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Ways our KCPD security patrol is making the neighborhood safer

i Sep 8th No Comments by

Due to the increase of suspicious activity in our area in late August, our KCPD security patrol added a few extra shifts to offer more coverage.

The security patrol has also begun a month-long traffic enforcement effort several times a week at different locations where we have complaints. During the first day, the officer stopped seven cars and issued 10 tickets and one warning.

Also during August, a KCPD security patrol officer observed the back door ajar on a house where the resident had requested our vacation house watch service. Two officers checked the house to make sure everything was normal. Upon being contacted afterwards by the security patrol, here’s what the homeowner had to say:

“Thank you! The alarm company called me because the alarm went off when the door was opened. After the door was closed, I remotely locked it and re-secured the alarm system. I appreciate the heads up!”

The WPHA can provide paid security while you’re away from home

i Aug 9th No Comments by

Guest post by WPHA resident Jim Anderson

The picture above from our Ring camera shows the police checking on our house while we were out of town. I always request the Ward Parkway Homes Association’s vacation house watch service every time we are gone more than just a couple days.

You can get access to this protection by becoming a member of our homes association and supporting the KCPD security patrol service. It is a wonderful thing to know your home is being watched by the “good guys.”

When I am home working in my office, I frequently look out the window and see marked or unmarked police cruisers going down our street. Our neighborhood takes security seriously enough to pay for off-duty officers to spend hours each week patroling our streets to watch for patterns and deter property crimes. A regular police presence sends would-be criminals elsewhere to prey on easier targets. I love seeing officers in our neighborhood. And I value the benefit of having them monitor my home for suspicious activity when I’m away.

The concern I have is that there are not enough paying neighbors to continue our security patrol service. I would hate for the WPHA to lose out to other neighborhoods who are on the waiting list for a security patrol service. Please review the information consider joining. Our KCPD security patrol is covered through the end of the year and can continue if we get enough paying members.

If you are a already a WPHA member, thank you so much. If you are a member but have not not opted to support the security patrol in the past, please join me and others in helping to keep our homes safe and protected.

The WPHA’s security patrol service ensures that we have a regular police presence than the understaffed Kansas City Police Department can otherwise provide in such a large city. This service, when combined with personal security cameras and watchful neighbors, helps keep property crimes in our neighborhood among the lowest in the city. And that’s the way we want to keep it!

Ring camera screenshot of police officer on front porch

 

 

Volunteer for upcoming events and activities

i May 10th No Comments by

The WPHA seeks volunteers to help with upcoming events and committee activities. Can you offer some of your time or talent? (This is a great opportunity for high-school-aged neighbors to earn community service hours.)

Harvesters Food Drive

Volunteers needed to help assemble and deliver donation bags with instructions to each house in the neighborhood during the weekend of June 1. Volunteers also needed to collect and sort food donations and deliver them to Harvesters on Saturday, June 8.

4th of July Picnic

This lunchtime event takes place on Thursday, July 4. We need 10 volunteers. No prior volunteer experience is needed. Volunteers should be able to lift 10 pounds, stand for 60-minute intervals, and present a positive energy. Volunteers will be asked to come to the event 1 hour before it starts, work periodically during the picnic, and stay about 1 hour after it ends. Volunteers will be able to eat during the picnic. High school students are encouraged to volunteer.

Membership Committee

Volunteers needed for WPHA’s Spring Membership Drive, Thirsty Thursdays, and Fall Neighborhood Night Out. No prior volunteer experience is needed. Volunteers should be able to walk the neighborhood for 30–60-minute intervals, stand for 60 minute intervals, and present a positive energy. High school students are encouraged to volunteer for Membership Drive. Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older for Thirsty Thursday and Neighborhood Night Out.

Security Committee

Volunteers needed to join the committee as regular members. No prior volunteer experience is needed. Committee volunteers may be asked to communicate with local law enforcement agencies and/or local city officials and represent the WPHA at other crime/safety groups. Committee volunteers may be asked to summarize reports and work with basic computer programs.

Contact the WPHA to raise your hand. We’ll reply to your email within 72 business hours. Please identify the opportunity for which you would like to volunteer.

12 tips to deter package theft

i Feb 5th No Comments by

 

packages stacke on front porchIt’s so convenient to buy goods online and have them delivered to our homes. The downside is that it’s also easy for thieves to make off with those unattended packages. Here are some tried and true methods — plus some new ones — you may want to consider to keep your packages out of the hands of porch pirates.

