burglars decide whether the house is a worthwhile target.  Consider closing the blinds / curtains if the tree is visible from the front of the house.
Trash at the street
• Be mindful of empty boxes from televisions, computers, game consoles, etc. can indicate what's inside the house after Christmas.
Spare keys
• Don't leave spare keys in traditional, easy to guess places.  Consider leaving a key with a friend/neighbor or invest in a smart lock that can open with code.

Social Media
• Be mindful of what you post on social media - including travel plans.  Consider making your account private and only visible to friends and family.
• A family name on the mailbox or the front of the house makes it easy to identify who lives there.
• Also, remember that all homeowner information is available to the public via free online tax records.  It is easy to punch in a street address, find the owner, and then search for the social media accounts of anyone by that name.  Thieves are smarter than they used to be and many young adults we encounter have grown up with social media.

Storage / Security of valuables
• Consider purchasing a safe for the home or utilize a safe deposit box at the bank to store your most valuable items.  Firearms should be secured in a safe.  There are safes available that offer quick access to firearms - such as bio-metric fingerprint readers that quickly unlock and pop open.
Consider a home security system
• A monitored alarm will sound an audible alert and the alarm company can dispatch the police if the alarm is activated.  The audible alert may be enough to cause a would-be burglar to flee if it sounds.
• There are several affordable wi-fi enabled camera systems that are easy to self-install and monitor from your smart phone no matter where you are.  An example is the Ring doorbell.  We have had some really good images of burglars and package thieves from Ring doorbells  in Atlanta.  The video is stored in the cloud so it can be retrieved even if the doorbell/camera is damaged or stolen.  You can also be notified any time someone approaches your front door.

Fortify your home
• Consider installing:
 Solid core / heavier doors
 Heavy duty locks
 Longer screws in strike plates that screw all the way into the frame.


Protect Your Vehicle
• Loading up on gifts is a sign of progress in the holiday shopping. But if those packages are left out in the open after they're in the car, your car has become a likely target for thieves. Remember the old cliché "Out of sight, out of mind?" The same idea applies to items in your car.
• Always lock your vehicle and store all items out of sight. Breaking into an empty car isn't worth a thief's time. However, anything left in plain view—from your holiday gifts to spare change, sunglasses, CDs, cell phones or briefcases—may tempt a thief.
* Do not leave a gun/firearm inside your parked vehicle.
• Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your car and using anti-theft devices. And although it's cold, never leave your vehicle running while you run inside your home or a store—even if for only a minute or two.
• Do not leave a spare key or key fob in your vehicle.


Prevent Package Thefts
• Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred. You can sign up for email notifications to track your packages from initial shipment to its   arrival at your home, or the recipient’s address if you have the gift delivered directly.
•   If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up the packages as soon as they are delivered.
• Switch delivery location to work where it can be received by someone and not left on the porch.
• See if the post office or store the product is being shipped from can hold the package for pick up.
• The post office will allow your package to remain safe and secure for up to 30 days.
• Here is a good article to share as it relates to package thefts:  https://www.cnet.com/how-to/ways-to-keep-packages-from-getting-stolen-off-your-porch/

 
We are looking forward to, and will work towards, a safe and successful holiday season. We appreciate your support of the off duty Police Officers who patrol your neighborhood each day.

 
Thank you,
Lieutenant Jeff Baxter