February 2014

Ways our KCPD security patrol is making the neighborhood safer

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

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



Going on vacation? Don’t make these common home security mistakes

When leaving for a summer vacation, protecting your home is just as important as protecting the items you bring with you. Be sure to take the necessary steps to give you peace of mind while you’re away. Here are some frequent mistakes to avoid.

Hiding a spare key outside the home

Homeowners often hide spare keys around their houses, whether inside a fake rock, in a nearby plant or under the welcome mat. Because this is so commonplace, most burglars can easily find the hidden key, which makes breaking into your home quite simple. Instead, opt to keep a house key in a safer place, such as with a trusted neighbor, family member or friend.

Announcing your vacation on social media

It’s well known that you shouldn’t advertise vacations online (or anywhere, for that matter) before taking off on your trip. Don’t even post social media status updates while still on vacation. But maybe even more important is double-checking your social media accounts to make sure your address is not readily available to anyone seeking it. Delete past posts, party invites or events that may include your phone number as well. It’s easy to do a quick Google search and link a phone number to an address.

Not keeping up with your normal outside maintenance or routine

If you typically park your car in your driveway when you’re home, ask your neighbor if he/she would mind parking their car in your driveway while you’re away. This will give the appearance that someone is home. Keep up on regular home maintenance. Do you normally have a gardener maintain your lawn and landscaping? Weekly visits from the pool guy? Keep these schedules. If you do your own lawn work, hire it out or recruit family or friends to help while you’re gone.

Have a neighbor retrieve your recycling bin on trash day. If any potential thief is staking out houses, they’ll notice if something is off.

Letting mail, newspapers or packages pile up

One easy way to tell if someone isn’t home is to just notice the pile of newspapers on the front lawn or the overflow of mail pouring from the mailbox. Suspending your mail service or having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail is a great way to deter thieves.

Forgetting to lock windows and doors before you leave

As simple as this sounds, sometimes people forget to double check that every door and window in their home is locked and secure before they head out on a trip. About 30-35% of all home break-ins in the U.S. take place through an open door or window.

Keeping your house in the dark

Installing outdoor light with sensors or motion activation is always recommended for general home security. While you are away, using timers or other smart home lighting systems on interior lamps/lights will give the impression that someone is home and could deter unwanted guests.


Did you know?

The WPHA private security patrol comprised of retired and off-duty KCPD officers will check your house, doors, locks, windows and yard while you are on vacation and contact you if anything looks suspicious. Peace of mind while on vacation is priceless! Make sure you support this add-on service to get access to the vacation patrol benefit.

Volunteer for upcoming events and activities

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


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

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

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

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.

Renew your WPHA membership for 2017-18

The Ward Parkway Homes Association is a wonderful neighborhood filled with neighbors who watch out for each other and value working together to keep our neighborhood beautiful, safe and welcoming. We invite you to renew your annual membership in the association by Oct. 1, 2017 — or join for the first time if you are not currently a member. You can send a check by mail or pay online.

The budget for operating your association for a year is approximately $26,000. This includes beautification and maintenance of common areas, social events for all ages, representation at local community meetings, website and other communication methods, welcome kits for new neighbors and our private security patrol.

Our security patrol service was set up several years ago because residents wanted more of a public safety presence in the neighborhood. Not only do off-duty and former officers patrol our streets for up to 36 hours per week, but if you’ve paid for the service, they will also provide vacation house checks when you are out of town. The patrol service is primarily responsible for deterring and responding to property crimes such as theft, burglary, robbery and vandalism.

The security patrol service costs $60 per year for residents — or 16 cents a day. We encourage you to share the responsibility for providing this safety benefit to our neighborhood and help us continue to maintain some of the lowest crime rates in the city. To request a vacation security service check, fill out this form.

As technology advances, our communication tools have changed. Besides our website and Facebook page, this fall we are debuting a new email newsletter. We realize that some residents prefer a traditional print newsletter or opt out of using computers. But producing and mailing a quarterly print version is more expensive than an e-newsletter, which we can send to residents more frequently. Unlike the Nextdoor social media platform, this e-newsletter will contain only information related to our neighborhood.

The Ward Parkway Homes Association has maintained the same membership dues for more than eight years, and we strive to keep dues reasonable for everyone to afford. In order to continue to cover rising expenses for our security patrol and other activities, membership dues will increase this year to $50 per home. Our general dues have covered a deficit in the security patrol the past two years so we can offer competitive rates to retain high-quality off-duty officers. Security patrol dues will continue to be $60 per year. This will help us continue to balance our budget and have funds for all association needs. In response to your requests for an online dues-payment option, last year we began offering online payment via PayPal.

The WPHA Board of Directors and committees are made up of volunteer residents. A core group help us with activities, events, and representation at city meetings such as the Community Policing Action Cooperative, Country Club/Waldo Area Plan Steering Committee, and Southtown Council. There is strength in numbers, and we need more help and fresh ideas. Please consider volunteering your time and talents. Even a small involvement builds connection and capacity in our community.

Thank you for investing in your neighborhood. Hope to see you at our events this fall!


Alison Baker

WPHA Vice President

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

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!