Keep thieves at bay with these safety tips from your Happy Valley Police
Being proactive is key to preventing theft and it takes some planning and consistency to safeguard things like your home, vehicle, and even mail. While Happy Valley is generally a very safe community, it is important to not become complacent. The following are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Package theft: While online shopping is a go-to method of purchasing items these days, residents are encouraged to be mindful of package theft. Be vigilant about tracking packages and bring them inside as soon as possible.
Protecting Your Package Deliveries and Mail
- If you aren’t home for a delivery, consider shipping your package to a location where someone you know will be available to receive it. This might be your house, a neighbor’s house, or your place of employment.
- Track your packages online and request a text or other alert about delivery status.
- INSIDER TIP! Sign up for Informed Delivery via usps.com. With this free service, you can opt in to receive digital previews of any general mail that is scheduled to arrive each day.
- Invest in a doorbell camera or other security camera. These give you a real-time view of your porch, driveway, side door, or any other area on property that you might want to monitor. Many have two-way audio, so you can talk with the delivery person (or thief), even if you are not home. Camera footage could be helpful if a thief targets your home or car, or it could even be helpful to another resident. Perhaps your camera caught a view as the thief passed by your home. You can share your surveillance footage with the Happy Valley Police Department, and we may be able to use it to help identify suspects that have been targeting neighborhoods.
Vacation check: Community Service Officers at the City can help you maximize your safety efforts. The team can provide Vacation Checks if you will be away for an extended period and can even schedule a time to meet you at your home to do a safety audit by request.
If You Are Traveling
- Lock your doors and windows. This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how often thieves take advantage of an entryway that simply was not secured.
- Set your home alarm, if you have one, and make sure your alarm permit is up to date with the City and displayed in a visible location. If your alarm sounds, deputies will respond to the call and having your permit up to date helps ensure we have the right information should we need to get a hold of you.
- Get an automatic timer for your indoor lights. With it completely dark by early evening, this is an easy way to detour thieves by giving the appearance that someone is inside.
- Let your neighbors know you will be gone and make sure they have your contact information. If they are aware of your absence, it is more likely they will notice something amiss and take the next steps to report it.
- Have mail and any deliveries stopped. If items pile up, it is a sure sign you’re not home. Just go to usps.com and create a Hold Mail service request for the duration you will be done.
- INSIDER TIP: Take advantage of the City’s Vacation Check service. Did you know someone from the City’s Code Enforcement team will gladly swing by your property and do a perimeter check? Check out https://www.happyvalleyor.gov/services/code-enforcement/residential-vacation-checks/ for all the details about how to submit a request.
Security camera: Investing in a security camera or home alarm system not only helps you monitor activity around your home but could support police in investigating a theft.
If You Are Out for the Evening
- Turn on some lights and a radio or TV, so it looks (and sounds) like someone is home. If thieves think you are home or at the very least are unsure if the home is empty, they will be more likely to move along to another location.
- Lock doors and windows when you leave, even if it is just for a few minutes.
- Do not display valuables or gifts where they can be seen from outside. Put items away or make sure blinds and window coverings conceal views.
- Wondering if there are things you can do to deter crime when it comes to your home? By request, Happy Valley Community Service Officers can meet you at your home to complete a perimeter safety audit. The Officer will assess general safety and make recommendations on what you can do to boost security.
Garage door opener: Keep vehicles locked and remember to keep garage door openers out of view. If a thief does get a hold of your garage door opener, be sure to disable the opener and reprogram your system.
Protect Your Vehicle
- ALWAYS lock your vehicle. We cannot emphasize this enough. Most car break-ins reported in Happy Valley have been from cars being unlocked. This means all the thief must do is lift the car door handle and then they have complete access to your belongings, including your garage door opener, if you use one. Thieves are much more likely to give up and move on to another car if they cannot open yours within one attempt.
- Do not pin your automatic garage door opener to your sun visor or leave it out in the open. Should a thief get a hold of your garage door opener, disable it from the main keypad and follow your unit’s steps for reprogramming the system.
- Store all items out of sight. Anything left in plain view—from bags to spare change, sunglasses, cell phones or tools – could motivate a break-in or a thief’s willingness to take their efforts to the next level by breaking a window. Make it a habit to unload your items every time you get home from an outing and conceal items if you have more stops BEFORE heading out.
During the holidays
- Thieves know that after the holidays, many households will have new and often desirable items in their homes. Residents make it easy for thieves to figure out which homes to target by putting boxes that identify their new gifts in plain view with their other garbage and recycling. Consider keeping broken-down boxes inside until the evening before or even the morning of your regular garbage pick-up.
Community is key
Of course, even the best safety practices may still lead to an unwanted break in. Be a good neighbor and remain alert as you look out for one another. Getting to know your neighbors is often the best way to help prevent crime and a sense of community in a neighborhood is an invaluable resource to police. Neighbors are much more likely to recognize when something is amiss and suspicious activity will be thwarted faster if neighbors feel confident in approaching one another.