Is your home secure from crime? Ask a Baltimore County police officer to visit.
The community outreach officers at the Pikesville precinct will do a free residential security survey of a home to point out some dangers you might not notice.
Surveys take an average of 30 minutes.
"We will come out in uniform with a marked police car and talk about security and some of the things that might be lacking on your house," Officer Larry Stallings said during a community meeting Tuesday night.
"It starts when we pull on your street. ... The first things I look at are the street lights, I'm looking at your front yard, I'm looking at your driveway," he told members and guests of the Pikesville Police & Community Relations Council.
For example, some houses may have bushes overgrown so the officer can't see the windows.
During the survey, the officer will make some suggestions, Stallings said. Recommendations could include:
- Looking through a peephole or a window to see who is at the door before opening it.
- Cutting tree limbs at least 8 feet from the ground so that the residence is visible.
- Cutting shrubs to 24 inches or more below windows. Criminals could hide behind larger bushes.
- Using screws that are at least 3-inches long when installing a deadbolt lock.
- Using motion sensors outside if you have floodlights.
- Using timers on lights in your home when you're not there.
- Making sure light timers don't always go on and off at the same time every night. Rather, stagger the times, as well as which lights are timed.
- Locking sheds.
Set up a survey
To schedule a survey of your home, call the precinct's community outreach officers at 410-887-6775.
Stallings said police also can do a residential security presentation for neighborhood associations, citizens on patrol groups and others. To schedule a presentation, call the precinct at that same number, 410-887-6775.
Get vacation help
If you'll be away from your house, call the precinct desk at 410-887-1279, and ask to have a vacant house slip filled out.
The card will include information such as when you will be gone, whether there will be cars in the driveway and who else has access to your house.
Police will drive by your house while you are gone and will have your contact information in case something happens.