  1. Have packages delivered to your place of employment or the address of neighbor or family member whom you know is home.
  2. Ask retailers to get a signature upon delivery rather than drop it off when no one is there.
  3. Sign up for alerts. Some carriers offer text or email alerts so you know when a delivery will be made and can adjust your schedule accordingly.
  4. Many retailers offer in-store package pickup with no shipping fees.
  5. Install cameras to allow you to see who is coming and going from your property or speak directly with the delivery person via a video doorbell.
  6. Informed Mail Delivery from USPS allows you to digitally preview images of your mail and its location without entering tracking numbers. That way you can be sure to be at home if something important is arriving.
  7. Using the UPS My Choice tool, or Delivery Manager from FedEx, you can receive delivery alerts, instruct drivers to leave a package at a back door, with a building superintendent, in a coded lockbox, or with neighbors.
  8. UPS will redirect your package to a different location for a fee.
    UPS offers free Access Point locations where you can pick up your packages.
  9. Have FedEx deliver your packages to the nearest Walgreens (like 75th Street and Wornall Road) and pick them up there or at a FedEx store at no charge.
  10. Instead of having deliveries left unsecured at your front door, have them delivered to a lockbox on your property. Landport and BoxLock, for example, make lockboxes that can be opened using an access code you give to the delivery person.
  11. Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks that allow you to pick up your package at a time that’s convenient for you. The nearest one is at the Whole Food Market in Brookside.
  12. Amazon Key In-Car delivery is available to Prime members with select 2015 vehicles and newer models. You can authorize delivery of certain items to your car trunk for free, if the car is located in an area easily accessible to the delivery driver.

More secure package delivery options are being developed all the time. Please share with us what has worked well for you.

While the lights were off, the generosity of neighbors shone brightly

i Jan 22nd No Comments by

thermometer sticking out of snowGuest post by WPHA resident Linetta Thurman

Like many of you in the WPHA, we lost power in January following a major winter storm. It wasn’t long before several neighbors across the street who still had power offered us coffee to warm up, their Wi-Fi and TV to catch up, and their couches to rest up — even for the night! Within minutes of our power coming on, those same neighbors notified the residents on our block of the good news so those who were away could return home. Your care and generosity was appreciated. I love this neighborhood!

Neighbors were not the only ones looking out for us during the snow storm. Our neighborhood security patrol (of retired and off-duty KCPD officers) knew about power outages in the area, and they patrolled our streets more frequently and reassigned shifts so that those of us without power wouldn’t become victims of crime. This is just one more reason why I support and fund our neighborhood security patrol. I encourage you to do the same.

Piece of mind for $5 a month

i Dec 6th No Comments by

Guest post by WPHA resident B. Michael McFarland

B. Michael McFarland photo

B. Michael McFarland

When we moved into the neighborhood, we joined the Ward Parkway Homes Association (WPHA) but did not subscribe to the security patrol service because we didn’t understand what it was for. We never seemed to see the patrol.

Then two things happened.

First: a neighbor got a dog and started walking that dog at night, after 10 p.m., and reported seeing patrol several times at night. We weren’t seeing patrol because we are not outside walking the neighborhood after 10 p.m., but my neighbor said he felt much safer seeing those patrols.

Second: We attended one of the monthly WPHA Board of Directors meetings. A sergeant from the Kansas City Police Department attended to deliver a report, and I learned that no resident that paid for the security patrol and requested a vacation house check this year has had their home broken into while they were away. Not only that, but a crime report the sergeant brought showed that the WPHA is actually one of the safest neighborhoods in the area. We learned how often the security patrol happens, and that it is deliberately scheduled at various times throughout the day and night based on what’s happening in the area.

It used to be that the WPHA security patrol officers often traveled in unmarked cars to be less conspicuous. Under the new sergeant’s watch, all the off-duty officers use marked KCPD vehicles and have a more visible presence.

Now we know why felt like we never seemed to see patrol officers in the neighborhood. They were unmarked. They patrolled at constantly changing times of day. And they were frequently present while we were inside instead of outside our house.

The WPHA’s security patrol service costs $60 a year. That breaks down to $5 per month. I spend more than that on one drink at Starbucks.

I encourage any of you who don’t participate in security patrol to do so. For the price of one Frappuccino a month, you can have greater peace of mind that your property will be safe when you leave town. And the security patrol’s property crime deterrence has a positive impact on the whole neighborhood.

Protect yourself against thefts from autos

i Oct 7th No Comments by

According to the Kansas City Police Department, thefts from autos are on the rise in the area. We all know that auto burglaries are crimes of opportunity. They are typically committed when the perpetrator sees that he/she has the chance to commit the act at that moment and seizes it.

KCPD Community Interaction Officer Mikki Cassidy recently shared the following tips on Nextdoor about how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

