Winlow Place was pleased to have Officer Victor Beserra from the Houston Police Department as a guest speaker for the Winlow Place General Meeting on October 21. He reminded us of several important ways to ensure the safety and security of ourselves and our neighbors. A few that were discussed:
- Report all crime. You can do this by calling 911 when appropriate, or the dispatch number (713) 884-3131 or by submitting a Police Alert Slip. Fortunately, crime has decreased significantly in our area. When HPD identifies/arrests one or two suspects, that often directly results in a significant decrease in the types of crime we tend to see which are more petty crimes – vandalism, theft, automobile break-ins and the like.
- Communicate with the adjacent neighborhoods. Officer Beserra's patrol is between Montrose and Kirby from East to West, and from West Gray to Richmond from North to South.
- Know your neighbors. This is one of the biggest ways to prevent crime. Introduce yourself and exchange phone numbers/email addresses. In a hypothetical situation, if the neighbor directly across from you sees a young man walking around your home, and doesn't recognize them, they can call you to ask whether the person should be on your property. You might say "Yes, that's my nephew Dan" – or you might say "No, nobody should be there." An ounce of prevention...
- If you see a crime happening, and your heart starts racing: This is more than likely a time to call 911 when your pulse quickens. When calling 911, you can always request to speak directly to an officer – the 911 operator is a trained civilian, but not an officer. Let them know that you are feeling in danger if that is the case.
- If you witness a crime that your gut tells you is not urgent: This might be a time to call the non-emergency dispatch number (an officer will still respond). The number for this is (713) 884-3131.
- What about the door-to-door "Magazine Salesmen"? DO audibly answer if you're home, but don't open the door. This will let them know that you're home, and that someone is around/watching. This will prevent them from snooping around the perimeter of your home or engaging in a crime of opportunity.
- If you have an alarm system, use it. Be sure to make it a habit – set both while away, and while at home. Same goes for cameras. While cameras do not always deter criminals at the time the crime is being committed, they can help in identification of them.
Many thanks to Officer Victor Beserra for taking the time to give such a great talk to Winlow Place. He also addressed several specific questions during our Q/A, which are not listed here. Please contact us for further information.
– by Caroline Garry