  • If you have a garage, use it.
  • Whenever possible, park in the driveway, preferably under bright LED motion lights.
  • Lock all doors and roll up all windows, even if you are home or out working in the yard.
  • Don’t leave your garage door opener on the dashboard or the visor. Lock it in your glovebox, hide it, or take it with you.
  • Never leave valuables in your car. Make sure all personal items are stored out of sight, or in a locked console or locked glovebox.
  • When transporting valuables, place them in the trunk before you get to the location where you intend to park. Don’t transfer them at the parking place in open view of other people.
  • Remember: briefcases, sunglasses, clothing, keys, gym bags, even loose change are all tempting to a thief. Especially loose change.
  • Keep your driver’s license and vehicle registration with you and out of the vehicle. Left with the car, the documents can be used by a thief to impersonate you when transferring the car’s ownership.
  • Never leave guns in vehicles overnight. Take them inside. If you are out and about and cannot take the gun into a business, lock it in the trunk, glovebox or center console.
  • We have also had issues with tow trucks stealing vehicles by simply towing them away. Park with the front wheels turned sharply to the right or left, making it difficult for the professional thief to tow your car away backwards, as the tires are locked at an angle. With front wheel drive cars: when you park, pull on the emergency brake and place your vehicle in Park. If you have a stick shift, pull the emergency brake and shift into forward or reverse gear. All four wheels will be locked, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.
  • Install a car alarm or OnStar with a vehicle GPS tracking device so the vehicle location can be tracked, or with OnStar, the vehicle can be shut down if stolen.
  • Share your experiences with your neighbors on social media after notifying police, so they too can be on the lookout. If you see any suspicious people or vehicles in your area, call police and share details with your neighbors. This is community policing in action.
  • Be a good neighbor. If you are heading in late and your neighbor’s car is not secure, with the windows down, call or text them a reminder. Or simply secure it for them. Get to know your neighbors and find what would be preferable. Understand this, if you notice an unsecure car, a thief surely will too. Look out for one another and stay safe!
  • Please call 816-234-5111 to report your crime.

Ways to secure your home for the holidays

i Nov 12th No Comments by

This holiday season, don’t let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars and thieves a better chance to do their dirty work. Here are some ways to protect your home and keep it secure during the holidays.

  1. If you are heading out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone’s home. Leaving town for longer? Set a timer for indoor lights. WPHA members who support the neighborhood’s security patrol service can have their home monitored for free while on vacation.
  2. Install outdoor motion detector lights that are triggered any time someone approaches your home at night.
  3. It’s not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there’s no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren’t satisfied, don’t give.
  4. Prevent holiday package theft. Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred. If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up packages as soon as they are delivered. Switch delivery location to your work address where packages can be received by someone and not left on the porch.
  5. Always lock your vehicle and store all valuable items out of sight. Anything left in plain view — holiday gifts, purses or briefcases, cell phones, cash — could tempt a thief to break into your car.
  6. Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside. Keep your curtains or blinds closed at night or position your Christmas tree so it’s not easily seen from the street. You may also simply want to wait until Christmas Eve before you place presents under the tree.
  7. Be discreet when disposing of packages. One of the easiest ways for thieves to tell if there’s a wealth of valuables is from leftover packing in your trash or recycling sitting on the curb. Break the packaging down and conceal it as much as possible until trash pickup.
  8. The holidays are a good time to update — or create — your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.

Sources:

Winter Holiday Safety Tips (Metropolitan Police Department)

Security for the Holidays: Keeping Your Home Safe from Christmas Burglars (SafeWise.com)

WPHA members who support security patrol can have home watched while on vacation

i Jun 5th No Comments by

Heading out of town for the weekend — or longer? Ward Parkway Homes Association members who have paid for the optional private security patrol service during the current fiscal year can rest easy. You have access to a valuable vacation security service benefit. Our patrol service will check on your home while you’re gone and notify you if they observe any suspicious activity.

The Ward Parkway Homes Association’s security patrol service costs $60 per year per house. It pays for off-duty Kansas City police officers to patrol streets during the week, which helps our entire neighborhood maintain some of the lowest crime rates in the city. Plus, it provides peace of mind that someone is looking out for your property in your absence.

To request a vacation security service for an upcoming trip, fill out the online form and submit it. Remember to request the vacation patrol service at least 72 hours before leaving town so we have time to check the neighborhood roster and notify the security team.

Happy traveling!

Ways to prevent property crime this summer

i Jun 5th No Comments by

Theft is a crime of opportunity. During the summer months, would-be thieves are on the lookout for items that can be easily taken in moments. Unlocked doors, open windows and open garage doors all provide a temptation to steal valuables — bikes, tools, packages, cell phones, purses — left in plain view. Blooming trees and overgrown shrubs can provide would-be burglars with places to hide.

Some home safety tips to consider:

  1. Install lighting, such as motion lights or dusk-to-dawn detector lights, on your home’s exterior.
  2. Trim shrubbery around your home to eliminate hiding places.
  3. Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street for emergency and identification purposes.
  4. Close and lock your garage door when you are not nearby. Place valuables stored in the garage in a locking device not visible from the street when the garage door is open.
  5. Do not leave bikes unattended. Lock your bikes, even if you are going to be away for only a few moments.
  6. If you sleep on the second floor of your home, keep all first floor doors and windows closed and locked.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings and those around you when you walk, jog or bike.
  8. Stop all deliveries of mail and newspapers when out of town on vacation.
  9. Don’t discuss your vacation plans (at the gym, grocery story, etc.). You never know who might be listening to your conversation.
  10. Use timers to light your home inside and outside, especially when you are away.
  11. Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up flyers or other publications that might be left while you are away.
  12. Don’t make it easy for a burglar to make you a victim!

Tips are courtesy of the San Leandro Police Department, San Leandro, California.